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The League of Italian States

The League developed from discussions on a customs union in 1847 between Piedmont, Tuscany and the Papal States. The Tuscan government's efforts to pursue a defensive league in February and early March 1848 received support from Ferdinand II and, at first, from Pius IX who, after the revolutions began in March 1848 and the war against Austria, perceived the league as a cover for military support against Austria. When Piedmont troops entered Lombardy in support of the revolution against Austria, Charles Albert wanted an offensive league with immediate military aid and the postponement of political considerations until the completion of the war. While Cardinal Antonelli supported by Ferdinand II pushed for a congress in Rome, Charles Albert insisted on a meeting of the states in Turin or his military headquarters. Regional particularism thwarted the league as the Tuscan government feared both the threat of republicanism and especially Piedmont's expansion, and so also did the papal government and Naples, the latter faced with a separatist movement in Sicily. Accused by the Jesuits and Austria of contributing to the revolution by sending papal troops under General Giovanni Durando to protect the papal frontier and ultimately to cross the Po, Pius IX issued his Allocution on April 29, an act ending his apparent liberal tendencies and thwarting the league negotiations. Attempts by papal ministers to revive the league (Terenzio Mamiani in May or Pellegrino Rossi in September), or Gioberti's effort after Custoza through his emissary, Antonio Rosmini, to press his program of a confederation headed by the pope, failed as the Piedmontese government issued an unsuccessful counter proposal for an alliance of independent states with common military action.

Marion S. Miller


Coppa, Frank. Pope Pius IX: Crusader in a Secular Age. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1979.

_______. Cardinal Giacomo Antonelli and Papal Politics in European Affairs. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1990.

Hale, E.E.Y. Revolution and Papacy. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1966.

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