Taaffe, Eduard, Graf von

Taaffe, Eduard, Graf von āˈdo͞oärt gräf fən täˈfə [key], 1833–95, Austrian premier (1868–70, 1879–93), of Irish descent. A childhood friend of Emperor Francis Joseph, he was twice premier. Taaffe sought by a series of compromises to cope with the tempestuous crises brought about by the conflict of nationalities within the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He relied on an alliance of Slav and German conservatives against a liberal and nationalist German opposition. In 1879 he sought to conciliate the Czechs by granting limited recognition to Czech as a national language in Bohemia and Moravia. His efforts to reconcile the nationalities brought 14 years of relative calm and prosperity. However, he antagonized the liberal “Young Czechs,” who were rapidly gaining the upper hand in Bohemia, and other nationalities were only partly satisfied. Taaffe was forced to resign by a coalition of widely opposed interests when he presented an electoral reform bill granting a general and equal franchise.

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