|Representative of the Prince of Serbia|
22 April 1852 – 26 March 1853
|Preceded by||Avram Petronijević|
|Succeeded by||Aleksa Simić|
|President of the Ministry of Serbia|
21 October 1861 – 15 November 1867
|Preceded by||Filip Hristić|
|Succeeded by||Jovan Ristić|
January 28, 1812|
Garaši, Ottoman Empire
|Died||June 22, 1874
He is remembered for being the first Serbian politician that had a genuine political programme, working to replace the Russian protectorate over Serbia, with the joint service to all European great powers.
Ilija was born in Garaši, the son of businessman Hadži Milutin Savić-Garašanin, a Serbian revolutionary and member of the National Council of Serbia, his mother was Pauna Loma, the sister of voivode Arsenije Loma.
Ilija was homeschooled with private teachers, he went to a Greek school in Zemun, and was for a time in Orahovica where he learnt German. He helped his father in business. Prince Miloš Obrenović puts him in governmental work, appointing him customs officer in Višnjica, on the Danube and later Belgrade. After serving in the regular army, Knez Miloš promoted him to colonel in 1837, he commanded the regular army and military police.
His father was part of the Defenders of the Constitution, who managed to overthrow Miloš Obrenović, appointing in his place Aleksandar Karađorđević, the son of Karađorđe, who was killed by Obrenović. In 1842 his father and brother are killed in fights with Knez Mihajlo. Toma Vučić, his father's colleague and Interior minister, appointed Ilija his assistant, and in 1843, when Toma is exiled by Russia, he becomes the new Minister of the Interior. The primacy Garašanin gave to inter-state consideration is most clearly elaboarated in his 1844 Načertanije (Draft), which he wrote a year after he got the new post. The ideas expressed in the draft guided his policies throughout his career, but was never implemented. Though Načertanije became a 19th-century statement on the Serbian nation and its vital interests, it remained secret until 1906. Although written by a statesman and politician identifying Serbian needs with those of the new Principality, Garašanin was strongly influenced by broader views of the Polish émigré Adam Jerzy Czartoryski and his advisers, as well as French and British attitudes toward nationality and statehood. Ideologically, Garašanin combines in his Načertanije the German and French models of a nation, politically, he is attempting to balance the interests of the present Serbian state with contemporary demographics (the fact that very many Serbs were then still living under the yoke of the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires) and past, medieval possessions in Old Serbia (i.e., present-day Kosovo and Metohija, and Macedonia). Because Načertanije was a secret document (released in 1906) it could not have had an impact on national consciousness at the popular level, at least not in the 19th century.
Of all the Serbian politicians Garašanin's view had not only the greatest breadth but also the most realism with respect to the national problems of both Serbia and other neighbouring states in 1848. The time of great uprisings against the Turks was on the wane then, and the role of opposition to the Turks was assumed by the recently created Balkan states. Garašanin perceived that such a role could be assumed by a modern bureaucratic administration—modern for Serbia and for the Balkans—for it was harsh, arbitrary, and rapacious. It was a matter of superimposing a European model on the chaotic orient and on but recently liberated and still-self-willed and defiant Balkan people. But the model was a suitable one in that it did unite and ensure some measure of order and stability. Serbia was to spend half a century, if not longer, in that mold, until new forces and new tasks came along to undo it.
It was in this bureaucratic Serbia that Garašanin had to tackle events on a daily basis.
But the effective scope of Garašanin's activities extended beyond the Serbian border and opened a way to the future. One felt in Garašanin the irrepressible pulsation of the but recently pacified uprisings, but also a sober program for an effective administration and free trade. His strength was all the more apparent in the light of Prince Alexander's impotence for the Prince merely reflected the glory of his great father Karađorđe. You best see the state of affairs, you are the greatest friend of the Serbian people, and everything else is but triffling and trivial, Petar II Petrović Njegoš wrote to Garašanin toward the close of 1850. Njegoš also had a personal, intimate feeling for Garašanin, engendered by the force of spontaneous attraction great men have for one another. Though they never met, and the only real contact they had centered around the year 1848, Njegoš felt close enough to Garašanin to confide to him his personal troubles, which the latter would understand were also the obstacles to their common aims. Njegoš's letter, dated July 5, 1850, read as follows:
Thanks to the Illustrious Prince and Sovereign and to you, his councillor, for whatever thought you may from time to time lend this bloody Serbian crag. This will win you the honour of posterity when our people are raised up in spirit....I have been very ill.... I have been in Italy.... got steadily worse.... was completely worn out, and so necessity and councel prevailed and I returned to our native clime after a month. I feel rather better, but I am still weak.... My dear and estimeed Mr. Garašanin, as backward as our Serbian state of affairs is in our country, it is no wonder that I have been exhausted by this bloody cathedra to which I ascended by a curious chance these twenty years ago. Everyone is mortal and must die. I would be sorry for nothing now save for not seeing some progress among our whole people and for not being able in some way to establish the internal government of Montenegro on a firm foundation, and thus I fear that after me there will come back to Montenegro all those woes which existed before me, and that this small folk of ours, uneducated but militant and strong in spirit, will remain in perpetual misery. There is not a Serb who does more and thinks more for the Serbs than you, there is not a Serb whom Serbdom loves more sincerely and respects more than you, and there is not a Serb who loves and respects you more than I.
Just prior to the outbreak of the Crimean War, Garašanin faced another dilemma, equal in gravity with the previous one (the 1848 Revolution that took place in the Habsburg Empire). As minister for foreign affairs in 1853 Garašanin was decidedly opposed to Serbia joining Russia in war against Ottoman Turkey and the western powers. His anti-Russian views resulted in Prince Menshikov, while on his mission in Constantinople, 1853, peremptorily demanding from the prince Aleksandar Karađorđević, his dismissal. But although dismissed, his personal influence in the country secured the neutrality of Serbia during the Crimean War. He enjoyed esteem in France, and it was due to him that France proposed to the peace conference of Paris (1856) that the old constitution, granted to Serbia by Turkey as suzerain and Russia as protector in 1839, should be replaced by a more modern and liberal constitution, framed by a European international commission. But the agreement of the powers was not secured.
He wrote the Načertanije, a political document encompassing the goals to liberate the South Slavs and unifying Serbian lands.
Garašanin induced Prince Aleksandar Karađorđević to convoke a national assembly, which had not been called to meet for ten years. The assembly was convoked for St Andrew's Day 1858, but its first act was to dethrone Prince Aleksandar and to recall the Prince Miloš Obrenović. After the death of his father Miloš (in 1860) Prince Mihailo Obrenović ascended the throne, he entrusted the premiership and foreign affairs to Ilija Garašanin. The result of their policy was that Serbia was given a new constitution, and that he obtained the peaceful withdrawal of all the fortresses garrisoned by Turkish troops on Serbian territory, including the Kalemegdan (1867).
Garašanin was preparing a general rising of the Balkan nations against the Turkish rule, and had entered into confidential arrangements with the Romanians, Albanians, Bulgarians and Greeks. But the execution of his plans was frustrated as in 1867 Garašanin was suddenly discharged, probably because he objected to the proposed marriage of Prince Michael and Katarina Konstantinović. His dismissal caused energetic protests of Russia, and more especially by the assassination of Prince Michael a few months later (the June 10, 1868). When the assassination took place, he was in Topčider and immediately went to Belgrade to inform the ministers about the assassination, measures were taken to preserve order. Last years of his life, Garašanin spent away from politics, on his estate in Grocka.
Ilija Garašanin was very conservative in internal politics. He believed that bureaucracy was the only way for administration to work. In foreign politics, he was the first pro Yugoslavia statesman among Serbs. He considered that only great Yugoslav state can maintain its independence from both Russia and Austria. Garašanin left behind a vast (still not published) political correspondence. He certainly was one of the most gifted statesmen whom Serbia had in the 19th century.[peacock term]
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press
- Petar II Petrović Njegoš, Cjelokupna djela, edited by Danilo Vušović, 2nd edition (Belgrade, 1936). In addition to his literary works, this volume contains a collection of letters, including the one to Garašanin, by Njegoš.
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