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Estates and Constitution: The Parliament in Eighteenth-Century Hungary

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Volume 30

Austrian and Habsburg Studies

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Estates and Constitution

The Parliament in Eighteenth-Century Hungary

István M. Szijártó
Translated from the Hungarian by David Robert Evans

442 pages, 29 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78920-879-5 $155.00/£115.00 Hb Published (September 2020)

eISBN 978-1-78920-880-1 eBook

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“The Hungarian Diet has been grievously neglected in international scholarship. Szijártó’s study will completely transform that landscape. It demonstrates how and why the country's parliamentary system proved one of the most effective restraints on absolute monarchy and its centralizing policies in 18th-century Europe.” • Robert Evans, University of Oxford

“This is a major work of original research on an important subject, one that is regrettably little known or examined in Anglophone scholarship.” • William D. Godsey, Austrian Academy of Sciences


Across eighteenth-century Europe, political power resided overwhelmingly with absolute monarchs, with notable exceptions including the much-studied British Parliament as well as the frequently overlooked Hungarian Diet, which placed serious constraints on royal power and broadened opportunities for political participation. Estates and Constitution provides a rich account of Hungarian politics during this period, restoring the Diet to its rightful place as one of the era’s major innovations in government. István M. Szijártó traces the religious, economic, and partisan forces that shaped the Diet, putting its historical significance in international perspective.

István M. Szijártó is Professor of History at Eötvös University, Budapest. He has published several books about the social and cultural history of politics in 18th-century Hungary as well as the theoretical and methodological problems surrounding microhistory.

Subject: History: 18th/19th Century
Area: Central/Eastern Europe


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List of Illustrations


Part I: The Frameworks

Chapter 1. The Dualism of King and Estates
Chapter 2. The Workings of the Machinery of the Diet

Part II: The Structures of Politics

Chapter 3. The Dualism of King and Estates Dominated by Confessional Questions
Chapter 4. Taxes and Privileges
Chapter 5. Government and Opposition at the Diet
Chapter 6. Career Paths at the Diet
Chapter 7. Realignments on the Estates’ Side of the Political Arena

Part III: Interpreting Hungarian Politics in the 18th Century

Chapter 8. Texts and Discourse
Chapter 9. County and Gentry
Chapter 10. Historiographical Traditions and European Comparisons


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