Action Party (Italy, 1848)

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Action Party
Partito d'Azione
Leaders Giuseppe Mazzini
Giuseppe Garibaldi
Carlo Cattaneo
Carlo Pisacane
Aurelio Saffi
Founded 5 May 1848 (1848-05-05)
Dissolved 4 November 1867 (1867-11-04)
Succeeded by Historical Far Left
Headquarters Genoa, Italy
Newspaper L'Unità italiana
Paramilitary wing Redshirts
Ideology Federalism
Italian nationalism
Political position Left-wing
International affiliation Young Europe
Colours      Red
Slogan Unione, Forza e Libertà

The Action Party (Italian: Partito d'Azione, PA) was an Italian pre-unitary political party, active during the Risorgimento.[1] It was the first organized party in the history of Italy.


After the failure of the Italian revolutions of 1848, Giuseppe Mazzini's Young Italy was dissolved as political organization, to form the Italian National Association (Italian: Associazione Nazionale Italiana, ANI). During the 1848-49, the ANI competed against the rival Moderate Party of Vincenzo Gioberti and Massimo d'Azeglio, that won the election in the Kingdom of Sardinia and established a new government. After some years of weak activities, in 1853 the ANI was renamed by Giuseppe Mazzini to Action Party, that published the booklet-manifesto "To the Italians" (Agli Italiani),[2] invited the Italians to start various rebel and republican's organizations. This tactic was changed after the failed invasion of Sapri of the same year, where Carlo Pisacane died.

In 1860, the Action Party financied the creation of a paramilitary group, led by Giuseppe Garibaldi, named Redshirts (Camicie rosse). The Redshirts become particularly famous for the "Expedition of the Thousand", when Garibaldi conquered in a few months all of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and the Papal States. In this period, the Action Party was strongly opposed to the Moderate Party and its new leader, Camillo Benso di Cavour, close to the House of Savoy. Mazzini particularly hated the annexation war, the falsification of the referendums and the "piedmontization" of Italy (that ignored the various diversities of a unified Italy). The Action Party founded the first mutual aid societies, workers' associations, public schools and cooperatives. In the 1861, Mazzini founded the newspaper of the Action Party, L'Unità italiana. In 1867, the Action Party attempted to conclude the Unification War, took over Rome with the battle of Mentana, which failed. Disappointed, Mazzini dissolved the Action Party, and retired from the politics.

In 1870, Garibaldi captured Rome, which became the capital of the Kingdom of Italy. In 1877, Agostino Bertani, a former member of the Action Party, left the Historical Left to form the Historical Far-Left, reputed the real heir of the Action Party.

Proposals and goals[edit]

Electoral results[edit]

Chamber of Deputies
Election year # of
overall votes
% of
overall vote
# of
overall seats won
+/– Leader
1861 unknown (#3) 2.3
14 / 443
Giuseppe Mazzini
1865 unknown (#3) 3.5
15 / 443
Increase 1
Giuseppe Mazzini

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Partito d'Azione". Encilopedia Treccani. 
  2. ^ a b Mazzini, Giuseppe (1853). Agli italiani. pp. 748–759.