Liberal Theocracy in the Italian Risorgimento.

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  • Author(s): Romani, Roberto
  • Source:
    European History Quarterly. Oct2014, Vol. 44 Issue 4, p620-650. 31p.
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    • Abstract:
      The article deals with the place of religion in the Risorgimento moderates’ theorizing. It is contended that ultramontanism should be viewed as the proper starting point of moderatism. If the political divorce between the two patterns of thought was sharp, the cultural one was nuanced. The chief element of continuity was a ‘theocratic’ argument: the course of history is governed by divine laws. This argument featured not only in the 1840s, when a current of ‘liberal Catholicism’ first developed, but also in secularizing Piedmont in the 1850s. Therefore liberty was not rooted in the interplay of social interests – as Benjamin Constant for example had argued – but resulted from a transcendental philosophy of history interpreting divine Providence. This approach had a series of ‘illiberal’ implications, such as a failure to accept pluralism, in both the political and the religious spheres, and a shaky appreciation of individual rights. The article also shows that Taparelli d’Azeglio’s version of ultramontanism accommodated important elements of economic and political modernity. [ABSTRACT FROM PUBLISHER]
    • Abstract:
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