Historical Left

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Historical Left
Sinistra Storica
Historical leaders Urbano Rattazzi
Agostino Depretis
Benedetto Cairoli
Francesco Crispi
Giovanni Giolitti
Vittorio Emanuele Orlando
Founded 1849 (as The Left)
1882 (as GC)
Dissolved 1912
Succeeded by Liberals
Ideology Liberalism (Italy)
Political position Radical centre to
Centre-left
Politics of Italy
Political parties
Elections

The Historical Left (Sinistra Storica), officially known as The Left (La Sinistra) and later ranamed as Great Centre (Grande Centro, GC), was a liberal, constitutional, and reformist parliamentary group in Italy during the second half of the 19th century. It was founded in 1849 as opposition to the right-wing government of Massimo d'Azeglio; it was not a structured party, but simply an opposition formed both by radical politicians and moderate supporters of the existing constitutional monarchy, with no relevant differences with the ruling Historical Right.[1]

History[edit]

From 1849 to 1876, the Historical Left remained the parliamentary opposition, even during the short cabinets of Leftist Urbano Rattazzi which were supported only by Independent politicians. In 1876, the Left leader Agostino Depretis was appointed Prime Minister after the trahison of some Rightist MPs who changed sides, and lately the coalition won the election with a large majority. Benedetto Cairoli and Francesco Crispi succeeded to Depretis as head of the government. The Left supported protectionism and, in foreign relations, left the alliance with France joining the Triple Alliance with Germany and former archrival Austria.[2]

In 1892, the new leader of the Left, Giovanni Giolitti, won the election and he was nominated Prime Minister; Giolitti ruled at times up to 1921 with the support of both the coalitions, in a situation of huge parliamentary corruption. Giolitti has been the second-longest-serving Prime Minister of Italy. In the early 20th century, the Left and the Right merged in a single centrist and Liberal coalition which largely dominated the Italian Parliament against two smaller opposition: The Clericals, composed by some Vatican-oriented politicians, and The Extreme, formed by the socialist faction which represented a real left in a present-day concept.

Electoral results[edit]

Chamber of Deputies
Election year # of
overall votes
 % of
overall vote
# of
overall seats won
+/– Leader
1861 unknown (#2) 20.4
62 / 443
Agostino Depretis
1865 unknown (#2) 35.2
156 / 443
Increase 94
Agostino Depretis
1867 126,202 (#1) 43.0
225 / 493
Increase 69
Urbano Rattazzi
1870 92,499 (#2) 28.8
195 / 493
Decrease 30
Urbano Rattazzi
1874 150,119 (#2) 46.4
232 / 508
Increase 37
Agostino Depretis
1876 243,319 (#1) 70.2
424 / 508
Increase 182
Agostino Depretis
1880 146,096 (#1) 40.7
218 / 508
Decrease 196
Benedetto Cairoli
1882 unknown (#1) 56.8
289 / 508
Increase 81
Agostino Depretis
1886 unknown (#1) 57,5
292 / 508
Increase 3
Agostino Depretis
1890 unknown (#1) 78.9
401 / 508
Increase 109
Francesco Crispi
1892 unknown (#1) 63.5
323 / 508
Decrease 78
Giovanni Giolitti
1895 713,812 (#1) 58.6
334 / 508
Increase 11
Francesco Crispi
1897 unknown (#1) 64.3
327 / 508
Decrease 7
Francesco Crispi
1900 663,418 (#1) 52.3
296 / 508
Decrease 31
Giovanni Giolitti
1904 777,345 (#1) 50.9
339 / 508
Increase 43
Giovanni Giolitti
1909 995,290 (#1) 54.4
329 / 508
Decrease 10
Giovanni Giolitti

References[edit]