Mazzini - who was in exile in Marseille at the time - created the movement following the failed attempts at revolution by the Carbonari whom he felt were too secret and too dependent on foreign aid. Giovine Italia, in contrast, was to be based on a spiritual and moral awakening of the Italian people. The movement began with 40 members and, according to Mazzini, grew to over 50,000 by 1833, each of whom swore an oath (see below) on joining.
It believed in republicanism stating, "All the men of the nation are called by the law of God and Humanity to be free and equal brothers, and only a republic can assure this." To help spread the message, Mazzini published the Giovone Italia journal from 1832 - 1834. The movement also called for lowering of taxes and lowering the prices of essential daily products.
It was established in many cities and spread rapidly in the north. Promoting education as the road to republicanism (but certainly not eschewing violence) it was essentially a middle-class movement. In 1833 the Austrians declared membership of the organisation to be high treason and punishable by death.
The movement either organised or played an important role in several uprisings and revolts. In 1833 many members of the movement were involved in plotting a revolt in Savoy and Piedmont. They were arrested and executed, however, by the police in Sardinia.
The following year Mazzini tried to organise a further revolt but this failed as well. For a while the movement was disbanded but then reappeared in 1840 and tried to recruit more working class members. However this failed as did several further uprisings organised by the movement.
With a growing disillusionment, the movement began to lose popular support and became somewhat discredited due to conitued failure. In 1848 Mazzini disbanded the movement and replaced it with the Associazione Nazionale Italiana.
Giovine Italia was allied with the French republican group, Charbonnerie Démocratique. Mazzini also created Giovine Europa as a movement which was more international and included Giovine Italia as well as groups from Germany, Poland and Switzerland.
On joining, each member swore the following oath.
|In the name of God and of Italy;
In the name of all the martyrs of the holy Italian cause who have fallen beneath foreign and domestic tyranny;
By the duties which bind me to the land wherein God has placed me, and to the brothers whom God has given me;
By the love-innate in all men-I bear to the country that gave my mother birth, and will be the home of my children;
By the hatred-innate in all men-I bear to evil, injustice, usurpation and arbitrary rule;
By the blush that rises to my brow when I stand before the citizens of other lands, to know that I have no rights of citizenship, no country, and no national flag;
By the aspiration that thrills my soul towards that liberty for which it was created, and is impotent to exert; towards the good it was created to strive after, and is impotent to achieve in the silence and isolation of slavery;
By the memory of our former greatness, and the sense of our present degradation;
By the tears of Italian mothers for their sons dead on the scaffold, in prison, or in exile;
By the sufferings of the millions, -
I, _____ believing in the mission entrusted by God to Italy, and the duty of every Italian to strive to attempt its fulfillment; convinced that where God has ordained that a nation shall be, He has given the requisite power to create it; that the people are the depositaries of that power, and that in its right direction for the people, and by the people, lies the secret of victory; convinced that virtue consists in action and sacrifice, and strength in union and constancy of purpose: I give my name to Young Italy, an association of men holding the same faith, and swear:
To dedicate myself wholly and forever to the endeavor with them to constitute Italy one free, independent, republican nation; to promote by every means in my power-whether by written or spoken word, or by action-the education of my Italian brothers towards the aim of Young Italy; towards association, the sole means of its accomplishment, and to virtue, which alone can render the conquest lasting; to abstain from enrolling myself in any other association from this time forth; to obey all the instructions, in conformity with the spirit of Young Italy, given me by those who represent with me the union of my Italian brothers; and to keep the secret of these instructions, even at the cost of my life; to assist my brothers of the association both by action and counsel - NOW AND FOREVER.
This do I swear, invoking upon my head the wrath of God, the abhorrence of man, and the infamy of the perjurer, if I ever betray the whole or a part of this my oath.
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