Not even the conquest of Rome eliminated, therefore, the intrusive or threatening internal and international difficulties. The modest tone and aridity of national life displeased those who had deluded themselves of a ready return to the greatness and majesty of Italy, unable to recognize that this Italy was new, and its ways new and its goals new and that the his people would have had to fight long and tenaciously against themselves to get rid of every pernicious legacy of other times. “Imprint Italy demanded Rome, Byzantium they gave” roared Carducci. The disappearance of the greats who had formed this Italy made the present sadder. Italy was made, but – d’Azeglio was right – the Italians were busy. In Pisa, in exile at home, Giuseppe Mazzini died on 10 March 1872, the prophet of the Risorgimento, “the last of the great ancient Italians and the first of the new”, as Carducci greeted him. And a great light seemed to go out, even if his effectiveness in recent years had been lost and he now appeared to be the great winner of the Risorgimento. Others died, different in faith and discordant in action, not in love for the Italian homeland: Manzoni, Guerrazzi, Bixio. On January 9, 1878, the great king died who had been able to gather all the ranks, use all the possibilities, make use of all men, from time to time daring and unscrupulous, moderate and cautious. Great merit of him if the Italian revolution had been accomplished, if the kingdom of Italy had been born. A little later also Pius IX died, who had unified Italy thirty years earlier in his name, then universally invoked and exalted.
According to Sourcemakeup, the Italy was shaken internally by republican and anticlerical unrest. And the first struggles between capital and labor also took on an anticlerical color under the banner of the workers’ International (strikes in Verona and Turin, 1872). This internal anxiety slowed down the solution of the most serious problems facing the men of the Right; that they were still the same problems: internal unification, renewal of laws, administrative reorganization, strengthening of the army and fleet, construction of railways (climbed from 2200 in 1862 to almost 8000 kilometers in 1875). But the work continued and those men also faced and won the hard battle against the nightmare of financial failure. Economies to the bone and a resolute policy of taxation brought Minghetti to balance (1876). In relations with foreign countries, Italy, which reached almost 27 million inhab. (1871), reviled and threatened by French nationalism and clericalism, approached the new Germany and Austria (the king’s trip to Berlin and Vienna, 1873) as if to seek support and guarantees. These moderates were not great statesmen, but they were also those who had guided the first steps of the new Italy and had defended it against internal dangers and external threats, strengthening unity, fighting the illusory democratic and reactionary hopes, always animated, even in their errors and inadequacies, by a great faith, a great will to work for the country. And for many errors and many shortcomings it was more to blame than they were under the conditions of this one, not yet governed by a long custom of political life. But even the country could give little, absent as they were still from public life and Bourbon Catholics and legitimists or Grand Duchists and rural and urban plebs. Poor basis, therefore, for the government of the Right: a minority, worse a “coterie”, according to it was said. In this situation, the weight of a government in which they did not participate seemed more serious to the governed. And the Right, weakened by internal dissensions, and unpopular due to its administrative and fiscal severity,
But this upheaval was not claimed by the country, nor did it respond to its deep needs: a pronouncement by the general staff, the troops were absent. This indifference of the people in the face of political changes and the most important reforms, will also in the future be among the major obstacles to the formation of a conscious ruling class.
From their banks of opponents, the men of the Left went to the government with a program full of promises: enlargement of the right to vote, free education, tax relief, greater freedoms. Hitherto excluded from the government by often unjustified mistrust, they, of democratic or Garibaldian origin, will not reveal themselves, except for Depretis, a very skilled parliamentarian, and Crispi, a true temper of a statesman, much different or better than those moderates of whom they collected the legacy. And their politics will not have a superior tone at all, because, on the contrary, in comparison with the disdainful seriousness, the firm convictions and the austerity of the men of the Right, their ease of fallback, accommodation, compromise will appear petty.
But the change that took place favored richer experiences of men and contributed, albeit without immediate benefit, to widening the still too modest political class. And transformism depretisiano allowed the overcoming of the ancient parties and the concentration of the ancient opponents not in a particular party, but in a parliamentary program, which was good or bad a program of action. The fraying of characters and the prevalence of clienteles appeared to be corruption; the decadence of political customs was shouted at and it was deplored that the tone of parliamentary life was painfully lowered, that local interests prevailed over national ones; but the radical transformation that took place in the political groups allowed that, now the great ideals disappeared and the scorching passions of the Risorgimento subsided, men from the republican side, who brought their particular sensitivity and their different experience in solving new problems.