Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 15 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Lay political forces shaped the development of the Kingdom of Italy, adhering to Cavour’s “Free Church in a Free State” policy. Right and left wing liberals adopted policies aimed at secularizing the state and reducing the Church’s privileges. The introduction of universal male suffrage in 1912 and the birth of mass parties reduced the influence of the traditional liberal secular elite. After Fascism, lay forces were spread thinly across the political spectrum and had limited electoral weight. However, they were able to exercise considerable influence: often in coalition with the Christian Democracy (DC), lay parties managed to counterbalance its clerical tendencies. Moreover, they successfully carried out a series of civil rights battles in the 1970s, overcoming the DC’s opposition and the inadequate secularism of the Italian Communist Party. In the Second Republic, secularism has weakened: explicitly lay parties have virtually disappeared while both center-right and center left have been highly receptive to religious influence.

Keywords: Kingdom of Italy, secularism, Liberal Italy, Cavour, civil rights, Vatican, Christian Democracy, Fascism

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.