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Austro-German liberalism and Bohemian state rights, 1861-1879

Kwan, Jonathan



This article aims to investigate the viewpoint of the Austro-German liberal movement – both ideologically and practically – towards the arguments for Bohemian state rights made by the conservative Bohemian Great Landowners and Czech political parties in the period from 1861 to 1879. The February Patent of 1861 is a convenient starting point because it reintroduced representative bodies and facilitated the development of modern democratic politics. The 1879 parliamentary elections constituted a significant turning point in Austrian and Bohemian politics since the Austro-German liberals lost the majority in the central parliament while the conservative Bohemian and Czech parties attended parliament after a sixteen-year absence and joined the conservative-Slav coalition supporting the government.

The principal argument is that while the Austro-German liberals (particularly the Bohemian-German faction) were generally opposed to Bohemian state rights, this must be qualified by the genuine desire for compromise (under certain conditions) and the considerable tactical flexibility. Moreover, the wider Imperial context must always be kept in mind when analyzing the events and opinions. Chronologically, the article focuses on key parliamentary debates to illustrate the changing relations: the fluid 1860s, the crucial period from 1867 to 1871 (when there was a real possibility of a form of Bohemian state rights) through to the turning point of 1879.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 1, 2016
Online Publication Date Jan 1, 2016
Publication Date Jan 1, 2016
Deposit Date Jun 7, 2016
Journal Stred/Centre. Journal for Interdisciplinary Studies of Central Europe in the 19th and 20th Centuries
Electronic ISSN 1803-9243
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 8
Issue 1
Pages 109-150
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