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Memoria e Ricerca

World History, International Society and the Nineteenth Century: Mazzini as a perspective

di Arianna Arisi Rota
in Memoria e Ricerca n.s. 43 (2013), p. 127

The article explores Giuseppe Mazzini’s political vision of the international society of his time. Since his exile dimension and clandestine networking forced him to shape new mental maps and to mobilize flows of men, writings and ideas, Mazzini was extremely sensible to the opportunities deriving from politics breaking States’ borders and adopting wider unconventional perspectives: his découpage of the European international society can thus resemble the spatial découpage operated in the last decades by World History scholars. Common points are considered by merging suggestions coming from recent essays on World History and on Risorgimento with a philological approach to Mazzini’s writings from the years of Giovine Europa to his latest articles of 1871. From a theoretical point of view, two main tools seem to better fit rather than traditional cosmopolitanism his idea of a transnational family of peaceful political communities: the concept of association and the dynamics of transmission of political cultures. The spreading of republican regimes proved a pivot in Mazzini’s geopolitical view, especially when he had to consider the role the United States could play in the American region facing Napoleon III’ s imperialistic expansion in Mexico. And if in Mazzini’s view it was democracy at home which could work as a deterrent to aggressive expansionism abroad, transparency in diplomacy was the real key to a well-ordered and horizontally shaped international society: a perspective worthy of further investigation. Keywords: world history, Nineteenth Century, Mazzini, transmission of political cultures, international society, international order