Grand Vision, Minor Demands: The Themes and Sources of 1840s Moderatism

in Sensibilities of the Risorgimento
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This chapter addresses the political moderatism of the 1840s. Yet, the chapter begins with an account of Romagnosi’s constitutional project (1815), in order to indicate that, in principle, monarchical patriotism might have organised around an alternative cultural perspective, feeding on the ways of thinking of the Enlightenment. Sections 2 and 3 deal with Gioberti’s, Balbo’s, and d’Azeglio’s thought, focusing on their peculiar blend of cautious reformism and grand philosophical vision, as well as on their suspicion of parties and pluralism. In Section 4, their liberal credentials are compared with those of Constant, Guizot, Cattaneo, and other Italians. Section 5 reviews the three moderates’ interpretation of the republican communes of the Middle Ages. The chapter next examines how moderatism evolved over the 1840s; basically, it became less prudent and more confrontational as the broad consensus following the publication of Gioberti’s Primato and the election of Pius ix broke down. The chapter concludes with two sections exploring the sources of political moderatism, highlighting Chateaubriand in Section 7, and the ultramontane authors in Section 8.

Sensibilities of the Risorgimento

Reason and Passions in Political Thought