Unbounded nationalism: Florence 1867
in States and statistics in the nineteenth century

When Florence hosted the sixth international statistical congress in the autumn of 1867, the city had been the capital of the newly united Italy for just three years. There were to be eight sections of the Florence congress: theory and technology of statistics, topography, agricultural statistics, municipal statistics, monetary statistics, moral and judicial statistics, military statistics and education. The Florentine congress was an opportunity for the liberal elite of the new Italian nation to present themselves to the rest of Europe, and to one another. There was but one outcome to be expected from the study of those historical accounts: a national statistics that would lay the foundation for liberal reform policies. The European ambitions of some of the Italian delegates were a relic of early liberal nationalism but were out of touch with the realism that began to dictate international relations after 1860.

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