The End-of-Century Crisis in Italy and France: Judges, Politicians, and Human Rights

Rights and Freedoms
By Maria Malatesta

The fin de siècle crisis in Italy and France : judges, politicians and human rights.

At the end of the nineteenth century France and Italy were affected by a deep institutional crisis. Even if strong differences separated the two crises, nevertheless they were connected by considerable similarities. First of all, the Dreyfus Affair and the Italian government’s repressive policy represented an assault against human and civil rights, so that during the 1890s the judiciary played a crucial role in each country. Secondly, both crises became a chance to elaborate a new human right culture. However, according to the national context, there were different results. The birth of the Ligue des droits de l’homme gave evidence this culture was embedded in French society; Italian society, on the contrary, was unable to sustain the efforts made by a brave group of radical and socialist members of the Parliament who struggled against the government in defense of human and civil rights.


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