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Francesco Crispi 1818-1901From Nation to Nationalism$
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Christopher Duggan

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780198206118

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198206118.001.0001

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The Final Years

The Final Years

(p.710) 20 The Final Years
Francesco Crispi 1818-1901


Oxford University Press

The loss of Italy to Ethiopia in the Battle of Adua ended Francesco Crispi's political career. A fundamental cause of Adua — and of its perception as an irrevocable disaster — was that Italy lacked the strong moral foundations needed to sustain a major war. Herein lay the central and tragic paradox of Crispi's career, and indeed of much of Italy's history down to 1945. In seeking to foster loyalty to the institutions, allay the threat of subversion, and ‘make Italians’, Crispi was driven into a highly ambitious foreign policy whose success depended heavily on the very patriotism and moral unity that he was trying to generate. In the months after his fall from power, Crispi faced an avalanche of vilification and rarely attended parliament. This chapter looks at Crispi's final years until his death on August 11, 1901.

Keywords:   Francesco Crispi, Italy, war, Ethiopia, death, patriotism, Battle of Adua, foreign policy, parliament

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