The Neapolitan Revolution of 1820-1821

The Neapolitan Revolution of 1820-1821

The Neapolitan Revolution of 1820-1821

The Neapolitan Revolution of 1820-1821

Excerpt

Since the Neapolitan Revolution of 1820-1821 is not in the direct line of descent in the evolution of united Italy, it has suffered neglect at the hands of scholars whose eyes are fixed upon traditional concepts of a foreordained unification. This Revolution is, however, quite as important to an understanding of the forces that have made Italy the kind of nation it is today as are the movements of the north. So much confusion has resulted from the writings of those involved in the event that a proper examination of its true origins, course, and failure has been very difficult. The recent accumulation of studies on various aspects of the Revolution, together with the publication of the monumental Atti del parlamento delle Due Sicilie, makes possible at this time a more accurate and more valid treatment of the subject. Though this study is based largely upon these documentary materials, it has been necessary also to make a critical re-examination of the traditional sources, which are made up in great part of the memoirs of the leading figures of the Revolution, but these have been used with the utmost caution that their biased character demands.

The purpose of this work is to explain the course and failure of the Revolution that began the practical disruption of the European Alliance and threatened a renewal of general war. In its European function, the Neapolitan Revolution forced the Powers to choose between Metternich's methods of keeping the peace and the encouragement of liberalism at the risk of war. The reasons for Metternich's success are now well established, but the role that the Neapolitans played in determining their own fate has not yet been fully explained in any published work. Emphasis in this monograph is therefore placed upon those elements inherent in the Revolution that held the seeds of failure.

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