April Laws

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The April Laws, also called March Laws,[1] were a collection of laws legislated by Lajos Kossuth with the aim of modernizing the Kingdom of Hungary into a nation state. The imperative program included Hungarian control of its popular national guard, national budget and Hungarian foreign policy, as well as the removal of serfdom. They were passed by the Hungarian Diet in March 1848 in Pozsony (now Bratislava, Slovakia)[2] (German: Pressburg) and signed by Ferdinand V at the Primate's Palace in the same city on 11 April 1848,[3] as a reaction to the Revolution of 1848. When the revolution was crushed by the help of Russian intervention in 1849, Austria did not pass the laws, and Hungary did not retain full external autonomy until the Compromise of 1867 which would later influence Hungary's position in World War I.

Ten Points

The conservatives - who usually opposed most of the reforms - could maintain a slim majority in the old feudal parliament, the reformer liberals were divided between the ideas of Széchenyi and Kossuth. Immediately before the elections, however, Deák succeeded in reuniting all the Liberals on the common platform of "The Ten Points". The so-called "Ten Points" of reforemers became the ruling principles of the April laws.

  • (1) Responsible ministries, (All ministries and the government must be elected by the parliament)
  • (2) Freedom of the Press (The abolition of censure and the censor's offices)
  • (3) Popular representation (by democratic parliamentary elections, the abolition of the old feudal parliament which based on the feudal estates)
  • (4) The reincorporation of Transylvania,
  • (5) Right of public meeting, (Freedom of assembly and freedom of association)
  • (6) Absolute religious liberty, the abolition of the (Catholic) State Religion,
  • (7) Universal equality before the law (The abolition of separate laws for the common people and nobility, the abolition of the legal privileges of nobility)
  • (8) Universal and equal taxation, (abolition of the tax exemption of the aristocracy)
  • (9) The abolition of the Aviticum, (Aviticium was an old feudal origin obsolete and anomalous land-tenure, it declared that only the nobility could own agricultural lands)
  • (10) The abolition of serfdom and bondservices, with state financed compensation to the landlords.


  1. ^ Britannica article on March laws
  2. ^ March Laws (Hungary [1848]) - Britannica Online Encyclopedia
  3. ^ "Between the campaigns of Napoleonic troops and the abolition of bondage". City of Bratislava. Archived from the original on 24 February 2007. Retrieved 8 June 2007.

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