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Tuscany 1848-49 Under the rule of the Grand Duke Leopold II Tuscany enjoyed a relatively more liberal regime than other Italian states. In 1847, following the example of Pope Pius IX during his so-called liberal phase, the grand duke had conceded numerous reforms, reforms to which the Austrian Chancellor Metternich had strongly objected threatening to occupy the Tuscany should Leopold persist in liberalizing his government. When in 1848 news of the revolts in southern Italy reached Tuscany, street riots, particularly in the port city of Leghorn, open to all new radical ideas, brought revolution to hitherto tranquil Tuscany. Elsewhere in the duchy workers went on strike for higher wages; the unemployed demanded a program of public works to create jobs; artisans protested the introduction of machinery in some trades; and rising prices and rents caused general discontent. On February 17, 1848 the grand duke granted a Statuto, a term he deemed less radical than constitution. Agitation was also growing to join the war against Austria in the Italian League alongside other contingents from the various Italian states. By the end of March the grand duke agreed to do so. Elections on June 15 returned a moderate parliament, but it criticized the government for its failure to participate more actively in the conflict with Austria. These criticisms found echo in the streets. While the grand duke temporized and tried to follow a policy of non-commitment, his moderate ministry negotiated with Rome and Turin in support of a federation of all Italian states. Meanwhile, radicals were following Giuseppe Mazzini in calling for a constituent assembly, elected by universal manhood suffrage and charged with continuing the struggle against Austria while preparing for eventual Italian unity. Faced with growing restiveness, the grand duke left Florence for Siena at the end of January 1849 and announced that he could not accept a constituent assembly. On February 21, 1849, he joined the Pppe in exile at Gaeta in the Neapolitan kingdom. His flight created a power vacuum which parliament filled by appointing a provisional government led by the triumvirate of Giuseppe Montanelli, Francesco Domenico Guerrazzi, and Giuseppe Mazzoni. Unable to meet demands for domestic reforms, the government lost favor with the Florentines, who finding themselves no better off, began to remember their grand duke nostalgically. Popular dissatisfaction in the more conservative rural areas increased while demands for the return of the grand duke swelled. Meanwhile negotiations were proceeding for a possible fusion of Tuscany with the Roman Republic into one state. Parliament dissolved the provisional government and voted extraordinary powers to Guerrazzi, but the Guerrazzi dictatorship lasted only fifteen days. After a bloody clash between the Florentines and revolutionary bands from Leghorn, moderates gained control of the Florence city government, dissolved the Tuscan parliament, and arrested Guerrazzi. Overtures were made to the grand duke for his return. On May 1, 1849, the grand duke appointed a special commissioner and dissolved all other government bodies. On July 28, 1849, the grand duke returned to Florence under the protection of Austrian soldiers. Press restrictions were reimposed, the ducal constitution suspended, and absolute rule reestablished. On May 6, 1852, the constitution was officially abolished and the status quo ante fully restored.
Emiliana P. Noether


Alberto M. Ghisalberti. Giuseppe Montanelli e la Costituente. (Florence, 1947).

F. D. Guerrazz. Lettere. ed. G. Carducci (2 vols., Leghorn, 1880-82).

F. D. Guerrazz. Memorie scritte da lui stesso. (Leghorn, 1848).

_______. Francesco Domenico Guerrazzi nella storia politica e culturale del Risorgimento (Florence, 1975).

Ferdinando Martino, ed. Il Quarantotto in Toscana: Diario inedito di Luigi Passerini. (2nd rev. ed., Florence, 1918).

Giuseppe Montanelli. Memorie sull'Italia e specialmente sulla Toscana dal 1814 al 1850. (Turin, 1853).

Ernesto Ragionieri, "Mazzinianesimo, Garibaldinismo e origini del Socialismo in Toscana," Rassegna storica toscana, 10 (July-December 1963): 143-158.

Carla Ronchi. I democratici e la rivoluzione fiorentina del 1848-1849. (Florence, 1963).

_______. I democratici fiorentini nella rivoluzione del 1848-49. (Florence, 1962).

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