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Ioannis Kapodistrias: An attempt at a historical biography



Ioannis Kapodistrias: An attempt at a historical biography


1 December 2022


It may be that the way that Ioannis Kapodistrias thought and acted as governor of Greece, that almost everything had to be done from the beginning following a strictly hierarchical course that would be directly controlled by him, seems today to us, who have the later knowledge, realistic, in some even right, especially if we look at how minor or major issues were handled by those who ruled the country afterwards. But we must not ignore that, in the Kapodistrian years, although the armed struggle had gradually ended, the revolutionary spirit and the expectations it created were still strong, however shallow some of them might have been. Those who opposed the governor were not only exploiters of the common people and instruments of the foreign agent, as he and his followers emphasised, but many of them had envisioned another post-revolutionary society, a liberal one, in the design of which they hoped to take an active part. They could therefore not tolerate the authoritarian and strictly hierarchical Kapodistrian model of organisation of the new state.

However, if we focus only on Kapodistrias’ really conservative political choices and do not see the important work he accomplished or tried to accomplish for the organization of the Greek state, we would be giving a partial picture of a complex reality. This picture would be even more incomplete if we did not see the motives and practices of those who disagreed with him, opposed him, and some of them murdered him. Those who, for various reasons, opposed him did not hesitate, in order to secure his removal from power, to accept without protest any decisions of the Powers, to aid the constant English effort to undermine the governor, to resort to baseless accusations and slander. The assassination relieved those who feared any form of extension of Kapodistrias’ power, but it plunged the country into civil war and disrepute, which perhaps only he still had the ability, by making some concessions, to prevent.”

(Edited and translated blurb from publisher’s website)

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