The New Student's Reference Work/Mazzini, Giuseppe

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Mazzini (mät-sē′nē), Giuseppe, an Italian patriot, was born at Genoa on June 22, 1805. He entered its university when only 13, and before he was 19 was a practicing lawyer. In 1821 the sight of the refugees from the unsuccessful rising in Piedmont stirred him to devote himself to freeing his country. As a member of the Carbonari he was imprisoned in 1830. When set free the next year, his life-plan was settled. His first step was the formation of the Young Italy association. The first and last duties of its members were to work to make a free, independent and united nation. The masses were to be educated to understand their rights, and taught to secure them, if need be, by force. Shortly after Charles Albert became king of Sardinia, Mazzini urged him to put himself at the head of the struggle for national independence. His answer was a sentence of banishment. From 1832 he led “a life of voluntary imprisonment within the four walls of a little room” for over 20 years. During this time he was the most untiring political agitator in Europe, the man most dreaded by its absolute governments. He was always writing, and so eloquently and sincerely that he aroused his followers to an enthusiasm that would dare anything. His organization extended through Italy, and he went to England, where for seven years he struggled hard against poverty, yet managed to help his poorer, ignorant countrymen, the London hand-organ boys, by teaching and civilizing them in night-classes. On the outbreak of the Lombard revolt (1848) Mazzini threw himself into the struggle, though the king of Sardinia sought to win him. When the revolt failed, he made his way to Tuscany. Leghorn received him with wild enthusiasm in February, 1849, the day before the republic was proclaimed at Rome, and elected him her deputy to the republican assembly in the papal city. On March 29 Mazzini was chosen one of three triumvirs with the powers of dictators, but on April 25 the French arrived and in June the republic fell. Mazzini was sentenced to death three times, but in 1866 the sentence was formally rescinded, and he died peacefully at Pisa, Italy, March 10, 1872. Italian nationality is chiefly due to Mazzini, Garibaldi and Cavour. Mazzini prepared the soil, sowed the seed and fostered the growing plants; Garibaldi gathered the ripe fruit; but Cavour gained the final advantage of the harvest. See Marriott’s Makers of Modern Italy.