chapter  9
10 Pages

Sequel and Conclusion

Cavour’s party, the Party of the Right, or the Destra, retained power, through a parliamentary majority, until 1876. They inherited a bitter struggle in the South, which had some, though not all, of the characteristics of a civil war. They also inherited a considerable debt in the purely financial sense. The wars of 1854 and 1859 had been costly for a small state like Piedmont, and even the campaign of 1860 in the Papal States had involved some expenditure. Although

Cavour had never let finances get out of control, he had assumed that the cost of the struggle for independence and unity would have to be partly met in the future. The Party of the Right thus had to concentrate on attempts to balance the budget, attempts which never completely succeeded. A policy of retrenchm ent and austerity is neither popular at the time, nor exciting as the subject of historical narrative. The men of the Destra who followed Cavour are often seen as unimaginative and ultra-conservative, though Croce pointed out that there is no evidence in these years of the kind of corruption that characterized the post-1876 period. The prime ministers of the years 1861 to 1876 made no brilliant achievements, but at least they held the Kingdom together at a time when many people outside Italy - among them Pius IX - believed that a united Italian state could not survive.