April Laws

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The April Laws, also called March Laws,[1] [2] 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 (Pressburg, now Bratislava, Slovakia)[3] and signed by king Ferdinand V at the Primate's Palace in the same city on 11 April 1848,[4] as a reaction to the Revolution of 1848. When the revolution was crushed by the help of Russian intervention in 1849, the new monarch Francis Joseph revoked the laws arbitrarily, and Hungary did not retain full external autonomy until the Compromise of 1867 which would later influence Hungary's position in World War I. During the negotiations of the Austro-Hungarian compromise in 1867, the April Laws of the revolutionary parliament (with the exception of the laws based on the 9th and 10th points) were accepted by Francis Joseph.

Twelve Points[edit]

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 Twelve Points". The so-called "Twelve Points" of reforemers became the ruling principles of the April laws.

  1. Freedom of the Press (The abolition of censure and the censor's offices)
  2. Accountable ministries in Buda and Pest (Instead of the simple royal appointment of ministers, all ministers and the government must be elected and dismissed by the parliament)
  3. An annual parliamentary session in Pest. (instead of the rare ad-hoc sessions which was convoked by the king)
  4. Civil and religious equality before the law. (The abolition of separate laws for the common people and nobility, the abolition of the legal privileges of nobility, the abolition of (Catholic) state religion)
  5. National Guard. (The forming of their own Hungarian national guard, it worked like a police force to keep the law and order during the transition of the system, thus preserving the morality of the revolution)
  6. Joint share of tax burdens. (abolition of the tax exemption of the nobility, the abolition of customs and tariff exemption of the nobility)
  7. The abolition of socage. (abolition of Feudalism and abolition of the serfdom of peasantry and their bondservices)
  8. Juries and representation on an equal basis. (The common people can be elected as juries at the legal courts, all people can be officials even on the highest levels of the public administration if they have the prescribed education)
  9. National Bank.
  10. The army to swear to support the constitution, our soldiers should not be sent to abroad, and foreign soldiers should leave our country.
  11. The freeing of political prisoners.
  12. Union. (With Transylvania)



  1. ^ Britannica article on March laws
  2. ^ The April Laws on net.jogtar.hu (hungarian)
  3. ^ March Laws (Hungary [1848]) - Britannica Online Encyclopedia
  4. ^ "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.
  5. ^ "március15". marcius15.kormany.hu. Archived from the original on 2017-09-17. Retrieved 2018-03-16.