Giovanni Giolitti
Overview
 
Giovanni Giolitti was an Italian
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...

 statesman. He was the 19th, 25th, 29th, 32nd and 37th Prime Minister of Italy
Prime minister of Italy
The Prime Minister of Italy is the head of government of the Italian Republic...

 between 1892 and 1921. A left-wing liberal, Giolitti's periods in office were notable for the passage of a wide range of progressive social reforms which improved the living standards of ordinary Italians. together with the enactment of several policies of government intervention.
Quotations

Per i nemici le leggi si applicano, per gli amici si interpretano.

Laws are applied to enemies, but only interpreted as regards friends.

Encyclopedia
Giovanni Giolitti was an Italian
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...

 statesman. He was the 19th, 25th, 29th, 32nd and 37th Prime Minister of Italy
Prime minister of Italy
The Prime Minister of Italy is the head of government of the Italian Republic...

 between 1892 and 1921. A left-wing liberal, Giolitti's periods in office were notable for the passage of a wide range of progressive social reforms which improved the living standards of ordinary Italians. together with the enactment of several policies of government intervention. Besides putting in place several tariffs, subsidies and government projects, Giolitti also nationalized the private phone and railroad operators. Liberal proponents of free trade
Free trade
Under a free trade policy, prices emerge from supply and demand, and are the sole determinant of resource allocation. 'Free' trade differs from other forms of trade policy where the allocation of goods and services among trading countries are determined by price strategies that may differ from...

 criticized the "Giolittian System," although Giolitti himself saw the development of the "national economy" as essential in the "production of wealth." He is the second-longest serving Prime Minister in Italian history, after Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

.

Biography

Giolitti was born at Mondovì
Mondovì
Mondovì is a town and comune of Piedmont, northern Italy, located c. 80 km from Turin....

 (Piedmont
Piedmont
Piedmont is one of the 20 regions of Italy. It has an area of 25,402 square kilometres and a population of about 4.4 million. The capital of Piedmont is Turin. The main local language is Piedmontese. Occitan is also spoken by a minority in the Occitan Valleys situated in the Provinces of...

). After a rapid career in the financial administration he was, in 1882, appointed councillor of state and elected to the Chamber of Deputies (the lower house
Lower house
A lower house is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the upper house.Despite its official position "below" the upper house, in many legislatures worldwide the lower house has come to wield more power...

 of Parliament
Parliament of Italy
The Parliament of Italy is the national parliament of Italy. It is a bicameral legislature with 945 elected members . The Chamber of Deputies, with 630 members is the lower house. The Senate of the Republic is the upper house and has 315 members .Since 2005, a party list electoral law is being...

). As deputy he chiefly acquired prominence by attacks on Magliani, treasury minister in the Depretis cabinet, and on 9 March 1889 was himself selected as treasury minister by Prime Minister Crispi
Francesco Crispi
Francesco Crispi was a 19th-century Italian politician of Arbëreshë ancestry. He was instrumental in the unification of Italy and was its 17th and 20th Prime Minister from 1887 until 1891 and again from 1893 until 1896.-Sicily:Crispi’s paternal family came originally from the small agricultural...

. On the fall of the di Rudinì
Antonio Starabba, Marchese di Rudinì
Marquis Antonio Starabba di Rudinì was the 18th and 21st Prime Minister of Italy between 1891 and 1892 and from 1896 until 1898.-Biography:...

 cabinet in May 1892, Giolitti, with the help of a court clique, succeeded to the premiership.

Giolitti's first term as Prime Minister
Prime minister
A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

 (1892–1893) was marked by misfortune and misgovernment. The building crisis and the commercial rupture with France had impaired the situation of the state banks, of which one, the Banca Romana, had been further undermined by maladministration. A bank law passed by Giolitti failed to effect an improvement. Moreover, he irritated public opinion by raising to senatorial rank the director-general of the Banca Romana, Bernardo Tanlongo, whose irregular practices had become a byword. The senate declined to admit Tanlongo, whom Giolitti, in consequence of an interpellation in parliament upon the condition of the Banca Romana, was obliged to arrest and prosecute. During the prosecution Giolitti abused his position as premier to abstract documents bearing on the case.

Simultaneously a parliamentary commission of inquiry investigated the condition of the state banks. Its report, though acquitting Giolitti of personal dishonesty, proved disastrous to his political position, and the ensuing Banca Romana scandal
Banca Romana scandal
The Banca Romana scandal surfaced January 1893. The scandal was the first of many Italian corruption scandals, and, like the others, it discredited the whole political system....

 obliged him to resign. His fall left the finances of the state disorganized, the pensions fund depleted, diplomatic relations with France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 strained in consequence of the massacre of Italian workmen at Aigues-Mortes
Aigues-Mortes
Aigues-Mortes is a commune in the Gard department in southern France.The medieval city walls surrounding the city are well preserved.-History:...

, and a state of revolt in the Lunigiana
Lunigiana
The Lunigiana is an historical territory of Italy, which today falls within the provinces of La Spezia and Massa Carrara. Its borders derive from the ancient Roman settlement, later the medieval diocese of Luni, which no longer exists....

 and by the Fasci Siciliani
Fasci Siciliani
The Fasci Siciliani, short for Fasci Siciliani dei Lavoratori , were a popular movement of democratic and socialist inspiration, which arose in Sicily in the years between 1889 and 1894...

 in Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

, which he had proved impotent to suppress.

After his resignation Giolitti was impeached for abuse of power as minister, but the Constitutional Court
Constitutional Court of Italy
The Constitutional Court of Italy is a supreme court of Italy, the other being the Court of Cassation. Sometimes the name Consulta is used as a metonym for it, because its sessions are held in Palazzo della Consulta in Rome....

 quashed the impeachment by denying the competence of the ordinary tribunals to judge ministerial acts. For several years he was compelled to play a passive part, having lost all credit. But by keeping in the background and giving public opinion time to forget his past, as well as by parliamentary intrigue, he gradually regained much of his former influence. He made capital of the Socialist
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 agitation and of the repression to which other statesmen resorted, and gave the agitators to understand that were he premier they would be allowed a free hand. Thus he gained their favour, and on the fall of the Pelloux
Luigi Pelloux
Luigi Gerolamo Pelloux was an Italian general and politician, born of parents who retained their Italian nationality when Savoy was annexed to France....

 cabinet in 1900 he became minister of the Interior in Zanardelli
Giuseppe Zanardelli
Giuseppe Zanardelli was an Italian jurisconsult, nationalist and political figure. He was the 24th Prime Minister of Italy from February 15, 1901 to November 3, 1903.-Biography:...

's administration, of which he was the real head.

His policy of never interfering in strikes and leaving even violent demonstrations undisturbed at first proved successful, but indiscipline and disorder grew to such a pitch that Zanardelli, already in bad health, resigned, and Giolitti succeeded him as prime minister (November 1903). But during his second tenure as Prime Minister (1903–1905) he, too, had to resort to strong measures in repressing some serious disorders in various parts of Italy, and thus he lost the favour of the Socialists. In March 1905, feeling himself no longer secure, he resigned, indicating Fortis
Alessandro Fortis
Alessandro Fortis in Forlì, Papal States was an Italian politician who served as the 27th Prime Minister of Italy from 1905 to 1906....

 as his successor. When Sonnino
Sidney Sonnino
Baron Sidney Costantino Sonnino was an Italian politician.Sonnino was born in Pisa to an Italian father of Jewish heritage and a Welsh mother...

 became premier in February 1906, Giolitti did not openly oppose him, but his followers did, and Sonnino was defeated in May, Giolitti becoming Prime Minister once more (1906–1909).

Giolitti returned to office as Italian Prime Minister from 1911 to 1914. During this time, he bowed to nationalist pressure and fought the controversial Italo-Turkish War
Italo-Turkish War
The Italo-Turkish or Turco-Italian War was fought between the Ottoman Empire and the Kingdom of Italy from September 29, 1911 to October 18, 1912.As a result of this conflict, Italy was awarded the Ottoman provinces of Tripolitania, Fezzan, and...

 which made Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

 an Italian colony. He opposed Italy's entry into World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 in 1915 on the grounds that Italy was militarily unprepared. He became Prime Minister for the last time from 1920-1921 during Italy's "red years," when fear of a communist takeover led the political establishment to tolerate the rise of the fascists. Giolitti enjoyed the support of the fascist squadristi and did not try to stop their forceful takeovers of city and regional government or their violence against their political opponents.

When Mussolini marched on Rome, Giolitti was on vacation in France and no longer prime minister. He supported Mussolini's government initially, sharing the widespread hope of that the fascists would become a more moderate and responsible party upon taking power, but withdrew his support in 1924. He remained in Parliament until his death in 1928.

Antonio Giolitti
Antonio Giolitti
Antonio Giolitti was an Italian politician and cabinet member. He is the grandson of Giovanni Giolitti, well-known liberal statesman of the prefascist period.-Biography:Giolitti was born in Rome....

, the post-War leftist politician, was his grandson.
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