The Revolution of Naples of 1848. Sources
and Methods for the Study of Political Participation
The essay reflects on the political mobilization in Naples during the revolution of 1848. The historiography on the Risorgimento has paid scarce attention to this theme, considering Neapolitan street politics lacking of a massive popular participation. With the aim to retrieve the large extent of the Neapolitan «square», and to explain how it was able to influence the revolutionary government, this study focuses on the real meaning of the word «participation» as perceived by the mid-nineteenth century observers. First, the police registers, the coeval journals and memorials will be analyzed to demonstrate how common opinion considered liberals or liberal supporters, including not only those who demonstrated and wrote of politics, but a larger part of the urban society traditionally considered as passive: the observers of the demonstrations, the readers of liberal journals and people talking informally about the revolution in coffeehouses and in the streets. Secondly, in order to show how many urban groups alien to the political debates were involved into the revolution and finally participate to it, the specific case of the national guard will be illustrated.