Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867
Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867
(German: Ausgleich, Hungarian:
Kiegyezés) established the dual monarchy of Austria-Hungary. The
Compromise partially re-established the sovereignty of the Kingdom
of Hungary, separate from, and no longer subject to the Austrian
According to Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria, "There were three of
us who made the agreement: Deák, Andrássy and myself."
The Hungarian political leaders had two main goals during the
negotiations. One was to regain the traditional status (both legal and
political) of the Hungarian state, which was lost after the Hungarian
Revolution of 1848. The other was to restore the reform laws of the
revolutionary parliament of 1848, which were based on the 12 points
that established modern civil and political rights, economic and
societal reforms in Hungary.
Under the Compromise, the lands of the
House of Habsburg
House of Habsburg
reorganized as a real union between the
Kingdom of Hungary, headed by a single monarch who reigned as Emperor
and King of Hungary. The Cisleithanian (Austrian) and
Transleithanian (Hungarian) states were governed by separate
parliaments and prime ministers. The two countries conducted unified
foreign and defence policies. For these purposes, "common" ministries
of foreign affairs and defence were maintained under the monarch's
direct authority, as was a third ministry responsible for financing
the two "common" portfolios.
The names conventionally used for the two realms were derived from the
river Leitha, or Lajta, a tributary of the
and the traditional
border between Austrian and Magyar lands. The
did not, however,
form the entire border and was not part of the border for its whole
course: Cis- and Trans- were used by custom, rather than geographical
1 Historical background
4 Continuing pressures
5 Final dissolution
8 External links
Further information: Battle of Mohács, Diet of Hungary, and
Coronation of the Hungarian monarch
In the Middle Ages Duchy of
Austria was a quasi-independent state
within the Holy Roman Empire, ruled by the House of Habsburg, and the
Kingdom of Hungary
Kingdom of Hungary was a sovereign state outside the empire. In 1526,
Hungary was defeated and partially conquered by the Ottoman Empire.
Louis II of Hungary
Louis II of Hungary and Bohemia had no legitimate heir and died
young in the Battle of Mohács. Louis II's brother-in-law, Ferdinand I
of Habsburg was elected
King of Hungary
King of Hungary by a rump Parliament in
Pozsony in December 1526. The Ottomans were subsequently driven
out of Hungary by international
Western Christian forces led by Prince
Eugene of Savoy between 1686 and 1699. From 1526 to 1804, Hungary was
ruled by the Habsburg kings, but remained nominally and legally
separate from the other lands of the Habsburg Monarchy.
In 1804, Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor, who was also ruler of the
lands of the Habsburg Monarchy, founded the Empire of
Austria in which
all his lands were included. In doing so he created a formal
overarching structure for the Habsburg Monarchy, which had functioned
as a composite monarchy for about 300 years. Until the 1848
revolution, the workings of the overarching structure and the status
of Hungary stayed much the same as they had been before 1804. The
Kingdom of Hungary
Kingdom of Hungary had always been considered a separate realm, the
country's status was affirmed by Article X, which was added to
Hungary's constitution in 1790 during the phase of the composite
monarchy; it described the state as a Regnum Independens. Hungary's
affairs continued to be administered by its own institutions (King and
Diet) as they had been previously. Thus, under the new arrangements,
no imperial institutions were involved in its internal
government.From the perspective of the Court since 1723, regnum
Hungariae had been a hereditary province of the dynasty's three main
branches on both lines. From the perspective of the ország (the
country), Hungary was regnum independens, a separate Land as Article X
of 1790 stipulated ... In 1804 Emperor Franz assumed the title of
Austria for all the Erblande of the dynasty and for the
other Lands, including Hungary. Thus Hungary formally became part of
the Empire of Austria. The
Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire was abolished in 1806.
The Court reassured the diet, however, that the assumption of the
monarch's new title did not in any sense affect the laws and the
constitution of Hungary. The Hungarian legal system and judicial
system remained separated and independent from the unified legal and
judicial systems of the other Habsburg ruled areas.
The administration and the structures of central government of Kingdom
of Hungary remained separated from the Austrian administration and
Austrian government until the 1848 revolution. Hungary, was governed,
to a greater degree by the Council of Lieutenancy of Hungary (the
Gubernium) in Pressburg (Pozsony) and, to a lesser extent, by the
Hungarian Royal Court Chancellery in Vienna, independent of the
Imperial Chancellery of Austria
While in most Western European countries (like
France and England) the
king's reign began immediately upon the death of his predecessor, in
Hungary the coronation was absolutely indispensable as if it were not
properly executed, the Kingdom stayed "orphaned". Even during the long
personal union between
Kingdom of Hungary
Kingdom of Hungary and other Habsburg ruled
areas, the Habsburg monarchs had to be crowned as
King of Hungary
King of Hungary in
order to promulgate laws there or exercise his royal prerogatives in
the territory of Kingdom of Hungary. Since the Golden Bull
of 1222, all Hungarian monarchs had to take a coronation oath during
the coronation procedure, where the new monarchs had to agree to
uphold the constitutional arrangement of the country, to preserve the
liberties of his subjects and the territorial integrity of the
From 1526 to 1851, the
Kingdom of Hungary
Kingdom of Hungary maintained its own customs
borders, which separated Hungary from the united customs system of
other Habsburg ruled territories.
Further information: Hungarian Revolution of 1848, March Constitution
of Austria, and Passive Resistance (Hungary)
In the failed Hungarian Revolution of 1848, the
Magyars came close to
regaining independence and were defeated by the
Austrian Empire only
by the military intervention of the Russian Empire. After the
restoration of Habsburg power, Hungary was placed under martial
law. Prime Minister
Prince Felix of Schwarzenberg
Prince Felix of Schwarzenberg and his
government, operating from November 1848, pursued a radically new
imperial policy. It wanted to develop a uniform empire in the spirit
of the imperial constitution issued by Franz Joseph I in Olmütz on 4
March 1849, and as a result, Hungary's constitution and territorial
integrity were abolished. The centralist March Constitution of Austria
introduced the neo-absolutism in Habsburg ruled territories, and it
provided absolute power for the monarch. The Austrian constitution
was accepted by the Imperial Diet of Austria, in which Hungary had no
representation and traditionally had no legislative power in the
territory of Kingdom of Hungary; still, it also tried to abolish the
Diet of Hungary, which existed as the legislative power in Hungary
since the late 12th century. The new Austrian constitution also
went against the historical constitution of Hungary and tried to
nullify it. A military dictatorship was created in Hungary. Every
aspect of Hungarian life was put under close scrutiny and governmental
German became the official language of public administration. An edict
issued on 9 October 1849 placed education under state control, the
curriculum was prescribed and controlled by the state, the teaching of
national history was restricted and history was taught from a Habsburg
viewpoint. Even the bastion of Hungarian culture, the Academy, was
kept under control: the institution was staffed with foreigners,
mostly Germans, and the institution was practically defunct
until[clarification needed] the end of 1858. Hungarians
responded with passive resistance. Anti-Habsburg and anti-German
sentiments were strong. In the following years, the empire instituted
several reforms but failed to resolve problems.
After the Hungarian revolution of 1848–49, the independent customs
system of Hungary was abolished, and Hungary became part of the
unified imperial customs system on 1 October 1851.
Austria was completely defeated in the Austro-Prussian War.
Its position as the leading state of Germany ended, and the remaining
German minor states were soon absorbed into the German Empire, created
Austria also lost much of its remaining claims and
influence in Italy, which had been its chief foreign policy interest.
After a period of Greater German ambitions, when
Austria tried to
establish itself as the leading German power,
Austria again needed to
redefine itself to maintain unity in the face of nationalism.
As a consequence of the
Second Italian War of Independence
Second Italian War of Independence and the
Austro-Prussian War, the Habsburg Empire was on the verge of collapse
in 1866, as the wars caused monumental state debt and a financial
The Habsburgs were forced to reconcile with Hungary to save their
empire and dynasty. The Habsburgs and part of the Hungarian political
elite arranged the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867, but the
overwhelming majority of the populace wanted full independence.
Ferenc Deák is considered the intellectual force
behind the Compromise. Deák initially wanted independence for Hungary
and supported the 1848 Revolution, but he broke with hardline
nationalists and advocated a modified union under the Habsburgs. Deák
believed that while Hungary had the right to full internal
independence, questions of defence and foreign affairs were "common"
Austria and Hungary, under the Pragmatic Sanction of 1723. He
also felt that Hungary benefited from continued union with wealthier,
Austria and that the Compromise would end the
continual pressures on
Austria to choose between the
Magyars and the
Slavs of the Kingdom of Hungary. Imperial Chancellor Beust quickly
negotiated the Compromise with the Hungarian leaders. Beust was
particularly eager to renew the conflict with
Prussia and thought a
quick settlement with Hungary would make that possible. Franz
Joseph and Deák signed the Compromise, and it was ratified by the
Diet of Hungary
Diet of Hungary on 29 May 1867.
The Compromise was negotiated and legitimised by only a very small
part of Hungarian society (suffrage was very limited: less than 8
percent of the population had voting rights), and was seen by a very
large part of the population as a betrayal of the Hungarian cause and
the heritage of the 1848-49 War of Independence. The Compromise was
very unpopular and the government resorted to force to suppress civil
dissent. The Compromise caused deep and lasting schisms in Hungarian
Beust's revenge against
Prussia did not materialize. When, in 1870,
Austria-Hungary to support
France against Prussia,
Hungarian Prime Minister
Gyula Andrássy was "vigorously opposed" and
effectively vetoed Austrian intervention.
The settlement with Hungary consisted then of three parts: the
political settlement, which was to be permanent and would remain part
of the fundamental constitution of the monarchy; the periodical
financial settlement, determining the partition of the common expenses
as arranged by the Quota-Deputations and ratified by the parliaments
and the Customs Union and the agreement on currency, a voluntary,
reversible arrangement between the two governments and
Under the Compromise:
The Hungarian parliament was re-established (which was the legislative
power in Hungary since the 12th century), thus
Austria and Hungary had
separate parliaments again. Each region had its own government, headed
by its own prime minister. The "dual monarchy" consisted of the
emperor-king, and the common ministers of foreign affairs, defence,
and a finance ministry only for the army, navy and diplomatic
The Hungarian legal system and Hungarians laws were restored in the
territory of Kingdom of Hungary; the traditionally independent and
separate judicial systems of Hungary were re-established.
Austria-Hungary, as a common entity, had no jurisdiction and
legislative power, which was shaped by the fact that there was no
common parliament. The common diplomatic and military affairs were
managed by delegations from the Imperial Council and the Hungarian
parliament. The delegations had 60 members from the Imperial Council,
and 60 members from the Hungarian parliament, and the ratios of
various political fractions exactly and proportionally mirrored their
own political parties of their parliaments. The members of the
delegates from the two parliaments had no right to debate or introduce
new ideas during the meetings, and they were nothing more than the
extended arms of their own parliaments. All common decisions had to be
ratified by the Austrian and Hungarian parliaments to be valid.
A common Ministry of Foreign Affairs was created, responsible for
diplomacy and foreign policy.
There was no common citizenship in Austria-Hungary: one was either an
Austrian citizen or a Hungarian citizen, never both.
Austria-Hungary used two separate passports: the Austrian passport and
the Hungarian one. There was no common passport.
A common finance ministry was founded, only for the expenditures of
the army, the navy and the diplomatic service and for the issue of
banknotes. It was headed by the Common Finance Minister. All other
expenditures belonged to the Austrian Finance Ministry in the Austrian
Empire and the Hungarian Finance Ministry in the Kingdom of Hungary.
The Austrian finance minister was subordinated only to the
Austria in Austrian Empire, and the Hungarian
Finance Minister was subordinated only to the Prime Minister of
The monetary and economic terms of the Compromise and the customs
union had to be renegotiated every ten years.
Austria and Hungary sharing a common currency, they were
fiscally sovereign and independent entities. International
commercial treaties were conducted independently by
Royal Hungarian Honvéd
Royal Hungarian Honvéd was restored, and the Imperial-Royal
Landwehr was created, but both states had to continue to finance the
Common Army, much larger than both. A common Austro-Hungarian War
Ministry was formed immediately for the large Common Army, but it had
no right to command directly the smaller Landwehr and the Honvéd
armies, which were respectively placed under the direct control of the
separate Austrian and Hungarian Ministries of Defence. The Austrian
and Hungarian Ministers of Defence were not placed under the command
and jurisdiction of the Common War Ministry; they were subordinated
only to their own prime ministers and the respective parliaments in
Vienna and Budapest.
Hungary took on a large part of the towering Austrian state debt.
The King became the supreme warlord, holding all authority over the
structure, organization, and administration of the army. He appointed
the senior officials, had the right to declare war, and was the
commander-in-chief of the army.
He had the right to declare a state of emergency.
He had the right of preliminary royal assent to every bill the Cabinet
Council wanted to report to the National Assembly. He had the right to
veto any law passed by the National Assembly.
He had the right to dissolve the National Assembly.
He had the right to appoint and dismiss the members of the Cabinet
This meant a great reduction in Hungarian sovereignty and autonomy,
even in comparison with the pre-1848 status quo.
The resulting system was maintained until the dissolution of the dual
monarchy after World War I. The favoritism shown to the Magyars, the
second largest ethnic group in the dual monarchy after the Germans,
caused discontent on the part of other ethnic groups like the Slovaks
and Romanians. Although a "Nationalities Law" was enacted to
preserve the rights of ethnic minorities, the two parliaments took
very different approaches to this issue.
The basic problem in the later years was that the Compromise with
Hungary only encouraged the appetites of non-Hungarian minorities in
Hungary that were historically within the boundaries of the Hungarian
Kingdom. The majority of Hungarians felt they had accepted the
Compromise only under coercion. The Austrian Emperor, separately
crowned King of Hungary, had to swear in his coronation oath not to
revise or diminish the historic imperial (Hungarian) domains of the
Hungarian nobility, magnates, and upper classes. The Hungarians,
having been given self-rule and a separate status, only partially
acquiesced to granting "their" minorities recognition and local
In the Kingdom of Hungary, several ethnic minorities faced increased
pressures of Magyarization. Further, the renegotiations that
occurred every ten years often led to constitutional crises.
Ultimately, although the Compromise hoped to fix the problems faced by
a multi-national state while maintaining the benefits of a large
state, the new system still faced the same internal pressures as the
old. To what extent the dual monarchy stabilized the country in the
face of national awakenings and to what extent it alleviated, or
aggravated, the situation are debated even today.
In a letter of February 1, 1913, to Foreign Minister Berchtold,
Archduke Franz Ferdinand said that "irredentism in our country ...
will cease immediately if our Slavs are given a comfortable, fair and
good life" instead of being trampled on (as they were being trampled
on by the Hungarians).
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With the political agenda dominated by the imminent defeat in World
War I in the middle of October 1918, the Hungarian government, with
the agreement of King Charles IV of Hungary, who was also Emperor
Charles I of Austria, gave notice of termination. The Compromise was
formally terminated on 31 October 1918, ending the Chrysanthemum
Revolution. Shared institutions, such as the Council of Ministers,
remained formally in force until 2 November 1918, but for all
practical purposes, power had devolved from
Budapest to the various
emerging nationally-based regions that would form the basis for the
redrawing of the map of
Central Europe at the Paris Peace Conference,
which formally began its work early in 1919.
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^ Grundsätze für die provisorische Organisation des
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^ Az Entwurf hatása a
^ Bolvári-Takács Gábor: Teleki József, Sárospatak és az
^ Vekerdi László: Egy könyvtár otthonai, eredményei és gondjai.
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1848–1867. Twenty Five Lectures on Modern Balkan History, retrieved
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Oxford University Press, p. 4
^ "Impatient to take his revenge on Bismarck for Sadowa, he persuaded
Franz Joseph to accept the Magyar demands that he had until then
rejected. [...] Beust deluded himself that he could rebuild both the
German Federation and the
Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire and negotiated the
Ausgleich as a necessary preliminary for the revanche on Prussia.
[...] As a compromise with Hungary for the purposes of revenge on
Prussia, the Ausgleich could not be otherwise than a surrender to the
Magyar oligarchy." Albertini, Luigi (1952), The Origins of the War of
1914, Volume I, Oxford University Press, p. 4
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Chronology of the Compromise
The Dual Monarchy in Hungary
Nationalism in Hungary
Treaties of Hungary
9–10th century (age of Magyars)
Legend of the white horse (894)
1000–1301 (Árpád dynasty)
Personal union of Hungary and Croatia (1102)
Hungarian–Byzantine Treaties (1153–1167)
Treaty of Pressburg (1271)
1302–1526 (Middle ages to Tripartition)
Treaty of Enns (1336)
Hungarian–Lithuanian Treaty (1351)
Hungarian–Neapolitan Treaty (1352)
Treaty of Zara
Treaty of Zara (1358)
Treaty of Lubowla
Treaty of Lubowla (1412)
Peace of Szeged
Peace of Szeged (1444)
Peace Treaty of Wiener Neustadt
Peace Treaty of Wiener Neustadt (1463)
Treaty of Ófalu
Treaty of Ófalu (1474)
Treaty of Brno (1478)
Treaty of Piotrków (1479)
Peace of Olomouc
Peace of Olomouc (1479)
Treaty of Pressburg (1491)
First Congress of
Dual reign, Ottoman vassalship,
reconquest and Napoleonic Wars
Franco-Hungarian alliance (1526)
Treaty of Nagyvárad
Treaty of Nagyvárad (1538)
Treaty of Gyalu
Treaty of Gyalu (1541)
Treaty of Speyer (1570)
Treaty of Szatmár
Treaty of Szatmár (1711)
Royal Hungary to Independence)
Truce of Adrianople (1547)
Treaty of Adrianople (1568)
Peace of Zsitvatorok
Peace of Zsitvatorok (1606)
Peace of Vasvár
Peace of Vasvár (1664)
Holy League (1684)
Treaty of Karlowitz
Treaty of Karlowitz (1699)
Treaty of Passarowitz
Treaty of Passarowitz (1718)
Pragmatic Sanction (1723)
Treaty of Belgrade
Treaty of Belgrade (1739)
Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (1748)
First Partition of Poland
First Partition of Poland (1772)
Treaty of Sistova
Treaty of Sistova (1791)
Treaty of Campo Formio
Treaty of Campo Formio (1797)
Treaty of Schönbrunn
Treaty of Schönbrunn (1809)
(1570–1711) (Principality of Transylvania)
Peace of Nikolsburg
Peace of Nikolsburg (1621)
Treaty of Pressburg (1626)
Treaty of Nymwegen (1679)
to the end of
World War I
World War I
Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867
Croatian–Hungarian Settlement (1868)
League of the Three Emperors
League of the Three Emperors (1873)
Treaty of Bern (1874)
Reichstadt Agreement (1876)
Budapest Convention of 1877 (1877)
Treaty of Berlin (1878)
Dual Alliance (1879)
Triple Alliance (1882)
Boxer Protocol (1901)
Treaty of London (1913)
Armistice of Focșani (1917)
Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Ukraine (1918)
Treaty of Brest-Litovsk (1918)
Treaty of Bucharest (1918)
Armistice of Villa Giusti
Armistice of Villa Giusti (1918)
Treaty of Trianon
Treaty of Trianon (1920)
Armistice with Romania (1920)
Bill of dethronement (1921)
U.S.–Hungarian Peace Treaty (1921)
Covenant of the League of Nations
Covenant of the League of Nations (1922)
Modern age (1922–)
Treaties of the
Kingdom of Hungary
Kingdom of Hungary (1922–46)
Paris Peace Treaties, 1947
Treaties of the
Hungarian People's Republic
Hungarian People's Republic (1949–89)
Treaties of the Third Republic of Hungary (1989–)
Hungarian Revolution of 1848
Hungarian Revolutionary Army
Kingdom of Hungary
Battles of Komárom
Hungarian Declaration of Independence
Surrender at Világos
Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867
Leaders for Austria
Ferdinand I of Austria
Franz Joseph I of Austria
Julius Jacob von Haynau
Prince Franz de Paula of Liechtenstein
Alfred I, Prince of Windisch-Grätz
Leaders for Hungary
Leaders for Russia
Alexander von Lüders
Fyodor Sergeevich Panyutin
Grigory Yakovlevich Skariatin
Ivan Fyodorovich Paskevich
Grigory Khristoforovich Zass
Nikolai Fyodorovich Engelhardt
Maksim Maksimovich Grotenhelm