Which Central/Eastern European multinational empire do you prefer?

Which Central/Eastern European multinational empire do you prefer?

  • Austria-Hungary

  • The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth


Results are only viewable after voting.
May 2014
15,537
SoCal
#21
And how different was the Austrian Empire of the 17th century from that of the A-H in the 19th? In fact, wasn't Austria part of the HRE in the 17th? If you are using the 17th century as your yard stick, the comparison isn't close. Most people with any choice would have preferred to reside in the PLC in the 17th century. It was probably the most enlightened place in Europe at that time.
Did the PLC also have serfdom like the Austrian Empire had?
 
Jul 2012
740
Australia
#25
The PLC is a case of "be careful what you wish for". The Polish aristocracy (the Szlachta) in the 14th century were successful in preventing the King developing a centralised state, like were emerging elsewhere in Europe. They managed to set up a democratic system for themselves (a larger proportion of the population than elsewhere) while autocratic systems developed elsewhere. Their grip on society was so strong that they could continually weaken the power of the King, and so lose the benefit of a power sharing arrangement and central direction; and lock out other classes from the power structure, undermining the structure of society when economic trends increasingly favoured commercial trade.

The A-H maintained central control and could concentrate resources to specific objectives, and the way the Empire came together, through the Habsburgs being elected the local ruler of the lands they acquired, maintained a diversified and balanced society. It was also better positioned geographically to access major trade routes. A-H succeeded where the PLC failed.
 
Jun 2014
5,535
US
#26
The PLC is a case of "be careful what you wish for". The Polish aristocracy (the Szlachta) in the 14th century were successful in preventing the King developing a centralised state, like were emerging elsewhere in Europe. They managed to set up a democratic system for themselves (a larger proportion of the population than elsewhere) while autocratic systems developed elsewhere. Their grip on society was so strong that they could continually weaken the power of the King, and so lose the benefit of a power sharing arrangement and central direction; and lock out other classes from the power structure, undermining the structure of society when economic trends increasingly favoured commercial trade.

The A-H maintained central control and could concentrate resources to specific objectives, and the way the Empire came together, through the Habsburgs being elected the local ruler of the lands they acquired, maintained a diversified and balanced society. It was also better positioned geographically to access major trade routes. A-H succeeded where the PLC failed.
Yes. The system within the PLC created such a weak monarchy and centralized rule that it did lead to the Partitions by its neighboring nations who had autocratic leadership and could thus remain strong, especially militarily, but also diplomatically and in the area of taxation - which helped to raise and maintain an army. So, ultimately, the polity of the PLC cost was its sovereignty. Initially, for the peasant, the change was probably negligible. From the mid 19th to the start of WW1, things became worse for most commoners in the Prussian/German and Russian sectors. But, for most of the Szlachta and in the few free people, the PLC offered freedoms and power virtually unheard of in the 17th and 18th centuries. I can't say the impact upon merchants and Jews in transitioning from the PLC to the Partitioned Lands.
 
Likes: macon
Mar 2016
727
Australia
#27
a fair amount of European history seems to involve Poland suffering at the hands of neighbors
And a hell of a lot more involved them waging wars of aggression against their neighbours to seize their land. Poland was no victim - have a look at the size of the PLC at its peak; you don't get to that size without a lot of war and conquest.
 
Dec 2017
578
-------
#30
Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was a confederation of two states. Kingdom of Poland (most territories of present day Ukraine and Poland) and Grand Duchy of Lithuania (territories of present day Lithuania and Belarus). Officially King of Poland was the headof confederation and he was elected. Second most important political person in confederation was Grand Lithuanian Chancellor who carried out functions of Grand Dukes of Lithuania prior to the formation of PLC. In reality the state was ran by powerful magnates most of which lived in what's today Belarus, north-western Ukraine, north-eastern Poland and eastern Lithuania. Both states had separate borders and border customs. Separate armies, separate constitutions and treasuries. Separate state languages and laws. Each member of PLC parliament could veto any drafted legislation and members were often bribed to do so unable to pass important laws. Politically , it was a loose confederation. Russians, Prussians and Austro-Hungarians meddled in PLC internal political affairs. In the end PLC was divided between other 3 empires.
 
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