To What Extent Was Italy Politically and Economically United, 1896-1914?

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To what extent was Italy politically and economically united, 1896-1914? Despite official unification in 1870, Italy still remained somewhat divided, especially so under the Liberal government, 1896-1914. Attempted reforms to ease political and economic divisions had limited success, such as the voting reform of 1912 to introduce universal male suffrage (which increased the popularity of socialism) and modernisation in industries such as steel and hydroelectricity (which consequently widened the North/South divide). Italy still remained partially divided, which prevented total unification, both politically and economically. Firstly, Italy was only partially politically united, namely due to a number of liberal policies. The voting reforms of 1912 allowed universal male suffrage, which thus widened the electorate and allowed more Italians to vote for a majority government, therefore increasing political stability and unity, as opposed to unstable coalitions. The election deals of 1912 somewhat united the liberals and Catholics, as it widened liberal support due to their adoption of Catholic policies (which appealed to the Catholic voter, a large majority of Italians), which somewhat increased stability due to a widened electorate. Finally, the liberals invited moderate socialists to form policies with the Catholics as part of trasformismo, which partially increased political unity for a short time due to the pretence of a unified coalition and the attempt at unifying two polarised political parties. Overall, all these policies somewhat increased political unity, albeit temporarily, as they widened the electorate and allowed the Italian masses the chance to vote in a majority government. However, despite this, Italy still remained largely politically divided. The Libyan invasion of 1911 divided both the right wing/nationalist interventionists (who became more
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