Page:The voice of an oppressed people.pdf/54

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outlined in The New Europe (No. 7). The only lasting result of the revolution was the liberation of the peasants; otherwise Francis Joseph returned to the old system. Only the name of Bach replaced the name of Metternich. The true spirit of this reaction was revealed in the Concordat with Rome. Austria was and is the land of the Counter-Reformation.

But defeat on the battlefields of Italy in 1859 taught Francis Joseph at last that absolutism, even on a military basis, was impotent and dangerous. The following year (1860) an advisory state council was summoned, and on 20 October the new constitution—the so-called "October Diploma"—was proclaimed as the "permanent and irrevocable constitutional fundamental law of the Empire." But already, in February, 1861, this permanent and irrevocable law" was superseded by a new centralist constitution, and as this was firmly opposed by the Czechs and all the non-German nations of Austria, absolutism was restored in 1865, this time in a slightly veiled form. At last, in 1867, yet another constitution was established in Austria, but both it and Parliament have, by their inherent conditions, proved to be far rather the helpmate of absolutism than a democratic check upon it. Austria up to the present day has really been ruled by the medieval theocracy. For a brief moment in 1848 the Parliament of Kremsier laid down the fundamental law, "All power proceeds from the people," and the Czech leader Dr. Rieger expounded this theme in one of his best speeches. But ever since this short-lived child of the revolution was dismissed and its home occupied by Austrian soldiers each successive constitution in Austria has been not a democratic achievement, but the personal gift of Francis Joseph, designed as a cloak for theocratic monarchism, which claims to possess superhuman and divine rights.

6. The year 1866 wrought a great change; the Habs-