Crispi, Francesco

Crispi, Francesco

(fränchās`kō krēs`pē), 1819–1901, Italian premier (1887–91, 1893–96), b. Sicily. After participation in the Sicilian revolt of 1848 against the repressive rule of Ferdinand II of Sicily, he went into exile to Piedmont, then to Malta and England, where he met Mazzini, and to France. He returned to Italy and joined GaribaldiGaribaldi, Giuseppe
, 1807–82, Italian patriot and soldier, a leading figure in the Risorgimento. He remains perhaps the most popular of all Italian heroes of the Risorgimento, and a great revolutionary hero in the Western world.
..... Click the link for more information.
 in his expedition to Sicily, which resulted in the proclamation of the kingdom of Italy (1861). A deputy to the Italian parliament from 1861, he was at first a republican, but later became an outspoken monarchist. In a letter to Mazzini he declared, "The monarchy unites us; the republic would divide us." He became minister of the interior (1877–78) in the Depretis cabinet. A charge of bigamy hindered his political career for the next nine years, but he returned to the Depretis cabinet in 1887 and became premier upon Depretis's death. He strengthened Italy's commitment to the Triple Alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary, but thereby helped cause Italian relations with France to deteriorate still further, leading to a tariff war between the two countries from 1888 to 1892. He also pressed a forward policy in NE Africa and organized the colony of Eritrea. He was overthrown in 1891 by the Giolitti, but returned to power in 1893 when bank scandals and the labor crisis in Sicily led to demands that a strong person assume office. He was reelected by a huge majority in 1895. However, resentment over his reactionary policies and, above all, the terrible defeat that Italian forces seeking to expand into Ethiopia suffered at Adwa (1896) soon forced him from office. Colorful, controversial, and intensely patriotic, his attacks on Italian liberalism have led him to be seen by some as a precursor to MussoliniMussolini, Benito
, 1883–1945, Italian dictator and leader of the Fascist movement. Early Career

His father, an ardent Socialist, was a blacksmith; his mother was a teacher.
..... Click the link for more information.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Crispi, Francesco


Born Oct. 4, 1818, in Ribera, Sicily; died Aug. 11, 1901, in Naples. Italian statesman and lawyer.

During the Risorgimento, Crispi participated in the revolution of 1848–49 and was a comrade in arms of Garibaldi in the expedition of “the Thousand.” After the unification of Italy he became a zealous supporter of the monarchy. In the 1880’s he was one of the leaders of the so-called left, a parliamentary group of the Italian bourgeoisie.

As prime minister (1887–91 and 1893–96), Crispi followed a severe antidemocratic course in his domestic policies—the reactionary 1889 law on public security, the bloody reprisals against insurgent peasants in Sicily and workers in Massa-Carrara in 1893–94, and the ban on the Socialist Party in 1894–95, for example. His foreign policy was marked by the strengthening of Italy’s ties with the other members of the Triple Alliance of 1882 and expansion into Africa, where the colonies in Somalia (1889) and Eritrea (1890) were begun; however, the failure of the at-tempt at conquest in Ethiopia (1896) and the “iron first” policy within Italy drove him out of politics.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.