Giuseppi Garibaldi, 1807-1882

The prototype of nationalist hero, yet a great internationalist, Garibaldi believed passionately in freedom but did not, writes Denis Mack Smith, disdain dictatorial methods.

Garibaldi in 1866

Giuseppe Garibaldi is one of the great men of the nineteenth century. He was a remarkably successful admiral and general. He was the very prototype of nationalist hero, but also a great internationalist, and later in life one of the pioneers of Italian socialism.

Connecting all his activities was the fact that he was a liberator by profession, a man who spent his life fighting for oppressed peoples wherever he found them, however naive his analysis of oppression. Whatever he did, moreover, was done always with passionate conviction and boundless enthusiasm, and this makes his character the more striking and attractive.

Garibaldi’s career was dazzlingly full of colour and incident; but behind the public personality was someone of simple good nature and amiability, a lovable and fascinating person of transparent honesty whom men would obey unhesitatingly and for whom they were glad to die. In his time he was probably the most widely known and loved figure in the world.

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