The Statuto was proclaimed only because of concern at the revolutionary insurrection then agitating Italy. Charles Albert was only following the example of other Italian rulers, but it was the only constitution to survive the repression that followed the First War of Independence (1848–1849). The Statuto remained the basis of the legal system even after Italian unification was achieved in 1861 and the Kingdom of Sardinia became the Kingdom of Italy. Even though it suffered deep modifications, especially during the fascist dictatorship of Benito Mussolini (who, however, ruled with the tacit approval of King Victor Emmanuel III), it was never formally abrogated until Italy became a republic in 1948.
In its original version it instituted a Parliament composed of the Senate of the Kingdom entirely nominated by the king and an elected House of Deputies. The King retained extensive powers, as shown in Article 5: