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The nineteenth century: the historical and cultural context

The affirmation of the principle of nationality is concretely realized in many processes of national unification (Italy, Germany, Greece, etc.) And the emergence and consolidation of liberalism can be considered basic characteristics of the nineteenth century. It is also true that many of the nineteenth-century political positions find their genesis and their incubation in the experience of the French Revolution, which is the fulfilling prospects destined to have a decisive influence in political culture and in the events of the nineteenth century: the liberal perspective bourgeois (eventually successful), which rapporterà and affect the "immortal principles" to the interests of the bourgeoisie; the democratic-popular (or Jacobin) that will appeal for advanced forms of democracy; the egalitarian-communist (Babeuf), which will be based on the radical denial of the right to property. The suggestion of the French experience is collected in Italy by groups Jacobins, disciples of the Enlightenment, but must deal with the complex political game with cesaresimo and Napoleonic.

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Following the culture of the Restoration is full of enzymes and innovations, which find their expression in the literary romanticism (testing of new forms of expression, enhancement of self, awareness of national realities) and in philosophy in German idealism ( consciousness of the conflicting forces with their dialectic determine the historical process; rationality of reality).


As for Italy, the attitude born from the Restoration is slowly changed and then run over by the Risorgimento movement, leading in 1860, after three "wars of independence", the territorial unit. Although initially it was animated and promoted by democratic ideals, a willingness to social renewal to accompany a political unit, the overall process of the Risorgimento is run by the so-called moderate forces, it is achieved with the three diplomatic activities of Cavour and with " royal war "and not with the popular intervention. The presence of this clash of forces and disorientation is witnessed by the political debate, which in the face of positions "moderate" of Gioberti and d'Azeglio sees the theory of popular Mazzini, reserves the "war directed" Cattaneo, the awareness of the serious consequences of the Risorgimento of Nievo.
Yet "the people", the "vulgar peasant", this failure - or occasional - the protagonist of the Risorgimento, the official culture devoted attention, and the debate on the role of the people and popular education is a very interesting chapter in political and cultural context of the nineteenth century.

Of crucial importance in the European industrial revolution, which radically transforms the structure of society, creates not only new techniques of work but new values ​​(competitiveness competitive, profit) and leads to the emergence of the working class, which will progressively aware of own interest of its role antagonistic to the bourgeoisie.
Theorists of this its historical function were Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, that by mid-century (The Communist Manifesto is 1848) develop a new vision of history, philosophy, time not only to learn about the world, but also to transform it: Marxism are connected the birth and development of workers' organizations and political movements that have so much in the history of the second half of the century.

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