The weakness of the government in dealing with the strike riots caused a feeling of profound dissatisfaction, and the so-called experiment of liberty, conducted with the object of conciliating the extreme parties, proved a dismal failure.
The opportunity thus given for debate naturally stimulated the movement in favour of constitutional government, which received new impulses from the sympathetic attitude of the emperor Alexander II., his grant in 1879 of a constitution to the liberated principality of Bulgaria, and the multiplication of Nihilist outrages which pointed to the necessity of conciliating Liberal opinion in order to present a united front against revolutionary agitation.
Seen in the situation an opportunity at once for conciliating the clericals in France and for humiliating Russia, which had given to his title but an equivocal recognition.
He based his foreign policy on alliance with Florence and France, and directed the internal affairs of the state by means of the council (collegio) of the balia, which, although occasionally reorganized for the purpose of conciliating rival factions, was always subject to his will.
But the exclusion of Gregoire from the chamber and the changes in the franchise embittered the Radicals without conciliating the "Ultras."