The book you are about to read examines the relations between economic thought, proposals of reform of political institutions and civil society in the Italian and French tradition during the “long” nineteenth century, from the ascent to power of Napoleone Bonaparte to the eve of the First World War. In Italy, this time span covers the long process of setting the foundations for the Italian state (Risorgimento, with the considerable French support provided to Italy during this process), its subsequent rise on the international stage leading up to the role played by the state in the Great War 1914–1918. At the same time, in France, we have the long-lasting post-revolutionary struggle of republican, progressive social forces against the conservative monarchism, with the ascent of the bourgeoisie in the era of Louis-Philippe and Napoleon III, the dramatic events that accompanied the war against Prussia and the birth of the Third Republic. Together with the institutional establishment, or evolution, of the two States, we have the budding development of economic thought: namely, liberalism, socialism, industrial utopia, egalitarianism in France; and, in Italy, considerations on the link between liberalism, public administration and republicanism, and the evolution of the Catholic social doctrine. Italian Liberalism developed alongside the pursuit of independence and the establishment of the new State. At the same time, the nineteenth century marks the rise of Socialism in Italy, from the humanitarian solidarity of the republican instances to the birth of organized groups of workers following the unity and the end of the State of the Church. When Rome became capital of Italy (1870–71), the Catholic Church exerted a strong opposition to the new State, as expressed in the ofﬁcial decree Non expedit, which prohibited Catholics from participating in political life. However, the Church continued to be deeply involved in civil society through the provision of education and social care in favour of the poor. Popular claims for equity and justice were addressed through the gradual establishment of the new Catholic social doctrine, which would give rise to Catholic Corporatism. In France, the ﬁrst half of the period sees the transition from monarchy to republic. We have the monarchy censitaire of Louis XVIII and Charles X during the Restauration, which «restored» public ﬁnances, and the July constitutional monarchy between 1830 and 1848, with its policy aimed at economic development, transport infrastructure and education (railways, schools) and colonial expansion; however the public balance remained in surplus for most of the period. The transition to the Second Republic (1848) places Paris at the centre of European revolutionary forces, followed by the Second Empire (1852), with its ﬁnancial prosperity owing to the fast growth of the economy, when the utopian thought of Saint-Simon seems deﬁnitely closer to being achieved, as proved by de Lesseps’ realization of the Suez Canal, and the signature of the free trade agreement with the UK (1860), important result of the liberalism of Louis-Napoléon. An institutional change of paramount importance is the Constitution of the Third Republic of 1875, established sans éclat : the very peculiar case of a Republican Constitution written by an assembly with a monarchist majority, following the revolution of 1871, repressed by Thiers, and the catastrophic war against Prussia. The Republic will last and grow as a major regional power, with vast colonial domains. French society is becoming more democratic, secular, educated and egalitarian, and the great bourgeoisie of ﬁnance and industry is now republican. The mission of Saint-Simon, i.e., the successful outcome of a French Revolution, is ﬁnally achieved with the help of Gambetta, who understands the position and interests of the emerging middle class and is able to obtain the consensus of farmers and peasants. From 1876, workers’ organizations are reinstated, after the repression of the Commune. There are very few of these outside of Paris; however, in the country, workers and artisans mostly support republicans and radicals. Ten years later, these organizations would become widespread and juxtaposed to the moderate majority.
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