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Pisacane, Carlo (1818–1857)

Niall Whelehan

Subject History
Legal and Political » Political Philosophy
Sociology » Social Movements

Place Southern Europe » Italy

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1800-1899

People Bakunin, Mikhael

Key-Topics anarchism, bibliography, revolution

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184649.2009.01191.x


One of a few Risorgimento Democrats whose views were genuinely socialistic, Italian patriot Carlo Pisacane unreservedly advocated fundamental change in the relationship between the lower and privileged classes in Italy. Max Nettlau has labeled Pisacane one of the “great libertarians,” and he certainly was one of the most advanced thinkers in the Risorgimento , yet Pisacane left no movement behind him, and historians are still divided on his role in the genesis of the Italian left. Born into a fallen noble family in Naples, Pisacane was chosen for a military career that he soon found incompatible with his worldview. After spending time in Paris and London, he returned to Italy in 1848. After fighting in the Veneto and Lombardy, he played a role in the 1849 Roman Republic ending in arrest, imprisonment, and then exile. The disappointments of 1848 led Pisacane to publish, in the 1850s, La Guerra combattuta in Italia negli anni 1848–49, Saggi storici, politici, militari sulf'Italia , and the Testamento politico . Although Proudhon influenced these works, Pisacane downplayed French socialist doctrines, insisting that only a program developing organically in response to specific Italian grievances would encourage the serious work of reconstruction needed to solve gross inequalities. Central to his work was a criticism of Mazzini , who he believed had blundered by sacrificing the ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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