The Risorgimento's roots lie in 18th-century Italian culture in the works of such people as Ludovico Antonio Muratori, Vittorio Alfieri, and Antonio Genovesi. Italy had not been a single political unit since the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th cent., and from the 16th through the 18th cent. foreign domination or influence was virtually complete. During the French Revolutionary Wars and the period dominated by Napoleon I, the temporary expulsion of Austrian and other repressive regimes and the formation of new states in Italy (see Cisalpine Republic) encouraged hopes for unification.
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