Introduction: Law and Order in a Changing World: Italy 1790–1900

  • John A. Davis


Behind the familiar events that brought about Italy’s independence and political unification in the course of the 19th century lay more disturbed realities. Recurrent political crises and persistent social unrest were constant themes in Italy’s history in these years, and did not end with the creation of the new unified state. Unification was followed by civil war in many parts of the South, and the century that had opened with the crisis of the Ancien Régime principalities closed in another crisis that threatened to bring to an abrupt end the first and only constitutional state in Mediterranean Europe.


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  1. 1.
    Quoted in R. Martucci Emergenza e Tutela dell’Ordine Pubblico nell’Italia Liberale (Bologna, 1980) p. 130.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Some of the clearest examples can be found in A. Niceforo L’Italia Barbara Contemporanea (Palermo, 1898).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    S. F. Merlino L’Italia Qual’è (1890) ed. N. Tranfaglia (Milan, 1975) pp. 135–6.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    See e.g. R. Vivarelli ‘L’Italia Liberale e Fascismo’ in Il Fallimento del Liberalismo (Bologna, 1981);Google Scholar
  5. N. Tranfaglia Dello Stato Liberale al Regime Fascista (Milan, 1973), esp. pp. 167–80;Google Scholar
  6. U. Levra Il Colpo di Stato della Borghesia: La Crisi Politica della Fine del Secolo in Italia (1896–1900) (Milan, 1975).Google Scholar
  7. 5.
    S. J. Woolf History of Italy 1700–1860 (London, 1979) p. 275;Google Scholar
  8. M. Livi Bacci History of Italian Fertility During the Last Two Centuries (Princeton, 1977) p. 11. Professor Woolf’s book is the most detailed study in English of the social as well as political developments discussed in the first part of this study, while many of the essays in his recent The Poor in Western Europe in the 18th and 19th Centuries (London, 1986) also touch on this period.Google Scholar
  9. H. Hearder A History of Italy in the Age of the Risorgimento (London, 1982) is an up-to-date general study,Google Scholar
  10. and D. Mack Smith ‘An Outline of Risorgimento History 1840–79’ in D. Mack Smith Victor Emanuel, Cavour and the Risorgimento (Oxford, 1971) provides an incisive survey of the political history of the Italian Risorgimento.Google Scholar
  11. For the period after Unification there is an admirable new study by M. Clark Modern Italy 1871–1982 (London, 1984),Google Scholar
  12. in addition to D. Mack Smith Italy: A Modern History (Ann Arbor, 1969)Google Scholar
  13. and C. Seton Watson Italy from Liberalism to Fascism (London, 1967). On social and economic developments see in particular the essays on ‘The Poor, Proto-Industrialization and the Working Class: Italy (16th–19th centuries)’Google Scholar
  14. in S. J. Woolf The Poor in Western Europe (London, 1986);Google Scholar
  15. on agrarian change by A. Lyttelton ‘Landlords, Peasants and Liberalism’ in J. A. Davis (ed.) Gramsci and Italy’s Passive Revolution (London, 1979);Google Scholar
  16. and the chapter by L. Tilly on Italy in C. Tilly, L. Tilly and R. Tilly The Rebellious Century (London, 1975).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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© John A. Davis 1988

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  • John A. Davis

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