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Stages of Italian Unification (1848-70)

Though the early attempts to bring about the unification of Italy failed but these failures also contributed to the cause of unification. Count Cavour could learn a number of lessons from these failures and this valuable experience played an important role in the process of success later on. Cavour was appointed as the PM of Piedmont in 1852 and with his appointment a new chapter opened in Italian history. Cavour was a nationalist to the core of his heart and was dedicated to the cause of unification. He believed that process of unification could not succeed by the use of force only and state of Piedmont should be developed as model state to attract the attention of common masses and to win their support. Since foreign elements would not be leaving Italy so Piedmont should be developed into a military state. Foreign help would be required to oust Austria from Italy. He formulated his policies keeping these realities in mind.

He undertook many reforms to make Piedmont a model state through effective and liberal administration granting many liberties to the citizen. He also initiated number of economic reforms. The elements of feudal order were wiped out and rights of peasantry were recognized. The steps were taken to develop industries, agriculture, trade and commerce. The means of communication was also developed for flow of goods and services. A number of banks were created and cooperative societies were established. The privileges enjoyed by Church were taken away along with their lands. Cavour also initiated number of military reforms. External policy of Cavour aimed at creating a favorable political climate in Europe for the cause of unification. Cavour used his diplomatic skills to win the support of number of powers.