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As If God ExistedReligion and Liberty in the History of Italy$
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Maurizio Viroli

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691142357

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691142357.001.0001

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After the Revolution

After the Revolution

(p.103) 11 After the Revolution
As If God Existed

Maurizio Viroli

, Alberto Nones
Princeton University Press

This chapter focuses on the republican liberty in the aftermath of the revolution. The defeat of the revolutionary experiment made the most perceptive political writers aware of the fact that Italy lacked a public spirit capable of sustaining republican institutions. These thinkers realized that the true enemies of republican liberty, rather than reactionary governments and the papacy, were Italy's bad customs and bad religion. The revolutionary initiative could change governments and institutions, but only education could improve customs and religion. Cuoco understood better than anybody else that the Italian problem was above all one of public spirit. In a letter to Giovanni Battista Giovio on March 7, 1804, he explains that no better order would arise as long as Italians remained “sluggard and fainthearted,” especially weak in spirit rather than just in politics and arms.

Keywords:   republican religion, republican liberty, Italy, Cuoco, customs

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