Kossuth, Louis

Kossuth, Louis

(kŏso͞oth`), Hung. Kossuth Lajos, 1802–94, Hungarian revolutionary hero. Born of a Protestant family and a lawyer by training, he entered politics as a member of the diet and soon won a large following. His liberal and nationalist program did not avoid the possibility of dissolving the union of the Hungarian and Austrian crowns. He was arrested in 1837, but popular pressure forced the Metternich regime to release him in 1840. Kossuth, a fiery orator, was one of the principal figures of the Hungarian revolution of Mar., 1848. When, in April, Hungary was granted a separate government, Kossuth became finance minister. He continued and intensified his anti-Austrian agitation. His principles were liberal, but his nationalism was opposed to the fulfillment of the national aspirations of the Slavic, Romanian, and German minorities in Hungary and was particularly resented in Croatia. When the Austrian government, supported by the ban [governor] of Croatia, Count Jellachich de BuzimJellachich de Buzim, Joseph, Count
, 1801–59, Austrian general, a Croatian nobleman. He was governor of Croatia when the revolution of 1848 broke out in Hungary, and he commanded an army against the revolutionists.
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, prepared to move against Hungary, Kossuth became head of the Hungarian government of national defense. His government withdrew to Debrecen before the advance of the Austrians under Alfred WindischgrätzWindischgrätz or Windisch-Grätz, Alfred, Fürst zu
, 1787–1862, Austrian field marshal. He was military governor of Bohemia when the revolutions of 1848 broke out in the Hapsburg empire.
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. In Apr., 1849, the Hungarian parliament declared Hungary an independent republic and Kossuth became president. The Hungarians won several victories, but in 1849, Russian troops intervened in favor of Austria, and Kossuth was obliged to resign the government to General GörgeyGörgey, Arthur
, 1818–1916, Hungarian revolutionary general. He fought the Austrians in 1848–49 as a commander of the Hungarian republican army and distinguished himself as a strategist.
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. The Hungarian surrender at Vilagos marked the end of the republic. Kossuth fled to Turkey. He visited England and the United States and received ovations as a champion of liberty. Kossuth lived in exile in England and (after 1865) in Italy. He was dissatisfied with the Ausgleich [compromise] of 1867, by which the Austro-Hungarian MonarchyAustro-Hungarian Monarchy
or Dual Monarchy,
the Hapsburg empire from 1867 until its fall in 1918. The Nature of Austria-Hungary

The reorganization of Austria and Hungary was made possible by the Ausgleich
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 was created, and he refused an offer of amnesty in 1890. After his death at Turin, Italy, his body was returned to Budapest and buried in state.

Bibliography

See biography by P. C. Headley (1971); I. Deak, The Lawful Revolution (1979).

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