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Born Jan. 18, 1825, in Pavia; died Aug. 8, 1889, in Capodimonte, near Naples. Italian liberal politician and statesman.
With his four brothers, Cairoli was part of the national liberation movement during the 1840’s through the 1860’s. He helped organize Garibaldi’s expedition of the Thousand and commanded its 7th Company. After the unification of Italy, Cairoli headed a faction of the leftist liberal group of industrial and trade circles. In 1878 and from 1879 to 1881 he was the prime minister.
Cairoli’s government assisted the development of capitalism in Italy and encouraged the spirit of bourgeois enterprise. It supported the movement for the return to Italy of the Southern Tirol and other regions that remained in Austrian hands. Cairoli pursued a policy of nonparticipation in any alliances, hoping to take advantage of the disagreements among European powers. France’s seizure in 1881 ofTunis, to which Italy also had pretensions, marked the failure of Cairoli’s foreign policy and led to his resignation.