The Parliament and the army – the legal bases for military organization in 1848–1849
Even though the April laws, which paved the way for a bourgeois transition in Hungary, did not contain specifically military laws, the legal bases for a new type of army to defend the revolution were established. Declared rebellious (and its commanders were even accused of high treason during the military tribunal trials) by the imperial leadership, the army fighting the war of independence had a strong legal basis thanks to the lawmaking activity of the Hungarian parliament. This fact became an extremely important factor in the success of military organization as, by emphasizing legality, the Hungarian government could efficiently use the administration it inherited to put its resolutions into effect. This is how it became possible to utilize the expertise and experiences of even those officials who did not sympathize with the cause of the revolution. The paper describes this process, outlining the background to the decisions, with a focus on the pressure to adjust to the rapidly changing circumstances and on the maintenance of the possibility of a compromise by Hungarian politics. It will distinguish three levels in this process. First, the laws which had already existed before or were sanctioned on 11 April 1848, the overwhelming majority of which only touched upon military matters. But it was by explaining the articles of these, by considerably extending their interpretation and by occasionally utilizing legal loopholes that the government ensured the effective fulfillment of national defense tasks. Second, the bill legally accepted by the parliament but not sanctioned due to the unfavorable turn of external circumstances, yet with reference to the extraordinary situation put into effect by the government, with the support of the parliament and without the ruler’s sanction. Third, those resolutions of the parliament, which authorized the government to introduce regulations and had them executed. The significance of these grew especially when the chances for a compromise had already faded. According to the paper, all the three components of the national defense army (the inherited regular troops, the volunteers and the rank and file majority), which was becoming a mass army while fulfilling the requirements of regularity, became part of the revolutionary army in a legally regulated way.
The first parliamentary representatives and the beginnings of representation in Hungary
The paper seeks to answer the question: to what extent can the election year of 1865 can be regarded as a turning point in the history of Hungarian parliamentarism? How did the national representative assemblies of 1848–1849 and 1861 relate to the parliaments of the dual monarchy? So the main subject of the paper is continuity, which it attempts to examine from several viewpoints. The first part focuses on the effects of the 1848 suffrage reforms. Mainly because both Hungarian and foreign literature on parliamentarism interpret these as a turning point, and there is a notably great interest in the impact the reforms had on the composition of the political elite. The relevant literature usually considers the suffrage reforms a starting point for its examination when it looks at the continuity and discontinuity between these periods. The second major element of the work comprise an analysis of the representatives of the parliaments of 1848–1849 and 1861. In this part, the author primarily wants to highlight the percentage of those persons elected in the given cycles who had also participated in the feudal diets or in the first assembly of representatives. Accordingly, it describes the involvement of representatives, who had participated in both parliaments, in the parliament of the dual monarchy. The third part of the work will examine continuity from the viewpoint of sources dating from the period of the parliamentary session of 1861. Using complaints related to the parliamentary election, it tries to analyze how contemporaries looked at the 1848 antecedents.
Voters, voter turnout and voter behavior in Székely Land during the dual monarchy
The paper focuses on the voters, the voter turnout and behavior in the era of the dual monarchy in Székely Land, one of the peripheral regions of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. Székely Land was, for several reasons, a special territory on the electoral map of Hungary at the time. On the one hand, the characteristics of those having the right to vote differentiated it from the other regions as it was here that the percentage of persons voting by their “hereditary rights” was the highest in the country, and this remained decisive until the end of the era despite that fact that their number was decreasing gradually. But due to the poverty of the population and the higher census in Transylvania, there was no “new blood” as a result of which the number of voters started falling, so much so that by the beginning of the 20th century it had reached levels below the national average. If the number of voters were gradually decreasing voter turnout had increased by the beginning of the 20th century, though this was observed in the whole of Transylvania so we cannot attribute it simply to the fact that with the disappearance of those voting by hereditary rights votes became more and more valuable. Status-consciousness probably influenced voter turnout significantly: for the decreasing number of voters it must have been important to emphasize that they had a word in politics as a result of which active participation was more and more becoming the norm. We can also observe that close election results and the number of voters did influence turnout. Yet it is difficult to decide to what extent the growth of electoral corruption, intensifying political debates or the growth of polarization played a role. As far as party affiliation was concerned, in Székely Land the advances of proindependence opposition arrived late in comparison to the other territories, mostly inhabited by Hungarians, it is detectable from 1905 only, though the picture had been much more diversified previously than in other parts of Transylvania. As to the other phenomenon examined in the paper, the percentage of “stranger” representatives: following the Transylvanian towns, the constituencies in Székely Land had the second highest percentage of elected representatives not connected in any way to the electoral district or even to Transylvania. It was in the constituencies where pro-government representatives were elected that the percentage of stranger representatives with weak bonds to the area was the highest, and vice versa.
The party affiliation and the social background of parliamentary representatives in Debrecen, Nagyvárad and their common metropolitan area in the age of the dual monarchy
The paper–like the research work preceding it–covers the analysis of the party affiliation and the social background of representatives elected between 1865 and 1918 in Debrecen (electoral district 1, 2, 3), Nagyvárad and the constituencies found in the common metropolitan area of the towns (based on their seats, the constituencies of Hajdúszoboszló, Berettyóújfalu, Buhar, Hosszúpály, Margitta and Székelyhíd). To quantify it, it examines the data of fourteen general elections and several by-elections–altogether 160 parliamentary seats won–from ten electoral districts. Despite the fact that the research focused on the election history of a clearly definable region of the historical kingdom of Hungary, the data was not analyzed and processed from a strictly local historical perspective but rather with the view to putting it into a national context. Beyond the main goals, the paper also answers questions such as: how typical was it of the constituencies to elect local politicians? We also analyze the education and previous work experience of politicians. Using a historical analysis both on a regional and national level, we do not just get a mosaic-like overview of the political and social characteristics of candidates elected in the electoral districts, but we also analyze the collected data in comparison to each other in the entire region in question, and examine them in comparison to the other towns or county districts of the country. Thus the conclusions drawn are not only interesting from a regional point of view, but they can also contribute to a better understanding of nationwide electoral tendencies in the era of the dual monarchy.
Fight in the arena. The role of violence in Hungarian parliamentary politics during the dual monarchy
The paper seeks to answer the following questions. Can the change observed by the people living at the time, namely that parliamentary politics became more violent in the decades following the Austro-Hungarian compromise of 1867, be proven? And if so, what factors can explain this, and to what extent can it be regarded as a typical Hungarian phenomenon? First, the author analyzes the criminal offenses committed by the members of parliament, looking at the growing number of immunity cases. He points out that during the five decades examined it was mainly the number of duels as well as cases of defamation and slander that increased, which is attributable to political fights getting more intense on the one hand, and to the structural transformation of publicity and the change of how politicians worked on the other. Then, using hitherto unexploited sources, the author presents those turning points in the history of the Hungarian Parliament, which indicate significant changes related to the extent of public aggression. In the life of the Hungarian house of representatives violence manifested itself in rather diverse forms: from verbal aggression (such as using expression of insult) through various obstruction techniques (making a noise, shouting, obstructing clerks, etc.) to physical violence (fight, damaging) and even attempted murder. Finally, the author points out that we can observe similar phenomena in other European countries as well, but there physical violence mostly remained outside the walls of the parliament (for example, demonstrations, assassinations) and the perpetrators were usually not members of the political elite. But in the two capitals of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy violent obstruction paralyzing legislative work was strikingly common. In Vienna and Budapest–even though for different cases, but ultimately due to the incapability of the political system to undergo reforms–verbal and physical violence became an organic part of parliamentary politics. We can observe deep mistrust among the different political groups, and, at the turn of the century, it was already the inability to compromise that paralyzed the operation of the two legislative assemblies.
The gallows tree instead of a leading role: the political metamorphosis of Count Ödön Zichy
On 29 September 1848, Count Ödön Zichy was arrested by the Hunyadi irregular soldiers in the outskirts of Soponya. As they found a safe-conduct issued by Jellachich and some manifestos on him, Artúr Görgei had him brought to trial before the military tribunal and, on the basis of his sentence for high treason, had him hanged on 30 September at Lórév on Csepel island. The first half of the paper makes an attempt to answer the question: was the secret police wrong in 1840 to proclaim Ödön Zichy one of the leaders of the magnates’ opposition? Or did his activity in parliament justify this claim? Following his political career up to this point, the paper declares that it was not a misinterpretation. Ödön Zichy became one of the most prominent figures of the noble opposition that developed into an organized group during the 1839–1840 parliamentary session. There is no doubt about his powerful oppositionist stance and anti-absolutism. He had most probably accepted and internalized the thought of civil reforms and moderate liberalism, though he could only imagine this, in contrast to the democratic ideas, with the leadership of the aristocracy. The second half of the paper examines the reasons that led Ödön Zichy, who was appointed főispán (governor) and administrator in 1845, to take a completely different political course. It will be argued that the cornerstone of his political metamorphosis was the rise of Lajos Kossuth and the consequent failure of aristocratic reforms. After the debate launched by Pesti Hírlap everybody had to take sides, and Zichy chose to step back. In Fejér county, the Madarász brothers, who slightly went beyond liberalism and were also open to democracy, provided a grounding for justifying the necessity of self-confidently and resolutely countering radicals. Then came the scandalous general assembly on 3 May 1843, followed by mutual accusations between Ödön Zichy and László Madarász, from which point there was no way back. Zichy became more and more estranged from his previous views and ideals. Previously, his political attitude could be characterized by such terms as radical oppositionist, aristocratic, moderate liberal. Of these, only aristocratic remained, and even that turned into aristocratic, pro-government conservatism. Ödön Zichy’s career and the history of the metamorphosis, metamorphoses of his political views not only provides us with an exciting personality portrait but may also serve as an addition to the understanding of the restructuring of politics at the beginning of the 1840s.
The council of ministers and the appointment of Catholic bishops in Hungary, Transylvania, the Banat of Temesvár and the Serbian Voivodeship II, 1851–1852
In 1851-52, the Church’s political environment in which bishops were appointed was radically transformed. In the hereditary lands growing attention was paid to the support of the new Church policy when bishops were appointed. However, Hungarian bishops protested against the curbing of their primate rights and were against the plan to extend the effect of a future concordat to Hungary as well. Leo Thun, the Minister of Education, who took over Church politics from Interior Minister Alexander Bach, tried to extend his leeway by involving more and more Hungarian bishops in the nomination process. This left less leeway for Archbishop of Esztergom János Scitovszky, who had previously cooperated with the Interior Minister. In the case of the four examined appointments from 1851, Austrian politicians were looking for “strong personalities” capable of suppressing the elements sympathizing with the 1848-49 War of Independence in their diocese. At the same time, the appointment of Lajos Haynald as Bishop of Transylvania revealed the dangers inherent in this politics: the rejection of the war of independence did not automatically mean the simultaneous rejection of Hungarian constitutionalism. In 1852, the appointment process became almost unfathomable due to the large number of candidates. It is interesting that the Hungarian governor gradually lost his influence on the nomination process. The bishops appointed in 1852 were unconditionally loyal to the court, but at least one such ordinary was also appointed whose activity in 1848 was not to their satisfaction (Ignác Fábry, bishop of Kassa). And the conservative Bishop of Szombathely, Ferenc Szenczy did not just reject Austrian Church politics in the 1850s, but he was apparently very happy to visit the parliament in 1861.