Mazzini and Nationalism

Author: Giuseppe Mazzini, 1805-1872. Founder of Young Italy (1831), Mazzini was an Italian activist and politician and one of the most significant figures in the push of nationalism and democracy.

Context: Published in 1852, in a time when revolutions such as the French (1848) and others were happening with comparable frequency, the ideas of nationalism and unification were picking up steam.

Language: Mazzini wrote in a very “matter of fact” tone. It read optimistically in the sense that if everything he stated was followed, Italy would be in a great position. This piece exuded a great deal of confidence and grabs the intended audience’s attention.

Audience: The European people.

Intent: Inspire Europeans to come together and unite as one, increasing pride in their respective countries.

Message: He states, “They speak the same language, they bear about them the impress of consanguinity, they kneel beside the same tombs, they glory in the same tradition.” Having said this, he questions why these people with so much in common do not unite as one and reap the benefits from such behavior. He alludes to the fact that not many European countries have such unity and how advantageous it would be.

Why: To respond to the uprisings and revolutions of the prior few years. He determined that one of the main issues in Europe was a lack of unity and explained how he felt they could improve their situation.

One thought on “Mazzini and Nationalism

  1. I really like your take on Mazzini’s writings because you included some things that I had not considered, such as Mazzini writing for the people of Europe, not just Italy. However, I would like to expand your context a little bit.

    First, revolutions were widespread across Europe in 1848 – France, Germany, Austria, Hungary, and plenty more. In the future, I would recommend providing more examples to prove your point if you are going to make a broader statement.

    Second, Mazzini, at the time of his writing this, likely was not in Italy. In fact, he was exiled from his hometown early on, and as such, has been moving around Europe: from France, to England, and to other locations. His access to Italy was limited to his networks and to his letters/pamphlets.

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