Giuseppe Mazzini: 1805-1872

E.E.Y. Hales describes Europe's premier revolutionary between the years 1835 and 1860, who was inspired by patriotism, belief in democracy, and lofty religious ideals.

Mazzini was Europe’s premier revolutionary in the period between the years 1835 and 1860; during the mid-nineteenth century, whenever the bogey of red revolution was discussed, his was the name that immediately sprang to mind. By the ’sixties there were other names, such as Marx or Bakunin; and by 1872, when Mazzini died at Pisa, middle-class Europe was less frightened of him than of the First International.

Yet, in contrast to the ruthlessness of his distinguished predecessor, Robespierre, and in still sharper contrast to the materialism of his powerful successor, Marx, Mazzini’s preaching and practice were both charged with the loftiest religious idealism. His appeal was always to God, to faith, and to duty. In some ways, he had much in common with the higher-minded puritan commander, bible in one hand and sword in the other; though, in place of the bible, we must put his own treatise, Faith and the Future, and, in place of the sword, rifles at forty francs apiece, hidden in the mountains of Savoy or Sicily.

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