Roman Republic (19th century)

From Academic Kids

See also ancient Roman Republic and Roman Republic (18th century).

Missing image
Military flag of the Roman Republic. The state flag had no double R's
The Roman Republic was a short-lived (four months) state established in February, 1849 when the theocratic Papal States were temporarily overthrown by Carlo Armellini, Giuseppe Mazzini and Aurelio Saffi.

According to the Roman Republic constitution, all religions could be practiced freely and the pope was guaranteed the right to govern the Catholic Church. Under the Papal States at that time, Judaism could be practiced freely by those who were born Jewish and not baptized, although Jews were in many respects discriminated against, and all other religions besides Catholicism and Judaism were forbidden except to visiting foreigners. Also, the Constitution of the Roman Republic was the first in the world to abolish capital punishment in its Constitutional law.


On 15 November 1848, Pellegrino Rossi, Minister of Justice of the papal Government was killed; the following day the Romans uprose, asking for social reformations, war against Austria, democratic government (not all the requests were made by the whole people). Pope Pius IX allowed the formation of a liberal government (lead by archibishop Carlo Emanuele Muzzarelli), but left Rome for Gaeta (a fortress in the Kingdom of Two Sicilies), as form of protest. The new government issued some liberal reforms, but Pius IX rejected them and designed a new government, established in Gaeta.

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3 baiocchi coin, 1849. The recto shows the Roman eagle, and the motto DIO E POPOLO, "God and people"

Without a local government in Rome, popular assemblies decided to issue universal elections on the following 21 January 1849: since the Pope had forbidden to Catholics to vote at those elections, the resulting constitutional assembly had republican inclination (in every and each part of the Papal States more than 50% of the potential voters expressed their vote). The Constitutional Assembly proclaimed the Roman Republic and elected the Triumvirate, formed by Carlo Armellini (Roman), Mattia Montecchi (Roman) and Aurelio Saliceti (from Teramo, Papal States), and a government, led by Muzzarelli and composed also by Aurelio Saffi (from Forl, Papal States). Among the first acts of the Republic, there was the proclamation of the right of the Pope to continue his role as head of the Roman Church. The Triumvirate passed popular legislation to eliminate burdensome taxes and give work to the unemployed.

The Pope asked for military help from Catholic countries. Saliceti and Montecchi left the Triumvirate, substituted by Saffi and Giuseppe Mazzini (Genoan, founder of the La Giovine Italia). Mazzini dramatically improved the status of the poor, taking some of the Church's large landholdings and giving them for free to grateful peasants. He inaugurated prison and insane asylum reforms, freedom of the press, secular education, but shied away from the "Right to Work," having seen this fail in France. Runaway inflation might have doomed the Republic, and sending troops to defend the Piedmont from Austrian forces put Rome at risk of attack from Austria, but the Roman Republic would fall to another, unexpected enemy. In France, President Louis Napoleon (who would later become emperor Napoleon III) needed the endorsement of the Catholics, and decided to send troops to restore the Pope. The French arrived 20 April 1849, though Giuseppe Garibaldi's attack sent them back to the sea. Neapolitan troops entered in Roman Republic territory. Many Italians from outside the Papal States went to Rome to fight for the Republic: among them also Goffredo Mameli, who had tried to form a common state between Roman Republic and Tuscany, and who died because a wound suffered in the defence of Rome.

After al long siege and the resistance of the Republican army, led by Garibaldi, the French army entered in Rome in June 1849, reestablishing the Holy See's temporal power. The Pope did not return to Rome itself until April 1850, since the French were considered liberals all the same, and the Pope did not return until assured of no French meddling in his romana it:Repubblica Romana (XIX secolo) nl:Romeinse Republiek (1849) ja:ローマ共和国 (19世紀)


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