Mazzini on Social Change

Writing in 1852, Mazzini served as a national figure, advocating for the nationalism of Italian democracy. He saw Europe not as a unified whole, but a fractured state full of violence and crises. For Mazzini, they key to peace was unity. In his eyes, Europe was taking two two forms: social and nationalities. “I say, which all have agreed to call social, because, generally speaking, every great revolution is so far social, that it cannot be accomplished either in the religious, political, or any other sphere, without affecting social relations […]” Mazzini notes that no tangible change can be made in society without, first, a social change. While other philosophers we’ve read have offered ideas of non-violent changes and revolutions, Mazzini insinuates a more palpable declaration of this notion. He states; “The question there is now, above all, to establish better relations between labour and capital, between production and consumption, between the workman and the employer.” Mazzini proposes social changes that will directly affect they way people live, cooperate with one another, and the ways in which society conducts itself. He offers social changes that would not only be felt on a national level, but also on an intimate and personal level.

4 thoughts on “Mazzini on Social Change

  1. Mazzini sought the unification of the several separate states of Italy. I agree with your point that he very specifically proposes social changes “establish better relations between labour and capital etc”, that have not been so directly laid out before in some of our other readings commenting on revolution.

  2. A general trend of this era was personal betterment. Mazzini and others of the time realized that the individual can only better himself so much without bettering the nation in which he lives.

    • This idea of personal betterment, that an individual can only better himself so much without bettering the nation in which he lives, is very similar to Adam Smith’s take on laissez-faire economics. Personal interest inevitably benefits social interest.

  3. I think it is interesting to note that, even as praise for the individual is present throughout, the attidude from the lower class is one of large discontent.

Comments are closed.