King Francis’ regime turned out to be ultra-conservative, indeed reactionary. This political direction, as well as the French Revolution, was also determined by the Jacobin conspiracy of the abbot I. Martinovich, discovered in 1794. The Magyar nobility, jealous of its ancient privileges, tightened around its sovereign, helping him in the French countryside even with its levers en masse. However, the feudal army of 1809 was defeated at Győr by Napoleon’s armies. In the storms of the European wars, the Hungarian national idea, which flared up at the diet of 1790, seemed to have died out. Yet the national movement, supported by the spiritual currents of the new century, did not take long to manifest itself in Hungary as well, but in very different conditions from those that occurred in Western countries. All ‘ Hungary lacked the national dynasty, lacked the court; and absolutism, rejected and defeated by the Hungarians for its anti-national tendencies, had not prepared the modern organs of the nation-state, the modern administration and army, social reforms and favorable economic conditions. Political life did not cease to unfold in the sense of compromise between the dynasty and the nation until 1811, when the diet refused to participate in the stabilization of the monarchy’s currency. The struggle against the financial and military demands of Francis led to a resistance of many committees, which only ceased to the diet of 1825-27. This diet also dealt primarily with the political guarantees of the constitution. From a national point of view, his only notable achievement was the founding of the
The results achieved so far in securing the rights of the national language – the first condition for the creation of a national state – had been of little importance, because the government itself had tried to hinder the solution of this problem.
The beginning of effective reforms, the preparation of the Hungarian nation state is connected with the name of Count S. Széchényi (v.) Who became the initiator of the “era of reforms”, in which the work of diets, accelerated by agitation national, accomplished the creation of the national state of Hungary, despite the tenacious resistance of the government. The diet of 1830 made the knowledge of the Magyar language compulsory for all the employees of the Hungarian kingdom; the diet of 1832-1836 raises its voice in the interests of the subjugated Poles, establishes that the Hungarian text of the laws be regarded as authentic, improves the conditions of the settlers and provides for some complaints from the Protestants. In vain did the government try to hinder the movement of spirits by adopting forceful measures, in vain did he try and convict Baron Nicola Wesselényi, the young lawyer Luigi Kossuth and some enthusiastic young people present at the diet of 1832: the march of the new ideas of liberalism, supported by the enthusiasm of the young generation, proved irresistible. The most fruitful practical reforms, such as the construction of the famous suspension bridge between Buda and Pest, the regulation of the Danube (Iron Gate) and Tisza rivers, etc., were carried out by Széchényi. After 1841, the year in which the such as the construction of the famous suspension bridge between Buda and Pest, the regulation of the rivers Danube (Iron Gate) and Tisza, etc., were carried out by Széchényi. After 1841, the year in which the such as the construction of the famous suspension bridge between Buda and Pest, the regulation of the rivers Danube (Iron Gate) and Tisza, etc., were carried out by Széchényi. After 1841, the year in which the Pesti Hírlap, L. Kossuth’s newspaper, soon became the guiding spirit of the reforms conceived and carried out at an accelerated pace. It was Kossuth’s credit for having conquered the whole nation, all social classes, to the idea of political, social and economic reform.
The diet of 1839-40 establishes the optional redemption of colonial lands, creates commercial courts to enliven the commercial and industrial field and gives the task of drawing up a new penal code. The diet of 1843-44 grants the colonists the right to own properties already owned by the nobles and to occupy jobs, definitively provides for the complaints of Protestants and makes the Magyar language the official language of the state. In homage to the victorious progress of the national ideal, the Protecting Society of Industry, founded in 1845, tends to make Hungarian economic life independent from that of Austria, the ideas of customs duties for protectionist purposes are propagated and the construction of the first railways based on a general project.
Except that the same ideas that had determined the national movement of the Magyars in the framework of European evolution, provoked, with a certain delay, national movements also within the minorities living in the Carpathian basin. Slovak and Romanian writers take an anti-magic attitude; the conflict between Magyars and Croats takes on a threatening aspect, when the followers of “Illyrianism”, the Pan-Slav theory created by L. Gaj to propagate the idea of national unity of the Southern Slavs, set about educating the Croatian youth in hatred of the Magyars.
Upon hearing of the French revolution of February 1848, the liberal party, led by L. Kossuth on the diet of 1847-48, thought the time had come to give substance to the great national desires, which were partly realized by the superb demonstration of the youth of Pest, March 15, 1848, for the freedom of the press. Dream of Kossuth and of the parliament was the national and constitutional state of Hungary, whose constitution should have had a guarantee in the constitutional institutions of Austria.
The laws sanctioned on 11 April 1848 entrusted the executive power in the hands of a responsible ministry; they established the union of Transylvania with Hungary; they restored to the nobility the right of free disposal of their lands, proclaimed the freedom of thought; finally, they ordered that the feudal lands should pass into the property of the colonists, for the moment without any positive indemnity.
However, resistance soon arose against the new national state, both from minorities and from that of the Viennese statesmen, who remained faithful to the concept of a centralized monarchy. The Croats led by the bano G. Jellačić, while maintaining formal ties with the Hungarian state, required an independent state life. The “independent nationality”, that is the formation of an independent territory within the framework of the state of Hungary, was requested by the Serbs, encouraged by the emissaries who came from the principality of Serbia. The leaders of the Slovak movement, who had previously participated in the congress of the Pan-Slavs in Prague, also turned to the government in Vienna. Finally, the leaders of the Dacoromeno movement who requested independent Romanian nationality and who proposed to fight against the union of Transylvania with Hungary, did not hesitate to affirm their loyal loyalty to the dynasty, because this union would reduce the Romanian element to a simple minority while in the great principality it had achieved an absolute majority. Liberal ideas that promised equal rights to every citizen, regardless of his status and nationality, were therefore not strong enough to prevent the escalation of nationalist tendencies. These movements became valuable allies of those Vienna statesmen who could not resign themselves to the idea of an independent Hungarian state life, especially in regard to military and financial affairs.