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Origins and development of Croat nationalism and the Croat-Magyar controversy, 1790-1847 Stipac, Boris

Abstract

The purpose of this work is to examine the origins and development of Croat nationalism in the light of the Croat-Magyar relations from the period of Enlightened Absolutism to the eve of the revolutionary year of 1848. Since the development of Croat nationalism was strongly influenced by the Magyar national movement of that period, the bulk of this discussion is devoted to an analysis of the Croat-Magyar controversy caused by the Magyars' desire to magyarize the Croat nation. The main struggle between the two opposing forces took place in the Common Diet composed of the delegates from both nations. However, the Croat national movement itself originated among the young native intellectuals who, as a rule, did not have any direct influence on the proceedings of the Croat legislative house, the Sabor. Under the influence of the Czech, Slovak and Polish nationalists, these intellectuals rendered an invaluable service to the Croat nation. Their work resulted in Croatia's cultural renaissance which subsequently served as the basis for the struggle against Hungary. The author presupposes that the reader possesses adequate knowledge of Croat history in general and of the period discussed in particular. Therefore no attempt has been made to describe or explain some fundamental aspects of Croatia's political and cultural history. Any such endeavour would inevitably remove us from the topic and would be inconsistent with the task of this work. Chapters I and II deal with the background of the problem. Chapter I offers a brief explanation of Croatia's political status within the Habsburg Monarchy. Chapter II describes the origins and background of the Croat national movement which developed, following the year 1832, as the Illyrian Movement. It enables the reader to acquaint himself with the fundamentals and character of the Croat-Magyar controversy and with the political and cultural situation prevailing among the various Croat regions. Chapter III concentrates on the Illyrian Movement itself. It describes extensively the cultural renaissance of the Croats and points out the role and effects of the Illyrian Movement on the Croat-Magyar relations. Here again the author concentrates on the political effects of the cultural renaissance. The literary works of the Illyrians are mentioned and described in so far as they had a direct bearing upon the political situation in Croatia. In Chapter IV, the political nature of the struggle between the two nations reaches its peak. Following the formation of the first political parties and the crisis in the Croat national movement caused by the defeat of the Illyrians at the hands of the Magyarons in the election of 1845, the Croat national idea was finally emancipated. The Croat language finally became the official language for Croatia. Thus the main aim of the Illyrians was accomplished. In the last moment, Croatia emerged fully prepared to face the revolutionary year of 1848.

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