Giuseppe Mazzini (1805 – 72) has been called ‘the apostle of Italian republicanism’. He was a doctor’s son, born in Genoa, and was politically minded enough to enlist in the Carbonari (a violent Italian secret society) in the early 1820s, barely eighteen years old. He soon became bored with the group’s sporadic, occasionally revolutionary conspiracies, and decided to found his own revolutionary movement in March, 1831.
With ‘Young Italy’ he attempted not only to unite Italy through a national uprising, but to encourage and elevate Italian patriotism by heated moral fervour. His detailed plans for a national insurrection in June 1832 failed when the Piedmontese authorities arrested most of his collaborators.
‘Young Italy’ resorted to the occasional, sporadic and ill-organised uprisings which had so frustrated Mazzini in the first place. From his HQ in Marseilles, and later in London, Mazzini developed the concept of a republican brotherhood of nations. He now established ‘Young Europe’ – a movement based upon non-sectarian principles – oddly enough.