Hungarian Revolution of 1848 Created by: Claire Stone (B1)

Important People of the Revolution:

  • Ferenc Deák: He was a leader of a popular reformist group. In the early 1830's he came to power in the Hungarian Parliament and reformers gained popularity under him. He was sincere about making reforms and proved it by freeing his serfs and voluntarily paying taxes. Throughout the Hungarian revolution he kept calm and opposed violence. Then, he became a minister of justice for the Batthyány Government and he tried to create a compromise to end the revolution. Unfortunately, his efforts for a compromise failed and he resigned as minister of justice. He still remained a member of parliament and defended the reforms he wanted to be made in Hungary.
Ferenc Deák as portrayed in his obituary.
  • Lajos Kossuth: He was a lawyer, journalist, politician and governor- president of Hungary during the revolution. In 1837 he was arrested for demanding freedom of press, he remained imprisoned for four years. During his time in prison his health was damaged but he continued to gain political knowledge by reading books. By 1841 he had fully regained health and became a national icon. His political journal, Pesti Hírlap, became very well- known for exposing social injustice and calling for reforms. He was one of the main reasons for the revolution happening because he changed political thinking for many people and sent his requests for reforms to the Habsburg Courts.
Lajos Kossuth
Statue of Lajos Kossuth
  • István Széchenyi: He had ideas that contrasted those of Kossuth. Széchenyi believed that Széchenyi believed that economic, political and social reforms should be made slowly, to prevent any violence from the Habsburg dynasty. On the other hand, Kossuth believed that reforms had to be made quickly to maintain a civil society.
István Széchenyi

Ten Points of Reformers

Ferenc Deák created these ten points, and convinced many liberals to agree on his points.

  • Responsible ministries: all ministries and the government must be elected by the parliament
  • Freedom of the Press
  • Popular representation: abolition of feudal parliament
  • Reincorporation of Transylvania which was previously located in Hungary
  • Right of public meeting
  • Absolute religious liberty: the abolition of the Catholic State Religion
  • Equality before the law: the abolition of separate laws for the common people and nobility, the abolition of the legal privileges of nobility
  • Equal taxation: abolition of the tax exemption of the aristocracy
  • The abolition of the Aviticum: this was a law that allowed only the nobility to own agricultural lands
  • The abolition of serfdom

The Revolution and Results

The revolution began on March 13th, 1848 in Vienna. Lajos Kossuth gave a speech about freedom and human rights which fired up protesters. The Chancellor (Klemens Wenzel von Metternich) who was a defender of old- order fled to London due to protests and his conservative system was abolished.

On March 15, 1848, revolutionaries marched around the city of Pest, beginning in the Pilvax coffee palace and then marching around the city. They sung the national song and read their demands. The crowd overtook the Landerer and Heckenast printing press to print their points and song. Another mass demonstration was held in front of the newly built National Museum.

March 15th, 1848

On March 17th the emperor declared Lajos Batthyány as prime minister and they created a new government. Lajos Kossuth became the finance minister, Ferenc Deák was the minister of justice and István Széchenyi was Minister of Labour, Infrastructure and Transport. Under the new government the April Laws were created, which allowed all of the ten points previously made by Ferenc Deák and reformers. This was signed by the emperor on April 11th, 1848.

April Laws adopted on April 11th, 1848


The Hungarian Revolution of 1848 was a revolution because the April laws were passed which made significant changes for Hungarian citizens economically, politically and socially.

Political Aspects:

These were the political changes made in Hungary because of the revolution.

  • Responsible ministries: this is political because it required ministries and government to be elected by the Parliament. This meant the Parliament was ranked politically higher than the government and ministries. Parliament was capable of making significant political changes in Hungary since they had the most political power.
  • Popular representation: This law abolished the old feudal government. This is political because feudalism didn't allow certain people (the third estate) to have much of a say in goverment. Anyone in the third estate probably couldn't vote and if they could it probably didn't matter because of the first and second estates and they couldn't hold any political positions.
  • reincorporation of Transylvania: Since Transylvania was considered part of Hungary again, this meant the parliament ruled over them and capability to make political change.
  • Universal equality before the law: This law declared that everyone was treated with the same laws, this is political because the upper class and lower class potically the same. Laws were the same for everyone, no matter what social class they were in. The upper class was no longer to be treated with political privledges.

Economic Apects

These were the laws that changed to impact people living in Hungary economically.

  • Universal and equal taxation: This law is economic because everyone in Hungary had to pay taxes. It was unfair before because the upper class was exempt from paying them and the people who didn't have very much money had to.
  • The abolition of the Aviticum: This abolished the law that said only nobility could own agricultural lands. Agrilcultural lands were economic because people made money from farming on them. This new law allowed anybody to own agricultural land and make money from farming on it.
  • The abolition of serfdom: Serfs were forced to work for upper class people and were not paid. Abolishing serfdom would allow people who were previously serfs the opputunity to make money from actual jobs and hopefully experience economic change.

Social Aspects:

These were the laws that changed in Hungary socially.

  • Freedom of the Press: Allowing freedom of press in Hungary is social because more people could have their opinions heard through the press. Books, newspapers, and more allowed people to express themselves.
  • Right of public meeting: This is social because people were free to come together and discuss their opinions.
  • Absolute religious liberty: This law abolished Catholism as being the state religion. With this being abolished it didn't matter what religion people in Hungary were. They were free to believe in any religion they desired.
  • Universal equality before the law: This is social because laws didn't have any connection with social class anymore. Everyone was treated with the same laws, no matter which social class they were considered.
  • Universal and equal taxation: This law declared everyone would pay taxes. This is a social aspect because people were all being treated the same. The lowest class and the upper class all had to pay taxes.
  • The abolition of the Aviticum: This is social because the nobility was no longer the only social class that could own agricultural land. This allowed anyone, even the lowest class the oppurtunity to own it.
  • The abolition of serfdom: Passing this law meant that the upper class wasn't able to own serfs anymore. Serfs were given more freedom to live their lives however they wanted when serfdom was abolished.

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