Almost every scholar who pretends to a study of neofascism offers a summary account of Fascism – and almost all accounts differ in substantial fashion. Attempting to encapsule a quarter of a century of intense political activity in the relatively brief compass of an expository outline is difficult at best. There is always the exercise of judgment and the influence of bias in the winnowing of the enormous abundance of the historic record. Nonetheless, the work of some of the major historians of the twentieth century permits a stenographic rendering of the entire Fascist sequence that is plausible and in large part unobjectionable. We can now be reasonably confident that we know at least some of the essentials of Italian Fascism.
We know that Fascism arose in a new nation, politically reunited after almost one thousand years of dismemberment, strife, political occupation, poverty, and internecine warfare. We know that the fractured Italic peninsula was also host to almost a thousand years of creativity, episodic ebullience, and commercial expansion. For the purposes of discussion, nonetheless, it is important to recognize that the several hundred years before Italy's reunification were particularly marked by recurrent expressions of individual and collective humiliation to be found in the lamentations of many of the nation's foremost spokespeople.
As early as the beginning of the sixteenth century, Niccolo Machiavelli exhorted the people of the peninsula to make the effort to unite against the depredations of foreigners.