AFTER the failure of 1848 in Italy, the realist, Cavour, in 1852 became Prime Minister of Sardinia under the new king, Victor Emmanuel. He carried out Liberal reforms in that small state, and, in the Crimean War of 1854-56, assisted England and the Emperor of the French, Napoleon III., as Louis Napoleon Bonaparte had become. Napoleon had a quite erroneous theory that the tradition of the great Napoleon demanded the protection of small nationalities, and was anxious to gain reputation by setting up some kind of national state in Italy, provided that it was not strong enough to rival France. An agreement was made in 1858; France and Sardinia were to fight Austria, add Lombardo Venetia to the Kingdom of Sardinia, and form an Italian federation under the presidency of the Pope. France was to receive Savoy and Nice. Next year Cavour goaded Austria into declaring war on Sardinia, to whose help France at once came.

There was a brief campaign in North Italy, but a distaste for carnage was a pleasing trait in Napoleon III., and the effect of the bloody scenes of Solferino was strengthened by Prussian activity on the Rhine. Tuscany and the small duchies of north-central Italy also invited Victor Emmanuel to annex them. This, too, was disconcerting to Napoleon. He abruptly made an armistice with Austria, the terms of peace including the cession to Sardinia of Lombardy, but not of Venice. He obtained Savoy and Nice, and withdrew. Garibaldi then raised a rebellion in the Kingdom of Naples.