"We Want to be Citizens with Equal Rights". Gregorec's Proposed Language Act for the Protection of National Minorities of 1899

  • Janez Cvirn Oddelek za zgodovino, Filozofska fakulteta, Univerza v Ljubljani
Keywords: Austro-Hungary, national issues, language issue, Badeni Language Ordinances, Whitsun Programme, Lavoslav Gregorec


Since the beginning of his career as a Member of Parliament, Lavoslav Gregorec from Styria argued for the idea of "national autonomy" in the National Assembly many times, which was to be achieved by adopting an act implementing Article XIX of the Basic Act of 21 December 1867. He argued for the idea of national autonomy in more detail in his speech in the National Assembly on 3 May 1887 and then also on 17 April 1890. He restated his arguments in the time of the extensive "language discussion" in March and April 1898, encouraged by Thun's government. His ideas became more substantial when he prepared a draft "Language Act for the Protection of National Minorities", which he submitted to the National Assembly on 16 December 1899. His proposal was one of the most interesting attempts at solving the linguistic and national issues in the time of mounting national conflicts in Austria.