Piedmont

Explain why Piedmont had been
modernized by 1859 [24]

After the failure of the 1848 revolutions, Piedmont was the only state left with a constitutional government, the Statuto, as well as the new king, Victor Emmanuel II. With this new constitution many changes were made to Piedmont, especially by the influence of the newly appointed Minister of Trade Cavour, who later was appointed Prime Minister. Cavour had a great love for Britain after studying there for a short length of time. He was intrigued by the political system, as it was far superior to that of Italy. Cavour made many changes to Piedmont by developing ideas such as railways and good trade links throughout Europe.
Due to the new constitutional government introduced by Charles Albert, thousands of Italian nationalists moved to Piedmont. Due to this rise in population more money was coming into the Piedmont government, partly due to the increase of taxes. Cavour, who had borrowed money from the Bank of Hambro, London, introduced this increase of taxes as a way of repaying his 725 million lire debt. With this money Cavour was able to develop ideas such as railways across 850km of Italy. These railways improved communication as well as making it easier to transport troops around Piedmont and Italy.
Over the 1850??™s Piedmont had become economically strong due to its free trade links with other countries. These trade links gave Piedmont the advantage, they were able to develop close political relationships with these countries as well as increase their imports and exports by 300%. This increase helped to develop Piedmont as the government could use the increase of money to work on new ideas such as the building of canals. These canals boosted the construction industry and also employed hundreds of people.
At the time, Britain was in an industrial revolution that Cavour and Northern Italy became greatly interested in. Due to this, Piedmont began to promote different entrepreneurs, and soon a telegraph linked Turin to Paris. This link made it easier to communicate with France who, with hindsight, we know was of great value to Piedmont some years later.
Although having a close relationship with France, and knowing the majority of both countries consisted of Catholics, Piedmont introduced the Siccardi Laws. These laws limited the power of the Catholic Church. This showed the people that Piedmont wanted to free itself from the control of the Church and become different. By introducing these laws Piedmont helped itself economically in many ways including reducing the number of feast days each year on which people were forbidden to work. Due to this rise in work people were improving and modernizing Piedmont everyday.
Cavour knew that he must improve Piedmont economically to make it stronger than Austria. Cavour also knew that Piedmont would need foreign help and to gain this he entered the Crimean War. Although this war drained the economy of Piedmont, they gained the gratitude of France and Britain, having these allies helped to secure the war with Austria. In order to compete with Austria Piedmont knew they must become a modernized state.
Overall it is clear to see that Piedmont had been modernized by 1859 as many changes had been made, economically and also socially. I believe Cavour played an important part in this process due to his ideas and clever thinking. Without Cavour many of these ideas would not have been developed and also may not have been funded. The majority of Cavour??™s ideas and inspiration came from the British way of living.

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