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5 - Education, democracy and international policy: the legacy of exile, 1870–1882

from PART II - VICTORIAN MAZZINIANS AND THE ‘MAKING OF ITALIANS’, 1861–1890

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 August 2014

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Summary

‘The science of international politics is actually simpler and less difficult than one might be led to think, as long as one relies on a few principles all derived from religion and the idea of Duty.’

The European ‘laboratory of democracy’ which took shape in the context of the circulation of ideas shared by Risorgimento exiles in London was reorganised in new forms of transnational exchanges once the exiles had returned home. As new challenges surfaced on Europe's geo-political landscape, Victorian radicals who had contributed to the ‘making of Italy’ would contribute to the ‘making of Italians’ by renewing ties with Italy's democrats who now gathered together in new forms of sociability. Maurizio Isabella's studies on the first generation of Italian exiles have shown how border-crossing of both people and ideas was an integral part of Risorgimento transnational perspectives. This chapter focuses on how the experience of exile had important effects after political unification had been achieved and the exiles had largely returned home, highlighting how contacts between Victorian radicals and former émigré democrats endured, embracing the nation-building phase. The long durée of links between proponents of radical democracy confirms what has been claimed by Neville Kirk and others: a ‘conventional understanding’ that transnational ties are further substantiated by their ‘degree of endurance’, and can last for generations.

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Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2014

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