History Optional Paper-2 Solution – 2015: Q.5(d)

History Optional Paper-2 Solution – 2015: Q.5(d)

Q.5 (d) “Mazzini’s conception of Italian nationality was not exclusive and his dominant ideal was the recreation of moral unity of mankind.”


After the collapse of the Carbonari movements and the 1830 uprisings, it was Mazzini who most insistently preached the cause of Italian unity. His revolutionary society, ‘Young Italy ’, founded in 1831, was the chief agency through which he sought to educate his compatriots.
Mazzini’s geopolitical thinking – and activity – revolve around three fundamental points: the Nation, the People and Humanity.
His fundamental ideas were set out in Young Italy, the society’s newspaper of the same name, and developed in his prolific subsequent writings.

Mazzini’s conception of Italian nationality

(1) According to him, independence, unity, and liberty, this last to be secured through a republic, must be the triple goal.

(2) Through the republic the nation would be made, and by the nation Mazzini explained that he meant ‘the totality of citizens speaking the same language, associated together with equal political and civil rights in the common aim of bringing the forces of society… progressively to greater perfection’.

(3) For him nationalism was never divorced from liberalism, although its basis was partly linguistic. On that basis might lead him to say: ‘As far as this frontier your language is spoken and understood: beyond this you have no rights.’

Mazzini’s ideal to recreate moral unity of mankind

Mazzini’s conception of Italian nationality was not exclusive and his dominant ideal was the recreation of the moral unity of mankind.

(1) He gave concept of Threefold Unity

Unity of man was to overcome the dispersion of modern man in an industrialised mass civilisation.
Unity of nation was to bind all the free individuals of democracy into a community of liberty and equality.
Unity of mankind was to assure the peace and collaboration of all nations.

Mazzini said that
‘Where France had failed in not supporting the Italians in 1830—Italy would show men how to use their new-won freedom aright.’ He believed that a free nation should help other to get freedom. This will create moral ‘unity of mankind’.

(2) Mazzini was one of the first proponent of European Unity

After the failure of Young Italy’s revolutionary attempt in Piedmont in 1833, Mazzini founded a still more ambitious society called ‘Young Europe’, which met on 15 April 1834 to draw up a pact of fraternity, a kind of holy alliance of the youth of the nations to fight for liberty, equality, and fraternity.

The mission of Young Europe was :’To constitute humanity so as to enable it through a continuous progress.’

According to Mazzini: ‘Every people has its special mission, which will cooperate towards the general mission of Humanity. That mission is its Nationality. Nationality is sacred.’

Like Young Italy, Young Europe was soon involved in unsuccessful revolutionary activity.

But, although both societies were doomed to failure, and Young Europe in particular was a typically utopian product of romantic internationalism, they set an example which was imitated far and wide, from the groups calling themselves Young Ireland and Young Serbs in the nineteenth century to the Young Turks or Young Chinese of the twentieth. So, Mazzini’s concept of moral unity of mankind was partially successful.

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