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Roman Republic (19th century)

Roman Republic (19th century)

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The Roman Republic was a state declared on February 9, 1849, when the government of Papal States
Papal States
The Papal State, State of the Church, or Pontifical States were among the major historical states of Italy from roughly the 6th century until the Italian peninsula was unified in 1861 by the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia .The Papal States comprised territories under...

 was temporarily substituted by a republican government due to Pope Pius IX
Pope Pius IX
Blessed Pope Pius IX , born Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti, was the longest-reigning elected Pope in the history of the Catholic Church, serving from 16 June 1846 until his death, a period of nearly 32 years. During his pontificate, he convened the First Vatican Council in 1869, which decreed papal...

's flight to Gaeta
Gaeta
Gaeta is a city and comune in the province of Latina, in Lazio, central Italy. Set on a promontory stretching towards the Gulf of Gaeta, it is 120 km from Rome and 80 km from Naples....

. The republic was led by Carlo Armellini
Carlo Armellini
Carlo Armellini was an Italian politician, activist and jurist.He was part of the triumvirate leading the short-lived Roman Republic in 1849, together with Giuseppe Mazzini and Aurelio Saffi....

, Giuseppe Mazzini
Giuseppe Mazzini
Giuseppe Mazzini , nicknamed Soul of Italy, was an Italian politician, journalist and activist for the unification of Italy. His efforts helped bring about the independent and unified Italy in place of the several separate states, many dominated by foreign powers, that existed until the 19th century...

 and Aurelio Saffi
Aurelio Saffi
Aurelio Saffi was an Italian politician, active during the period of Italian unification...

. Together they formed a triumvirate
Triumvirate
A triumvirate is a political regime dominated by three powerful individuals, each a triumvir . The arrangement can be formal or informal, and though the three are usually equal on paper, in reality this is rarely the case...

, a reflection of a form of government seen in the ancient Roman Republic
Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

.

One of the major innovations the Republic hoped to achieve was enshrined in its constitution; all religions could be practiced freely
Freedom of religion
Freedom of religion is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance; the concept is generally recognized also to include the freedom to change religion or not to follow any...

 and the pope
Pope Pius IX
Blessed Pope Pius IX , born Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti, was the longest-reigning elected Pope in the history of the Catholic Church, serving from 16 June 1846 until his death, a period of nearly 32 years. During his pontificate, he convened the First Vatican Council in 1869, which decreed papal...

 was guaranteed the right to govern the Catholic Church. These religious freedoms were quite different from the situation under the preceding government, which allowed only Catholicism and Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 to be practiced by citizens. The Constitution of the Roman Republic was the first in the world to abolish capital punishment
Capital punishment
Capital punishment, the death penalty, or execution is the sentence of death upon a person by the state as a punishment for an offence. Crimes that can result in a death penalty are known as capital crimes or capital offences. The term capital originates from the Latin capitalis, literally...

 in its constitutional law
Constitutional law
Constitutional law is the body of law which defines the relationship of different entities within a state, namely, the executive, the legislature and the judiciary....

.

Birth of the Republic


On November 15, 1848, Pellegrino Rossi
Pellegrino Rossi
Pellegrino Rossi was an Italian economist, politician and jurist. He was an important figure of the July Monarchy in France, and the Minister of Justice in the government of the Papal States, under Pope Pius IX.-Biography:...

, the Minister of Justice of the Papal government
Papal States
The Papal State, State of the Church, or Pontifical States were among the major historical states of Italy from roughly the 6th century until the Italian peninsula was unified in 1861 by the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia .The Papal States comprised territories under...

, was assassinated. The following day, the liberals of Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 filled the streets, where various groups demanded a democratic government, social reforms and a declaration of war against the Empire of Austria
Austrian Empire
The Austrian Empire was a modern era successor empire, which was centered on what is today's Austria and which officially lasted from 1804 to 1867. It was followed by the Empire of Austria-Hungary, whose proclamation was a diplomatic move that elevated Hungary's status within the Austrian Empire...

. On the night of November 24, Pope Pius IX
Pope Pius IX
Blessed Pope Pius IX , born Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti, was the longest-reigning elected Pope in the history of the Catholic Church, serving from 16 June 1846 until his death, a period of nearly 32 years. During his pontificate, he convened the First Vatican Council in 1869, which decreed papal...

 left Rome disguised as an ordinary priest
Priest
A priest is a person authorized to perform the sacred rites of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and deities. They also have the authority or power to administer religious rites; in particular, rites of sacrifice to, and propitiation of, a deity or deities...

, and went out of the state to Gaeta
Gaeta
Gaeta is a city and comune in the province of Latina, in Lazio, central Italy. Set on a promontory stretching towards the Gulf of Gaeta, it is 120 km from Rome and 80 km from Naples....

, a fortress in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Before leaving he had allowed the formation of a government led by Archbishop Carlo Emanuele Muzzarelli
Carlo Emanuele Muzzarelli
Carlo Emanuele dei conti Muzzarelli was an Italian clergyman, a member of the Roman Catholic curia under Pope Pius IX, who had the reputation of a liberal as well as a man of letters....

, to whom he wrote a note before leaving:
The government issued some liberal reforms which Pius IX rejected and when securely established in Gaeta he designed a new government. A delegation was created by the High Council established by the Pope and the mayor of Rome, and sent to reassure the Pope and ask him to come back as soon as possible. This delegation was composed of the mayor himself, Prince Tommaso Corsini, three priests – Rezzi, Mertel and Arrighi – Marchese Paolucci de Calboli, doctor Fusconi and lawyer Rossi. However, they were stopped at the state boundary at Terracina. The Pope, informed of this, refused to speak to them. In Rome a Costituente Romana was formed, 29 November.

Without a local government
Local government
Local government refers collectively to administrative authorities over areas that are smaller than a state.The term is used to contrast with offices at nation-state level, which are referred to as the central government, national government, or federal government...

 in Rome, for the first time in history, popular assemblies gathered. Margaret Fuller
Margaret Fuller
Sarah Margaret Fuller Ossoli, commonly known as Margaret Fuller, was an American journalist, critic, and women's rights advocate associated with the American transcendentalism movement. She was the first full-time American female book reviewer in journalism...

 described the procession under a new flag, a tricolore
Flag of Italy
The flag of Italy is a tricolour featuring three equally sized vertical pales of green, white, and red, with the green at the hoist side...

sent from Venice, that set the flag in the hands of the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius
Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius
The Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius is an ancient Roman statue in the Campidoglio, Rome, Italy. It is made of bronze and stands 3.5 m tall. Although the emperor is mounted, it exhibits many similarities to standing statues of Augustus...

 at the Campidoglio, and the angry popular reaction to papal warnings of excommunication
Excommunication
Excommunication is a religious censure used to deprive, suspend or limit membership in a religious community. The word means putting [someone] out of communion. In some religions, excommunication includes spiritual condemnation of the member or group...

 for political actions of November received from Gaeta and posted on the 3rd. The Costituenti decided to schedule direct and universal elections (electors were all the citizen of the State, male and over 21 years old) on the following 21 January 1849. Since the pope had forbidden Catholics to vote at those elections (he considered the convocation of the election "a monstruous act of felony made without a mask by the sponsors of the anarchic demagogy" an "abnormal and sacrilegious attempt... deserving the punishments written both in the divine and the human laws"), the resulting constitutional assembly had a republican inclination. In each and every part of the Papal States more than 50% of the potential voters went to the polls.

The voters were not asked to express themselves on the parties but to vote for individuals. The lawyer Francesco Sturbinetti, who had led the Council of the Deputies, received the most votes, followed by Carlo Armellini
Carlo Armellini
Carlo Armellini was an Italian politician, activist and jurist.He was part of the triumvirate leading the short-lived Roman Republic in 1849, together with Giuseppe Mazzini and Aurelio Saffi....

, the physician Pietro Sterbini, monsignor Muzzarelli
Carlo Emanuele Muzzarelli
Carlo Emanuele dei conti Muzzarelli was an Italian clergyman, a member of the Roman Catholic curia under Pope Pius IX, who had the reputation of a liberal as well as a man of letters....

, in whose hands Pius had left the city and Carlo Luciano Bonaparte, prince of Canino
Charles Lucien Bonaparte
Charles Lucien Jules Laurent Bonaparte, 2nd Prince of Canino and Musignano was a French naturalist and ornithologist.-Biography:...

. The aristocracy was represented with a prince, six marquises, fifteen counts and three other nobles. The new assembly was dominated by the bourgeoisie, the affluent, professionals and employees. Twenty-seven owners, a banker, fifty three jurists and lawyers, six graduates, twelve professors, two writers, twenty-one doctors, one pharmacist, six engineers, five employees, two merchants, nineteen military officers, one prior and one monsignore.

On February 2, 1849, at a political rally held in the Teatro Apollo
Tor di Nona
The Tor di Nona— now a small area in Rome's Rione V called "Ponte", which lies in the heart of the city's historic center, between the via dei Coronari and the Tiber— commemorates an unregretted mediaeval tower which stood there...

, a young Roman ex-priest, the Abbé Arduini, made a speech in which he declared that the temporal power of the popes was a "historical lie, a political imposture, and a religious immorality."

The Constitutional Assembly convened on February 8 and proclaimed the Roman Republic after midnight on February 9. According to Jasper Ridley: "When the name of Carlo Luciano Bonaparte
Charles Lucien Bonaparte
Charles Lucien Jules Laurent Bonaparte, 2nd Prince of Canino and Musignano was a French naturalist and ornithologist.-Biography:...

, who was a member for Viterbo, was called, he replied to the roll-call by calling out Long live the Republic!" (Viva la Repubblica!). That a Roman Republic was a foretaste of wider expectations was expressed in the acclamation of Giuseppe Mazzini
Giuseppe Mazzini
Giuseppe Mazzini , nicknamed Soul of Italy, was an Italian politician, journalist and activist for the unification of Italy. His efforts helped bring about the independent and unified Italy in place of the several separate states, many dominated by foreign powers, that existed until the 19th century...

 as a Roman citizen.

When news reached the city of the decisive defeat of Piedmontese forces at the Battle of Novara
Battle of Novara (1849)
The Battle of Novara or Battle of Bicocca was one of the battles fought between the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Sardinia during the First Italian War of Independence, within the era of Italian unification...

 (22 March), the Assembly proclaimed the Triumvirate
Triumvirate
A triumvirate is a political regime dominated by three powerful individuals, each a triumvir . The arrangement can be formal or informal, and though the three are usually equal on paper, in reality this is rarely the case...

, of Carlo Armellini
Carlo Armellini
Carlo Armellini was an Italian politician, activist and jurist.He was part of the triumvirate leading the short-lived Roman Republic in 1849, together with Giuseppe Mazzini and Aurelio Saffi....

 (Roman), Giuseppe Mazzini
Giuseppe Mazzini
Giuseppe Mazzini , nicknamed Soul of Italy, was an Italian politician, journalist and activist for the unification of Italy. His efforts helped bring about the independent and unified Italy in place of the several separate states, many dominated by foreign powers, that existed until the 19th century...

 (Roman) and Aurelio Saffi
Aurelio Saffi
Aurelio Saffi was an Italian politician, active during the period of Italian unification...

 (from Teramo
Teramo
Teramo is a city and comune in the central Italian region of Abruzzo, the capital of the province of Teramo.The city, from Rome, is situated between the highest mountains of the Apennines and the Adriatic coast...

, Papal States), and a government, led by Muzzarelli and composed also by Aurelio Saffi
Aurelio Saffi
Aurelio Saffi was an Italian politician, active during the period of Italian unification...

 (from Forlì
Forlì
Forlì is a comune and city in Emilia-Romagna, Italy, and is the capital of the province of Forlì-Cesena. The city is situated along the Via Emilia, to the right of the Montone river, and is an important agricultural centre...

, Papal States). Among the first acts of the Republic was the proclamation of the right of the Pope to continue his role as head of the Roman Church. The Triumvirate passed popular legislation to eliminate burdensome taxes and to give work to the unemployed.

Giuseppe Garibaldi
Giuseppe Garibaldi
Giuseppe Garibaldi was an Italian military and political figure. In his twenties, he joined the Carbonari Italian patriot revolutionaries, and fled Italy after a failed insurrection. Garibaldi took part in the War of the Farrapos and the Uruguayan Civil War leading the Italian Legion, and...

 formed the "Italian Legion", with many recruits coming from Piedmont and the Austrian territories of Lombardy and Venetia, and took up a station at the border town of Rieti
Rieti
Rieti is a city and comune in Lazio, central Italy, with a population of c. 47,700. It is the capital of province of Rieti.The town centre rests on a small hilltop, commanding a wide plain at the southern edge of an ancient lake. The area is now the fertile basin of the Velino River...

 on the border with the Kingdom of Two Sicilies. There the legion rose to about 1000 and gained discipline and organization.

The Pope asked for military help from Catholic countries. Saliceti and Montecchi left the Triumvirate; their places were filled on 29 March by Saffi and Giuseppe Mazzini
Giuseppe Mazzini
Giuseppe Mazzini , nicknamed Soul of Italy, was an Italian politician, journalist and activist for the unification of Italy. His efforts helped bring about the independent and unified Italy in place of the several separate states, many dominated by foreign powers, that existed until the 19th century...

, the Genoese founder of the journal La Giovine Italia
Young Italy (historical)
Young Italy was a political movement founded in 1831 by Giuseppe Mazzini. The goal of this movement was to create a united Italian republic through promoting a general insurrection in the Italian reactionary states and in the lands occupied by the Austrian Empire...

, who had been the guiding spirit of the Republic from the start. Mazzini won friends among the poor by confiscating some of the Church's large landholdings and distributing them to peasants. He inaugurated prison and insane asylum reforms, freedom of the press
Freedom of the press
Freedom of the press or freedom of the media is the freedom of communication and expression through vehicles including various electronic media and published materials...

, and secular education
Secular education
Secular education is the system of public education in countries with a secular government or separation between religion and state.An example of a highly secular educational system would be the French public educational system, going as far as to ban conspicuous religious symbols in schools.In...

, but shied away from the "Right to Work," having seen this measure fail in France.

However, the government's policies (lower taxes, increased spending) meant the government had trouble with its finances and had to resort to inflating the currency in order to pay its debts. Runaway inflation might have doomed the Republic entirely on its own, but it also faced military threats.

The Piedmont was at risk of attack by Austrian forces, and the Republic's movement of troops in the area was a threat to Austria (which was certainly capable of attacking Rome itself). The commander-in-chief of Austrian forces in Milan, count Joseph Radetzky
Joseph Radetzky von Radetz
Johann Josef Wenzel Graf Radetzky von Radetz was a Czech nobleman and Austrian general, immortalised by Johann Strauss I's Radetzky March...

, had remarked during the "Five Glorious Days" of Milan, "Three days of blood will give us thirty years of peace".

But the Roman Republic would fall to another, unexpected enemy. In France, newly-elected President Louis Napoleon, who would soon declare himself emperor Napoleon III, was torn. He himself had participated in an insurrection in the Papal States against the pope in 1831, but at this point he was under intense pressure from ultramontane
Ultramontanism
Ultramontanism is a religious philosophy within the Roman Catholic community that places strong emphasis on the prerogatives and powers of the Pope...

 French Catholics, who had voted overwhelmingly for him. Though he hesitated to betray Italian liberals, he decided to send troops to restore the Pope.

French siege


On April 25, some eight to ten thousand French troops under General Charles Oudinot
Charles Oudinot
Lieutenant-General Charles Nicolas Victor Oudinot, 2nd Duc de Reggio , the eldest son of Napoleon I's marshal Nicolas Oudinot of his first marriage with Charlotte Derlin, also made a military career....

 landed at Civitavecchia
Civitavecchia
Civitavecchia is a town and comune of the province of Rome in the central Italian region of Lazio. A sea port on the Tyrrhenian Sea, it is located 80 kilometers west-north-west of Rome, across the Mignone river. The harbor is formed by two piers and a breakwater, on which is a lighthouse...

 on the coast northwest of Rome, while Spain sent 4,000 men under Fernando Fernández de Córdova
Fernando Fernández de Córdova
Don Fernando Fernández de Córdova y Valcárcel, 2nd Marquis of Mendigorría , was a Spanish military, politician, and Prime minister of Spain for one day....

 to Gaeta
Gaeta
Gaeta is a city and comune in the province of Latina, in Lazio, central Italy. Set on a promontory stretching towards the Gulf of Gaeta, it is 120 km from Rome and 80 km from Naples....

, where the Pope remained in his refuge. The French sent a staff officer the next day to meet with Giuseppe Mazzini with a stiff assertion that the pope would be restored to power. The revolutionary Roman Assembly, amid thunderous shouts of "Guerra!, Guerra!", authorised Mazzini to resist the French by force of arms.

The French expected little resistance from the "usurpers". But republican resolve was stiffened by the charismatic Giuseppe Garibaldi
Giuseppe Garibaldi
Giuseppe Garibaldi was an Italian military and political figure. In his twenties, he joined the Carbonari Italian patriot revolutionaries, and fled Italy after a failed insurrection. Garibaldi took part in the War of the Farrapos and the Uruguayan Civil War leading the Italian Legion, and...

's long-delayed triumphal entry into Rome at last, on April 27, and by the arrival on April 29 of the Lombard Bersaglieri
Bersaglieri
The Bersaglieri are a corps of the Italian Army originally created by General Alessandro La Marmora on 18 June 1836 to serve in the Piedmontese Army, later to become the Royal Italian Army...

, who had recently driven the Austrians from the streets of Milan in "modern" house-to-house fighting. Hasty defenses were erected on the Janiculum
Janiculum
The Janiculum is a hill in western Rome, Italy. Although the second-tallest hill in the contemporary city of Rome, the Janiculum does not figure among the proverbial Seven Hills of Rome, being west of the Tiber and outside the boundaries of the ancient city.-Sights:The Janiculum is one of the...

 wall, and the villas on the city's outskirts were garrisoned. On April 30, Oudinot's out-of-date maps led him to march to a gate that had been walled up some time before. The first cannon-shot was mistaken for the noon-day gun, and the astonished French were beaten back by the fiercely anti-clerical Romans of Trastevere
Trastevere
Trastevere is rione XIII of Rome, on the west bank of the Tiber, south of Vatican City. Its name comes from the Latin trans Tiberim, meaning literally "beyond the Tiber". The correct pronunciation is "tras-TEH-ve-ray", with the accent on the second syllable. Its logo is a golden head of a lion on a...

, Garibaldi's legionaries and citizen-soldiers, who sent them back to the sea. But despite Garibaldi's urging, Mazzini was loath to follow up their advantage, as he had not expected an attack by the French and hoped that the Roman Republic could befriend the French Republic. The French prisoners were treated as ospiti della guerra and sent back with republican tracts citing the Article V of the most recent French constitution: "France respects foreign nationalities. Her might will never be employed against the liberty of any people".
As a result Oudinot was able to regroup and await reinforcements; time proved to be on his side, and Mazzini's attempt at diplomacy proved fatal to the Roman Republic. A letter from Louis Napoleon encouraged Oudinot and assured him of French reinforcements. The French government sent Ferdinand de Lesseps
Ferdinand de Lesseps
Ferdinand Marie, Vicomte de Lesseps, GCSI was the French developer of the Suez Canal, which joined the Mediterranean and Red Seas in 1869, and substantially reduced sailing distances and times between the West and the East.He attempted to repeat this success with an effort to build a sea-level...

 to negotiate a more formal ceasefire. Neapolitan troops sympathetic to the Papacy entered Roman Republic territory, and de Lesseps suggested that Oudinot's forces in their current position might protect the city from the converging approach of an Austrian army with the Neapolitan force: the Roman Triumvirate agreed. Many Italians from outside the Papal States went to Rome to fight for the Republic: among them was Goffredo Mameli
Goffredo Mameli
Goffredo Mameli was an Italian patriot, poet and writer, and a notable figure in the Italian Risorgimento. He is also the author of the lyrics of the current Italian national anthem.-Biography:...

, who had tried to form a common state joining Roman Republic and Tuscany
Tuscany
Tuscany is a region in Italy. It has an area of about 23,000 square kilometres and a population of about 3.75 million inhabitants. The regional capital is Florence ....

, and who died of a wound suffered in the defense of Rome.

The siege began in earnest on June 1, and despite the resistance of the Republican army, led by Garibaldi, the French prevailed on June 29. On June 30 the Roman Assembly met and debated three options: to surrender; to continue fighting in the streets of Rome; to retreat from Rome and continue the resistance from the Apennine mountains
Apennine mountains
The Apennines or Apennine Mountains or Greek oros but just as often used alone as a noun. The ancient Greeks and Romans typically but not always used "mountain" in the singular to mean one or a range; thus, "the Apennine mountain" refers to the entire chain and is translated "the Apennine...

. Garibaldi made a speech in which he favored the third option and then said: Dovunque saremo, colà sarà Roma. ("Wherever we may be, there will be Rome").

A truce was negotiated on July 1 and on July 2 Garibaldi, followed by some 4 000 troops, withdrew from Rome for refuge in the neutral republic of San Marino
San Marino
San Marino, officially the Republic of San Marino , is a state situated on the Italian Peninsula on the eastern side of the Apennine Mountains. It is an enclave surrounded by Italy. Its size is just over with an estimated population of over 30,000. Its capital is the City of San Marino...

. The French Army entered Rome on July 3 and reestablished the Holy See
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

's temporal power. In August Louis Napoleon issued a sort of manifesto in which he asked of Pius IX a general amnesty, a secularized administration, the establishment of the Code Napoléon
Napoleonic code
The Napoleonic Code — or Code Napoléon — is the French civil code, established under Napoléon I in 1804. The code forbade privileges based on birth, allowed freedom of religion, and specified that government jobs go to the most qualified...

, and in general a Liberal Government. Pius, from Gaeta, promised reforms that he declared motu proprio
Motu proprio
A motu proprio is a document issued by the Pope on his own initiative and personally signed by him....

, that is, of his own volition, not in answer to the French.

The Pope did not return to Rome itself until April 1850, since the French were considered liberals all the same, and the Pope would not return until assured of no French meddling in his affairs. French soldiers propped up the Papal administration in Rome until they were withdrawn at the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War
Franco-Prussian War
The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War, often referred to in France as the 1870 War was a conflict between the Second French Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia. Prussia was aided by the North German Confederation, of which it was a member, and the South German states of Baden, Württemberg and...

 in 1870, leading to the subsequent capture of Rome
Capture of Rome
The Capture of Rome was the final event of the long process of Italian unification known as the Risorgimento, which finally unified the Italian peninsula under King Victor Emmanuel II of the House of Savoy...

 and annexation by the Kingdom of Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

.

According to Raffaele De Cesare:
The Roman question was the stone tied to Napoleon's feet — that dragged him into the abyss. He never forgot, even in August 1870, a month before Sedan, that he was a sovereign of a Catholic country, that he had been made emperor, and was supported by the votes of the conservatives and the influence of the clergy; and that it was his supreme duty not to abandon the pontiff. […] For twenty years Napoleon III had been the true sovereign of Rome, where he had many friends and relations […] Without him the temporal power would never have been reconstituted, nor, being reconstituted, would have endured."

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