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1848 – First Stirrings of Parliamentarianism

Great hopes, general citizens‘ rights, the liberation of peasants, first stirrings of parliamentarianism – all this was achieved by the Revolution of 1848/49 in Austria – though not for long: Soon thereafter, reactionary forces regained the upper hand and the young Emperor, Francis Joseph I, reinstated absolute rule. Still, the protest of citizens against monarchical rule in 1848 had not come about like a bolt from the blue – it had in large part been fostered by the system of Vormärz (pre-March). More

The October Diploma and the February Patent: The Constitution Meeting with Resistance

After the lost war with Italy (1859) and the debt crisis in its wake the Emperor proclaimed another Constitution in October 1860: the October Diploma. It failed, above all, due to the resistance of the German Liberals and the Hungarians. The amended version of the October Diploma, issued on 26 February 1861, was to go down in history as the February Patent. More

1867 – Farewell to the Unitary Empire

The wars of 1866 had even more far-reaching consequences for the Monarchy: Even though the war with Italy took a favourable turn, Austria had ultimately to cede the rich province of Lombardy-Venetia to Italy, and the Prussian victory put an end to Austria’s leading position in the German-speaking countries and left Austria with an immense national debt. More

The Troubles of the Plains – Parliamentarianism up to the End of the Monarchy

By and large, the December Constitution brought the end of the efforts to organise political life along constitutional lines in Austria under Habsburg rule up to the collapse of the Monarchy. Major changes occurred only in the form of a gradual extension of the right to vote – starting with the direct election of the House of Deputies in 1873 and culminating in 1907 in the introduction of the universal, direct and equal suffrage for male citizens. The electoral reform also resulted in an increase in the number of seats in the House of Deputies, which ultimately had 516 deputies in 1907. More

Parliament and the Decline of the Habsburg Empire

The disaster of the First World War occurred largely without the Austrian Parliament taking an active part in it. As in the years before, in 1914 the House of Deputies persisted in a state of paralysis on account of obstructionism. More