March 15th 1848: Hungarian Revolution begins

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Battle at Tápióbicske during the war of independence – Mór Than

 

On this day in 1848, a revolution broke out in Hungary. There had been a growing reform movement which demanded change and provisions for those who had been most affected by the economic downturn after the Napoleonic Wars. Journalist Lajos Kossuth became leader of this movement, and pushed for democracy and civil equality in Hungary. As it stood, the Hungarian elites did not pay tax but only they had the vote – the system was in dire need of change. The Habsburg monarchs tried to suppress the movement by blocking its legislation and arresting its leaders. The full revolution began with mass demonstrations and insurrections throughout Hungary. The powers-that-be acquiesed on some demands – passing reforms and establishing a new parliament. As the imperial government of Austria tied to halt the movement, the revolution soon evolved into a war of independence. Hungary lost the war, and the Austrians retained control over the kingdom.

 

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Lajos Kossuth (1802 – 1894)

 

1848 was the year of revolutions – all across Europe the revolutionary spirit spread as people strove to banish the ties of oppression. Some were more successful than others but all were in the same spirit. One could compare the spread in Europe as a precursor to the Arab Spring, were revolutions spread throughout countries in the Middle East. History continues to be made there, so we can make no long term comparisons to 1848. However, it does seem to be a movement in a similar vein.

 

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