Appointed secretary to Garibaldi, Crispi secured the resignation of Depretis, whom Garibaldi had appointed pro-dictator, and would have continued his fierce opposition to Cavour at Naples, where he had been placed by Garibaldi in the foreign office, had not the advent of the Italian regular troops and the annexation of the Two Sicilies to Italy brought about Garibaldi's withdrawal to Caprera and Crispi's own resignation.
The death of Ratazzi in 1873 induced Crispi's friends to put forward his candidature to the leadership of the Left; but Crispi, anxious to reassure the crown, secured the election of Depretis.
The statesmanlike qualities displayed on this occasion were unavailing to avert the storm of indignation conjured up by Crispi's opponents in connexion with a charge of bigamy not susceptible of legal proof.
Crispi's uncompromising suppression of disorder, and his refusal to abandon either the Triple Alliance or the Eritrean colony, or to forsake his colleague Sonnino, caused a breach between him and the radical leader Cavallotti.
An unsuccessful attempt upon Crispi's life by the anarchist Lega brought a momentary truce, but Cavallotti's attacks were soon renewed more fiercely than ever.
The AustroGerman-Italian triple alliance was a dire blow to his expectations, and Crispi's policy with its irritating and galling pin-pricks caused the cup to overflow.