Volume 5 Issue 1 2016

“Continuities and Discontinuities:
Political Thought in the Habsburg Empire in the Long Nineteenth Century”

Volume 4 Issue 3

Ferenc Hörcher and Kálmán Pócza
Special Editors of the Thematic Issue



Martyn Rady

Nonnisi in sensu legum? Decree and Rendelet in Hungary (1790–1914)



The Hungarian “constitution” was never balanced, for its sovereigns possessed a supervisory jurisdiction that permitted them to legislate by decree, mainly by using patents and rescripts. Although the right to proceed by decree was seldom abused by Hungary’s Habsburg rulers, it permitted the monarch on occasion to impose reforms in defiance of the Diet. Attempts undertaken in the early 1790s to hem in the ruler’s power by making the written law both fixed and comprehensive were unsuccessful. After 1867, the right to legislate by decree was assumed by Hungary’s government, and ministerial decree or “rendelet” was used as a substitute for parliamentary legislation. Not only could rendelets be used to fill in gaps in parliamentary legislation, they could also be used to bypass parliament and even to countermand parliamentary acts, sometimes at the expense of individual rights. The tendency remains in Hungary for its governments to use discretionary administrative instruments as a substitute for parliamentary legislation.
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Ferenc Hörcher

Enlightened Reform or National Reform? The Continuity Debate about the Hungarian Reform Era and the Example of the Two Széchenyis (1790–1848)



This paper returns to the problem of how to interpret the Reform Era, a constant issue of Hungarian historiography since the 1840s. While most master narratives continue, even today, to repeat that it actually began in 1830, there are compelling arguments that in fact the reform programs of the 1830s were deeply rooted in the earlier movements of the 1790s, or even in Joseph II’s reforms of the 1780s.
The paper offers an overview of some of the latest trends in the research of the problem (in the writings of Károly Kecskeméti and Gábor Vermes, viewed from the perspective of Ambrus Miskolczy), as well as a reconstruction of the ways in which contemporaries saw the issue during the Reform Era. In the second part, it compares two important aristocratic protagonists of the age, father and son, Counts Ferenc Széchényi and István Széchenyi. It will show that there are indeed close links between these two people, including their plans for reform and their anglophile political attitudes. As both of them played major roles in their own time and were often regarded as heroes by members of their respective societies, if the link between them is strong enough, their example can presumably be used as an argument for the continuity thesis between the two reform generations of the period, and thereby for an interpretation of the Reform Era in the context of the late Enlightenment..
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Áron Kovács

Continuity and Discontinuity in Transylvanian Romanian Thought: An Analysis of Four Bishopric Pleas from the Period between 1791 and 1842



Based on the analysis of four Romanian bishopric pleas, the article examines the connection between the reform movements of the 1790s and 1830s. The subject of the analysis is the political and intellectual-historical background of the 1791 Supplex Libellus Valachorum and the pleas of 1834, 1838 and 1842, with particular focus on how the authors of the pleas formulated their concepts of the future and the relationship between the pleas and concepts of natural law.
If one examines the pleas side by side, the key concept in each of them, with the exception of the plea of 1838, was repositioning (reponere, repositione, repunere), but the meaning of this concept changed significantly over time. In the case of the Supplex Libellus Valachorum, the argumentation based on social contracts and the customary law definition of feudal rights was replaced with a positive legal argumentation built on actual acts of laws. On the other hand, in the plea of 1838 the concept of handling nations as living beings is unmistakably recognizable, together with the idea of their rise through civilization and culture. This change of paradigms caused a change in the aims of the pleas as well. Eventually, their main aim was not merely to secure rights, but to establish auspicious circumstances for the development of a nation conceived of as a living being. The goal became to prepare for cultural development and establish the conditions necessary for culture to flourish. Thus, although at first glance the argumentations of the documents seem to have a lot in common, in fact one can clearly discern how the community-related concepts of Transylvanian Romanian Romanticism started to gain ground, while at the same time the tropes appearing in the Supplex Libellus Valachorum started to undergo a transformation..
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Vlasta Švoger

Political Rights and Freedoms in the Croatian National Revival and the Croatian Political Movement of 1848–1849: Reestablishing Continuity



Based on an analysis of chief programmatic texts from the period of the Croatian National Revival and the Croatian Political Movement of 1848–1849, as well as articles published in Zagreb liberal newspapers, this paper illustrates how the Croatian intellectual elite advocated political rights and freedoms in the first half of the nineteenth century. Following the tradition of the Enlightenment, the elite interpreted them as natural rights. While the focus in the first decades of the nineteenth century was on the idea of enlightening the people and the right of the people to nurture their native language, in the 1840s other rights were also included. In the revolutionary year of 1848, the formulation of political rights and freedoms was most complete.
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Sara Lagi

Georg Jellinek, a Liberal Political Thinker against Despotic Rule (1885–1898)



Georg Jellinek is commonly thought of as one of the most prominent representatives of German legal positivism. In this article I look at Georg Jellinek not only as a legal theorist, but also as a political thinker of liberal inspiration. In this sense, I seek to show some key continuities and connections between the fundamental aspects of his legal, positivistic theory and his political vision of liberal inspiration, and between his stay in Vienna and his move to Germany.
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András Cieger

National Identity and Constitutional Patriotism in the Context of Modern Hungarian History: An Overview



Since the end of the eighteenth century, Hungarians have considered themselves a nation of the “millennial constitution” and a “nation of lawyers.” What meanings, identity-founding values, and interpretations of the past are associated with the concepts of constitution and constitutionalism in Hungarian public thinking and scientific discourse? Furthermore, to what extent is there any consensus concerning principles, and how coherent is the context of Hungarian constitutionalism as a product of national history? In this overview, I show how the political program of constitutionalism underwent a transformation from an elite-project to a common emotional foundation of constitutional patriotism in 1848. I also examine how, after the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 and in the interwar period, the emotional bonding of citizens to their political institutions weakened and several myths of the Hungarian exceptionalism gathered strength in scientific and political discourses. Four decades of socialism extinguished almost completely any sense of constitutional consciousness, already only flickering, among the people, as well as their trust in the world of politics. Finally, the many examples of embittered debates on symbolic questions after the regime change in 1989/90 and the much-criticized circumstances of the drafting of a new constitution in 2011 demonstrate convincingly that a constitutional patriotism based on broad societal consensus has not yet formed in Hungary. The successive political regimes used constitutional values and the memory of the struggles for constitutionalism only as symbols or slogans to reach their short-term political aims. The political elites in Hungary utilized the constitutional consciousness of the society instead of working to strengthen it.
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Book Reviews

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Das Preßburger Protocollum Testamentorum 1410 (1427)–1529, Vol. 1. 1410–1487. Edited by Judit Majorossy and Katalin Szende.
Das Preßburger Protocollum Testamentorum 1410 (1427)–1529, Vol. 2. 1487–1529. Edited by Judit Majorossy und Katalin Szende.
Reviewed by Elisabeth Gruber

Sopron. Edited by Ferenc Jankó, József Kücsán, and Katalin Szende with contributions by Dávid Ferenc, Károly Goda, and Melinda Kiss.
Sátoraljaújhely. Edited by István Tringli. Szeged. Edited by László Blazovich et al.
Reviewed by Anngret Simms

Egy székely két élete: Kövendi Székely Jakab pályafutása [Two lives of a Székely: The career of Jakab Székely of Kövend]. By Bence Péterfi.
Reviewed by András Vadas

Towns and Cities of the Croatian Middle Ages: Authority and Property.
Edited by Irena Benyovsky Latin and Zrinka Pešorda Vardić.
Reviewed by Mišo Petrović

Customary Law in Hungary: Courts, Texts, and the Tripartitum. By Martyn Rady.
Reviewed by István Tringli

Geschichte schreiben im osmanischen Südosteuropa: Eine Kulturgeschichte orthodoxer Historiographie des 16. und 17. Jahrhunderts. By Konrad Petrovszky.
Reviewed by Joachim Bahlcke

A gyulafehérvári hiteleshely levélkeresői (1556–1690) [The requisitors of the Gyulafehérvár place of authentication (1556–1690)].
By Emőke Gálfi. Reviewed by Irén Bilkei

Török szövetség – Habsburg kiegyezés: A Bocskai-felkelés történetéhez [Ottoman alliance – Habsburg compromise: On the history of the Bocskai uprising]. By Sándor Papp.
Reviewed by Gábor Kármán

Bécs vonzásában: Az agrárpiacosodás feltételrendszere Moson vármegyében a 19. század első felében [In the pull of Vienna: The preconditions of the development of the agrarian market in Moson County in the first half of the nineteenth century]. By Gergely Krisztián Horváth. Reviewed by Gábor Demeter

Pánszlávok a kastélyban: Justh József és a szlovák nyelvű magyar nemesség elfeledett története [Pan-Slavs in the manor house: József Justh and the forgotten history of the Slovak-speaking Hungarian nobility]. By József Demmel.
Reviewed by Barna Ábrahám

In Search of the Budapest Secession: The Artist Proletariat and Modernism’s Rise in the Hungarian Art Market, 1800–1914. By Jeffrey Taylor.
Reviewed by Erika Szívós

Anti-modernism: Radical Revisions of Collective Identity.
Edited by Diana Mishkova, Marius Turda, and Balázs Trencsényi.
Reviewed by Valentin Săndulescu

Holy Legionary Youth: Fascist Activism in Interwar Romania.
By Roland Clark. Reviewed by Ionuţ Biliuţa

Siebenbürger ohne Siebenbürger? Zentralstaatliche Integration und politischer Regionalismus nach dem Ersten Weltkrieg. By Florian Kührer-Wielach.
Reviewed by James Korányi

Mapping Jewish Loyalties in Interwar Slovakia. By Rebekah Klein-Pejšová.
Reviewed by Ivica Bumová

Priest, Politician, Collaborator: Jozef Tiso and the Making of Fascist Slovakia.
By James Malice Ward. Reviewed by Miloslav Szabó

Jewish Resistance to “Romanianization”, 1940–44. By Stefan Cristian Ionescu.
Reviewed by Felicia Waldman

Magyar megszálló csapatok a Szovjetunióban, 1941–1944: Esemény – elbeszélés – utóélet [Hungarian occupation forces in the Soviet Union, 1941–1944: Event, narrative, afterlife]. By Krisztián Ungváry. Reviewed by Ádám Kerpel-Fronius

A jelenkori magyar társadalom [Contemporary Hungarian society].
By Tibor Valuch. Reviewed by Eszter Bartha

Notes on Contributors

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