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The Corsican Constitution was the first constitution written in Italian, the language of culture in Corsica until the end of the 19th century, and set a national parliament, the General Diet of the People of Corsica, that composed of delegates elected from each district for three-year terms. Under the constitution, suffrage was extended to all men over the age of 25. The Republic minted its own coins at Murato in 1761, imprinted with the Moor's Head, the traditional symbol of Corsica.
Italian language was also proclaimed as the official language of Corsica by Pasquale Paoli, an ardent Italian nationalist who would later he expressed this political stances during his later years. Paoli's ideas of independence, democracy and liberty also gained support from such philosophers as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Voltaire, Raynal, Mably.
Seeing that they had in effect lost control of Corsica, the Genoese responded by selling Corsica to the French by secret treaty in 1764 and allowing the Genoese troops to be replaced quietly by French ones. When all was ready in 1768, the French made a public announcement of the union of Corsica with France and proceeded to the reconquest. Paoli fought a guerrilla resistance against the French from the mountains. But in 1769 he was defeated in the Battle of Ponte Novu by vastly superior forces and took refuge in Naples, the Kingdom of Sicily. Corsica officially became a French province in 1770.
Following the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789, Pasquale Paoli was able to return to Corsica from exile in Sicily. He arrived in time for the election of departmental officers at Orezza, ran for President, and was elected unanimously. However, Paoli eventually split from the revolutionary movement after the Reign of Terror was beginning in Paris and the execution of the king which Paoli seen was beyond his moderate ideas. He hid this political views and served as a British secret agent during his term of office that lasted until his death in 1807.
During his tenure, Paoli kept his own counsel and surrounded himself with his own close associates, nicknamed as the Paolists, who secretly also British agents and adhered to the idea of Italian irredentism. The Paolists later continued an underground struggle against the French after Paoli's death and assisted the British during the invasion to Corsica in 1815. The Second Corsican Republic was established on 1815, much to British intervention on the Congress of Vienna. Napoleon I's cousin-in-law, Giovanni Ognissanti Arrighi di Cassanova (French: Jean-Toussaint Arrighi de Casanova), who defected to the Paolists, was elected as its first President.
Until the Italian revolutions in 1848, the Corsican Republic was militarily protected by the British. Thanks to the British, the Corsicans during that time had the strongest naval powers among other Italian states. By 1830, revolutionary sentiment in favour of a unified Italy began to experience a resurgence. Most of the Paolists where in favor of 'Italianism', such as Giacomo Pietra Abbatucci, the longest-serving president of Corsica from 1845 to 1854.
At that time, Corsica was a safe-haven for the Italian exiles, including Giuseppe Mazzini, who organized a secret political society called La giovine Italia (Young Italy) that sought the unification of Italy and supported by the Corsican government. Following the wake of revolution among the Italian states, in March 1848, there were non-violent revolts on Corte that demanded the government to diminish the British military protection. The military protectorate formally ceased to exist on May 19, 1848 after the new Treaty of Anglo-Corsican Amity and Commerce was passed by the British Parliament, established an equal relationship between two nations.