The Transformation of Local Power Structures and the Slovak-Hungarian Relationship in 1848; The Case of Turóc County

Utváranie miestnych mocenských centier a slovensko-maďarské vzťahy v roku 1848. Prípad Turčianskej stolice

The radical political system reform of the Kingdom of Hungary that took place in the spring of 1848 after King Ferdinand V. sanctioned the so called April Laws adopted by the Hungarian Diet had an important impact on the organization of local political elites. The April Laws endowed wider strata of the male population with political rights. As a consequence, a new, in the field of politics hitherto absent, group of Slovak national activists emerged, mainly in the Slovak inhabited areas of northern Hungary with a program of social and political emancipation for the Slovak nation within the Kingdom of Hungary. The Hungarian (Magyar) political elite were caught by surprise with this sudden emergence of a political movement and program based on the idea of independent Slovak nation. The ensuing conflicts of Hungarian (Magyar) and Slovak nationalists were further aggravated by the fact that the Hungarian assembly adopted legislature banning the use of Latin and Slovak in public administration. Hungarian was declared the only language to be used. Both Latin and Slovak were until then in common usage among the local elites at the County assemblies and in administration in the mostly Slovak inhabited northern areas of the Hungarian Kingdom. For both the petit nobility of Slovak descent, most of whom did not speak Hungarian, and the young Slovak national activists this meant a serious hindrance in pursuing their political rights and asserting political interests and agenda. The article studies the phenomenon of the clashes between older local elites, the newly emergent Slovak nationalist elite and the dominant Hungarian (Magyar) nationalist elite in the case of Turóc County in the north-western area of the Kingdom of Hungary.