The inheritance of the east-European autocratic system frozen up by the communist state was thawed after the peaceful regime change, the constitutional revolution and its discrete components began to be reactivated. Liberal and conservative have become stigmas in many parts of the world, in line with fascist, reactionary, rightist, bourgeois etc. The attempts by both liberal and conservative advocates, however, to find historic predecessors did not favor an objective approach. Although several pioneering works have appeared on Hungarian liberalism and conservatism, there are no serious unbiased syntheses; the political poles of the constitutional revolution and the ensuing period have been described in terms of different conspiracy theories. Denes seeks objectivity by establishing distance from the enemy images and their political idioms current in today's eastern Europe. The book contains in depth exploration and analysis required for the portrayal of specific features of conservatism, its strategic vision, conceptual system, argumentation, assessment criteria and values.
Ivan Zoltan Denes is historian of ideas, Professor, Chair at the Department of Political Theory and History, Faculty of Jurisprudence and Political Science, University of Debrecen, Hungary.
Foreword Introduction Conservatism The Liberal Challenge: Nation-Building through Reforms The Conservative Answer: Law, Order, and Stability What to Preserve, What to Give Up, and What to Modernize?(1839-1842) Separation vs. Unification (1842-1843) Law and Order: Which Kind? (1843-1844) Journalists' Offensive: Issues and Arguments (1845-1847) Party Programs (1846-1847) Conservative Politics in Defense (1847-1848) Myth in the Making Epilogue Primary Sources and Literature Index