“The Sword” of Italian Unification
“My goal, which was, I believe, shared by most italians at that time, was to unite the country and rid it of foreign powers. Those who gave Italy her freedom would earn her people’s gratitude” (Garibaldi, page 6). During the age of Italian unification, there were three men who fought for her (Italy’s) freedom. Those men were Cavour the brains, Mazzini the soul, and Garibaldi the sword (Chastain).
Giuseppe Garibaldi was born in Nice in 1807 (Garibaldi, page 173). He spent his life working towards not only Italian unification, but that of France and South America. He is considered by many to be the “Hero of two worlds” (Chastain). He spent most of his complex life on the run from political zealots fighting battles anywhere and everywhere volunteers supported his cause. His is a great leader in all aspects of the framework provided by Kouzes and Posner. With his deep passion for freedom, Garibaldi was a selfless man devoted for the cause, who fought with his soldiers on the field, and met with kings in his spare time. His life is filled with much tragedy including illness and wounds, death, jail, exile, and much, much mutiny and betrayal. A sentence of death was put on his life, but never carried out.
The following paper presents a critical analysis of the leadership qualities of Giuseppe Garibaldi following the framework provided in The Leader Challenge, by Kouzes and Posner. The outline for analysis is presented below:
Model the way
Find your voice by clarifying your personal values
Set the example by aligning actions with shared values
Inspire a shared vision
Envision the future by imagining exiting and ennobling possibilities
Enlist others in a common vision by appealing to shared aspirations
Challenge the process
Search for opportunities by seeking innovating ways to change and grow, and improve.
Experiment and take risk by constantly generating small wins and learning from mistakes.
Enable other to act
Foster collaboration by promoting cooperative goals and building trust.
Strengthen others by sharing power and discretion.
Encourage the heart
Recognize contribution by showing appreciation for individual excellence.
Celebrate the values and victories by creating a spirit of community.
Using the above analysis we will attempt to put in perspective the qualities of Giuseppe which make him an exemplary leader.
Model the way
After reading Giuseppe’s autobiography is it clear that he doesn’t clarify his personal values often. Most of his account of twenty years of battle is more epic in nature, and includes many negative interactions with authority figures. In all of his autobiography, he clearly mentions his personal values at the beginning of his period of exile from Italy, and he does so with powerful language: “It is difficult to find perfection among humankind: let us try to be good; let us teach the masses, as far as we can, the principles of justice and truth;; let us fight theocracy and tyranny, the embodiments of lies and evil, whatever form they take – but let us show compassion toward our own cruel human race, which among its other merits has the ability to generate on half of itself made up of emperors, kings, policemen and priests, who appear to be born with all the attributes of torturers for the glory and the good of the rest of us” (Garibaldi, page 48). From this quote we can clearly see that freedom, truth, and justice was the primary values of Garibaldi. This values are , in turn, aligned very closely with his organizational commitments and actions. From his book, it can inferred that he is always concerned for the safety and well being of his troops. From his oversight into obtaining a proper burial of comrade-in-arms, Anazini, to the constant references to the need to obtain proper clothing and food for his troops. Giuseppe displays a great hatred for his superiors when they do not deliver on their promise of clothing and food in exchange for troop movement during a battle in northern Italy.
As a military leader Giuseppe does a superb job of aligning his actions with his shared values. This is displayed several times, one of which is when he speaks of organizing the defense of Rome, “I preferred to march with my companions-in-ams” (Garibaldi, page 28). He always was on the forefront of battle with his soldiers, and on one occasion he raced to battle yelling out “Charge!” (Battle of Monterotondo). Every action he made reflected on his organizational value of freedom. He would say in his memoirs for each battle, this is goal in the freedom of Italy, and the country will no longer be looked on a place “Resort” and worship, and that Italy can become a powerful republican nation with respect to the other european countries. Inspire a shared vision
Garibaldi’s vision is the true reason for his success as a leader. His vision is described in his memoirs: “The hope I had cherished for so many years revived: the hope of involving my fellow-countrymen in a guerrilla war which, in the absence of an organized army, by itself would lead on to the liberation of Italy…” (Garibaldi, page 11). Garibaldi’s bold look for a future of a free Italy generated a cult following of volunteers from all over the world, and especially throughout Italy. As he entered a new city welcome wagons of volunteers greeted him. He was a man with a great hatred for horrible commanders. He spoke how that if he had been the man in charge of the Piedmontese army they would have “achieved miracles” (Garibaldi, page 15). When he spoke to the townspeople his powerful language evoked much emotion: “Palermo, Genoa, Milan, Brescia, Messina, Bologna, Casale! – when all the cities of Italy decide to treat the enemy as you did, then our land will truly be free and respected by all” (Garibaldi, page 69).
Using his volunteers as resources, Giuseppe was then able to enlist them into the ranks of his soldiers. He had a process of taking the over eighteen and above twenty-six year olds and putting them on the front lines. The rest were put in as support, and the most able men became officers. While his modest memoirs lack the details of how/where all of his supporters adopted his vision, he can be inferred as a very enthusiastic person, and always looked at the positives even in defeat. A quote on a speech from Garibaldi shows his enthusiasm and ability to enlist others by appealing to the shared vision of Italy’s future: “We must now consider the period which is just drawing to a close as almost the last stage of our national resurrection, and prepare ourselves to finish worthily the marvelous design of the elect of twenty generations, the completion of which Providence has reserved for this fortunate age” (historyplace.com/speeches/).
Challenge the process
As far as searching for innovative opportunities for change, Giuseppe acted on every opportunity he could, and even generated his own opportunities. When he arrived in Rome, he noticed the current leadership would result in disaster, he then “asked to be made dictator” (Garibaldi, 32). After his request he was offered by the chief triumvir the position of Commander-in-Chief of the republican forces. If his people needed him, Garibaldi would be there – “The had sent messengers to me with news of the situation, asking me, on behalf of all the citizens, to come to them” (Garibaldi, page 69). Giuseppe was so astounding by their enthusiasm that he raced down To Brescia! On to Brescia!’. Later he received a similar request from the Sicilians, which ultimately led to the commencement of the unification of Italy after the victories over the Bourbon troops (the enemies occupying Sicily).
As a military leader he was well aware of the effect that small wins have on soldiers. Many small battles win the war. He took a risk in every attack he made, most of the time his soldiers were outnumbered by several thousand. He always looked for the best tactical points to even out the number of soldiers, and attack techniques. The effect of small wins by Giuseppe can be summarized by this speech: “It was a decisive victory in the 1860 campaign. We needed to start the expedition with just such a brilliant military feat. It demoralized the enemy… It convinced our men that we would carry off the final victory. When a campaign begins with the good omen of such a resounding victory, then one carries on winning!” (Garibaldi, page 96). Giuseppe knew one thing more than anything, and that was failure, since he was such a risk-taker, he had experienced many retreats on the battlefield, and more importantly his failures related to betrayal. His leaders looked at him as a revolutionary, and a atheist, who cared not in papal matters. His leaders would often send him into traps, because he could escape from jail, and would always return from exile. His following was too large to assassinate him. Most of his leaders tried to piggy-back off of his popularity for political gain, and he was aware of it. A great example of how giuseppe learning from his mistakes is when the King asked him to go to fight in Lonato. It was a trapped and giuseppe realized this, Lonato is headquarters to the Austrian (enemy) army. “I finally cam to be convinced that general headquarters were playing games with us, and they weren’t lighthearted ones… I was to rely on myself and my companions in planning my future moves” (Garibaldi, page 71).
Enable others to act
“The first thing to do in central Italy was to get rid of Cipriani” (Garibaldi, page 81). Garibaldi knew that in order to move from southern to central Italy, that they the head generals for the King, must get rid of their oppenent in central Italy. His ability to recognize a cooperative goal and act on allowed for the Italian unification to move north. All of the King’s men agreed with Garibaldi, and then took action against Cipriani. He was a great enabler of people to act, even though with all of the micromanagement from Manzzini coming down to his officers to hold back on battles (Garibaldi, page 80) Giuseppe was still able to win a great number of victories in southern and central Italy, along with still a continual influx of volunteers.
The trust bestowed upon him by his troops is astounding. One mention he makes in his memoirs is that due to the restrictions placed on him as to the number of troops he commands, he must give a uniform pay cut to all of the troops. He had well above the restricted number. “When it was announced not a single complaint was heard among the ranks” (Garibaldi, page 23).
His actions of sharing power and discretion are great. As a military leader / revolutionist Giuseppe would give away his power as he moved from battle to battle. The major example of this is after the strong commencement of unification, Garibaldi said “I resigned the dictatorship which had been conferred o my by the people in the hands of Victor Emanuel and proclaimed him King of Italy” (Garibaldi, page 125). This proclamation of handing down the position as leader of all of Italy into the hands of someone more politically qualified, is a quality not found in most leaders. Back to when Garibaldi said Cipriani must be eliminated, he had a plan to replace him with one of his conrades-in-arms, Farini.
On criticism I would have for Garibaldi, for most of his battles he speaks of, is that he is the man in charge. It is inferred his great arrogance for authority, though from his memoirs, his authority figures were more concerned in their own agendas than for the greater good of the country. There is not much mention of his interaction with his peers, for most of the twenty years covered in his memoirs he was under an authority figure.
Encourage the heart
Garibaldi was excellent at recognizing his troops for excellence. First, he would not stop trying to get them adequate clothing, and encourage a spirit of community by having the uniforms of red shirts, or ponchos (Garibaldi, viii). “A tree is judged by the quality of the fruit it bears, and individuals are judged by the benefits they can bestow on their fellow-human beings (Garibaldi, page 126). Most of the encouragement from Garibaldi came from his speeches to his soldiers, a portion of one of his more famous speeches reads”Yes, young men, Italy owes to you an undertaking which has merited the applause of the universe. You have conquered and you will conquer still, because you are prepared for the tactics that decide the fate of battles. You are not unworthy of the men who entered the ranks of a Macedonian phalanx, and who contended not in vain with the proud conquerors of Asia. To this wonderful page in our country’s history another more glorious still will be added, and the slave shall show at last to his free brothers a sharpened sword forged from the links of his fetters” (historyplace.com/speeches).
He was a great leader and his powerful language caused much emotion his soldiers, or comrads-in-arms, as he called them. Giuseppe’s returns from battles were met with thousands of towns-people rushing into the streets to greet him and his soldiers (Garibaldi, page 63). His personal opinion of his soldiers commitments to his values reads “My reputation among the soldiers and the ordinary people – or so it seemed to me – enabled me to act regardless of what my opponent thought. Concluding remarks
Giuseppe Garibaldi is an incredible leader, one whose efforts are the foundations for the establishment of Italy as one, unified country. His values spoke out to hundreds of thousands, and his words rallied volunteers to fight towards a common goal, the unification of Italy. His selfless acts allowed the proper figures to replace him once battle was done, whereby creating the chain of events. His radical risk-taking caused many retreated battles, but showed his commitment to the main organizational value of Italy, unification. He was trusted in revered by many, and then hated for some. He was hated and feared from the foreign governments for his evolutionism. They, his opponents, saw him as threat their resort place’, and He saw Italy has having the potential for being a great european power. Giuseppe is an exemplary leader.
Garibaldi, Giuseppe. 2004 (1932). My life. London: Hesperus Classics. Translated by Stephan Parkin, Foreword by Tim Parks.
The History Place. Giuseppe Garibaldi Speech – Encouraging His Soldiers from http://historyplace.com/speeches/garibaldi.htm
Chastian, James. Encyclopedia of 1848 revolutions. Garibaldi, Giuseppe (1807-1882). 9/27/2004. From http://www.ohiou.edu/chastain/dh/gari.htm