Prior to unification, the Italian peninsula was made up of a consortium of fragmented states which were conquered and rebuilt as republics by the French but were later vanquished by the Russian and Austrian armies. The first development of republics in these disjointed states introduced the idea of a government and society that provided freedom and equality. This revolution instilled in the populace the need to focus on nationalism. This growing sense of nationalism led to the eventual unification. The Italian Unification earned Italy its independence and built its capacity to influence regional politics. Italy as a unified state had the capacity to build its armies to protect its sovereignty. A unified Italy developed its ability and capacity to trade with other nations and even build relations with nations such as the United States who offered citizenship and immigration opportunities.
A unified Italy, along with Germany, which unified a few years later, permanently altered the strategic dynamic on continental Europe. On the one hand, Italy never became the dominant military power that Germany, unfied under Prussia, did. But on the other, Italy posed a threat on Austria-Hungary's southern flank, and its independence ended hundreds of years of French involvement with the politics on the peninsula. Though they fought unification on the battlefields, Austria almost immediately made overtures to Italy, who joined them in the Triple Alliance in 1882. The unification preceded a degree of cultural unity, as regions of the nation that previously had almost nothing in common with each other found themselves under the same political head.