Fortis, Alessandro

(1842–1909)
   Born in Forli in EmiliaRomagna, as a young man Alessandro Fortis took part in Giuseppe Garibaldi’s campaigns to liberate the Trentino in 1866 and Rome in 1867. Amoderate republican and antimonarchist in his youth, Fortis was elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 1880 and became increasingly connected with Francesco Crispi. He initially served in the government of General Luigi Girolamo Pelloux (June 1898–May 1899) as minister of agriculture but joined his fellow republicans in opposing the restrictions on political activity and free speech proposed by Pelloux. After the turn of the century, Fortis’s ally of choice became Giovanni Giolitti, whose liberal reformism was closest to Fortis’s own political views. When Giolitti’s second administration resigned in March 1905, Fortis followed him as prime minister. His tenure in this office was characterized by a lengthy guerrilla war in Parliament between Fortis and his conservative rival, Sidney Sonnino. Fortis’s plans to introduce a partial nationalization of the railways and to conclude a trade agreement between Italy and Spain that would have slashed Italian tariffs on Spanish wine met with fierce parliamentary and public opposition. The tariff bill was defeated in Parliament, causing Fortis to reshuffle his government in December 1905. His government eventually fell in February 1906, despite Giolitti’s support. Fortis visited Calabria and Sicily in September 1905 to examine firsthand the extent of earthquake damage. Shortly afterward he put forward a special law to aid these regions. This was the first real recognition by the Italian state of the fundamental problems underlying southern underdevelopment. Fortis died in Rome in 1909.

Historical Dictionary of Modern Italy. . 2007.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Fortis, Alessandro — Fortis, Alessandro, ital. Politiker, geb. 1844, studierte Rechtswissenschaft in Pisa, trat dann in Garibaldis Freiwilligenkorps und nahm an dem Kampfe von Mentana 3. Nov. 1867 teil. In die Romagna zurückgekehrt, praktizierte er eine Zeitlang als… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

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