The Unification of North and South

  • Denis Mack Smith


Such had been Garibaldi’s quite unexpected success that Cavour now announced his belief in the hitherto heretical formula of Italian unity. To allow the radicals a monopoly of national sentiment would have been much too dangerous. One of Cavour’s most brilliant decisions was accordingly to regain the initiative by invading the Papal States in the fall of 1860. First he sent Farini to convince Louis Napoleon that this was the only way to stop Garibaldi marching on Rome (where there was still a French garrison). Once accepted in principle, the plan was to send Piedmontese troops down through Umbria and the Marches so that they could cross the Neapolitan frontier and stop Garibaldi’s progress. There would thus be the good “conservative” excuse that an invasion of papal territory was needed to stop republicanism and control anarchy. As well as Umbria and the Marches, Cavour would force Garibaldi to hand over Naples and Sicily. Probably Cavour would also inherit the large Bourbon army at Naples. It may be that Farini left the French in some confusion about future plans for the Papal States, and, sincerely or insincerely, very strong protests came from the French Foreign Office when they discovered what was afoot. But Cavour now saw this invasion as a culminating step in his policy of annexation. “The destruction of the Pope’s temporal power,” he could now say, “will be one of the most glorious and fruitful facts in all history.”


French Minister National Sentiment Civilian Governor Corrupt Part Great Firmness 
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Copyright information

© Denis Mack Smith 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Denis Mack Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.All Souls CollegeOxfordUK

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