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Salvemini, Gaetano (1873–1957)

Donatella Cherubini

Subject History » Political History
Social Movements » Collective Behaviour

Place Southern Europe » Italy

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

Key-Topics bibliography, democracy, fascism, revolution, socialism

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184649.2009.01305.x


Gaetano Salvemini was an intellectual and historian from southern Italy who was committed to the moral and economic rebirth of the south and critical of pre-fascist liberal governments. Born in 1873, Salvemini had great influence on democrats and liberal socialists, and was an early opponent of fascism. He later taught in the US at Harvard University. His eclectic cultural formation was marked by Marxism , positivism, and federalist ideas that had arisen during the period of Italian national unification ( Risorgimento ). Salvemini pursued advanced studies in history in Florence, while establishing strong ties with Cesare Battisti, future martyr of Austrian anti-Italian repression during World War II. Active mainly in Florence as a professional historian, university professor, and polemicist in national politics, Salvemini joined the Italian Socialist Party (Partito Socialista Italiano, PSI) although distancing himself from the pro-government stand of the gradualist and reformist group headed by Filippo Turati . Salvemini finally left the party, denouncing the politics, corruption, and economic protectionism of liberal governments and favoring the economic regeneration of southern Italy through reforms, primarily universal suffrage. He was a supporter of administrative federalism, which sought to activate southern Italian participation in political life and provide an incisive ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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