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the power to make the ministers responsible to itself; and with its present organization it is highly unlikely that such a privilege would be won by the Prussian House of Representatives, without being obtained by the Reichstag as well. In this case, the functions of the Chancellor and the ministers might continue unchanged for a time; but even if the same party controlled both bodies, so that the executive officers were its instruments both in Prussia and the Empire, it is not probable that they would long hold themselves responsible to two separate assemblies. The Reichstag, as the representative of a wider public opinion, would gradually assume the decisive authority in national questions, and hence Prussia would either become merged in the Empire, or else her government would be confined to local affairs. In either event, the Chancellor would cease to be in any degree a Prussian officer, and would acquire a purely federal character. The Bundesrath also would suffer a severe loss of influence if the Chancellor became responsible to the Reichstag; and it has shown its appreciation of this more than once when it has objected to the creation of responsible federal ministers. The Chancellor would no longer speak to it as the delegate of Prussia, but as the representative of the Reichstag. In short, the Bundesrath would fall to the subordinate position occupied by the upper chamber in all countries with a parliamentary form of government. It would not only lose the legislative authority it now wields, but it would hardly be suffered to retain the power to make ex1 This it did in 1878 and again in 1884.
ecutive ordinances and regulations, and so direct the policy of the administration.
But all such changes are no doubt far in the future, and for the present the Reichstag must remain what it has hitherto been, not the directing force in the state, but nevertheless extremely valuable as an organ for the free expression of opinion and as a means of political education.
THE spirit of the French Revolution was in its essence humanitarian. It disregarded the narrow disnationality. tinctions of race and country, proclaimed the universal brotherhood of man, and offered to all the world the blessings of its creed. Yet the great political movements to which it gave rise have brought about an increase of race feeling so great that peoples of different blood can no longer live peaceably together under the same government, and the various branches of a race are unhappy until they are all covered by a single flag. Race, in other words, has become arecognized basis of nationality; and this has produced in Europe two new states, and loosened the bonds of two old ones. Within a generation, the ties of blood have united Italy and Germany; while England has gravely debated a plan for a partial separation between the Saxons and the Celts, and Austria has become very seriously disintegrated under the strain of racial antipathies.
The convulsions of 1848, with the fury of their political, their social, and their race movesions of 1848, ments, well nigh tore the Austrian monarchy organization in pieces. An insurrection in Vienna drove
and the re
the Emperor from his capital, and his Italian
and Hungarian dominions broke into open revolt; but with the help of Russian troops the revolts were at last put down, and for a while the crown was again omnipotent. The people, however, remained discontented, and although after the defeat of Austria by Napoleon III. in the Italian campaign of 1859 a number of political experiments were tried, they all failed to satisfy the different races, or to organize the monarchy on a permanent basis. The war with Prussia brought matters to a crisis, for Austria was sadly humbled, and the Emperor felt that if he would regain his position in Europe he must set his house in order and content his subjects. The task was not an easy one, and the Emperor took the extraordinary step of calling to his help a foreigner, Baron Beust, who had long been a minister of the King of Saxony. But, though a stranger, Beust understood the wants of the country better than his predecessors, and it was not long before he placed the government on a more satisfactory basis. The Italian provinces had already been lost by the wars of 1859 and 1866; with Hungary a new and peculiar relation, a sort of confederation, was now established; and for the rest of the Empire a constitution was framed which remains in force to-day. In this chapter the latter part of the monarchy alone will be considered. The next two will deal with Hungary and the joint government.
In order to understand the institutions of Austria, it is necessary to know something of its peculiar geography and ethnology. The official designation of the western half of the monarchy-which for convenience
I shall call simply Austria-is "the kingdoms and lands represented in the Reichsrath,"1 and
Geography and eththe name implies the utter lack of unity in nology of Austria. the nation. Austria is, in fact, a sort of residuum, consisting of all the territory which belonged to the Empire at the time of the compact with Hungary, and did not form a part of that kingdom. The country has a most irregular outline, touching the Lake of Constance on the west, extending on the north into the heart of Germany by means of the province of Bohemia, stretching one long arm eastward above and even beyond Hungary, and another far to the south along the coast of the Adriatic.
This curiously shaped state is divided into seventeen provinces, all enjoying extended political powers, and almost all the theatre of struggles between two or more of the different races.2 Some idea of the number of distinct races in the Empire can, indeed, be gathered from the fact that on the assembling of the Reichsrath, or parliament, it has been found necessary to administer the oath in eight different languages. Yet these include only a small part of the tongues
1 Cf. Staatsgrundgesetz über gemeinsame Angelegenheiten (Dec. 21, 1867), § 1, printed in Geller, Oesterreichische Verwaltungsgesetze, Bd. I. p. 12; Ulbrich, Oesterreich, in Marquardsen, p. 14. Gumplowicz contends that the use of the name Austria for the western half of the monarchy is correct. Das Oesterreichische Staatsrecht, p. 45, note 42.
2 I call these divisions provinces for the sake of simplicity. Technically, some of them are termed kingdoms, others grand-duchies, archduchies, duchies, counties, etc. Cf. Staatsgrundgesetz über Reichsvertretung, § 1; Geller, Bd. I. p. 78.
"Austria: its Society, Politics, and Religion," Baroness de Zuylen de. Nyevelt, Nat. Rev., Oct., 1891.