IN THE EUROPEAN CRISIS
Habsburgs continued the unification and centralization of Austria proper, Bohemia and Hungary, and this aim seemed to have been attained under Maria Theresa and Joseph II. But the latter's radical and Germanising methods provoked opposition alike in Bohemia, Hungary and all the non-German provinces, and since his days history tells of the revival of the Austrian nations.
4. The opposition of the Bohemian aristocracy to Joseph II. was only the political side of a national revival. The whole of Europe awakened in the eighteenth century; it was the period of humanitarianism in philosophy and literature, the age of reason and free thought, the age of Rousseau, Kant and Paine. Absolutism could not oppose such a movement indefinitely, and even the absolutist monarchs of Austria, Prussia and Russia—Joseph, Frederick, and Catherine II.—paid their tribute to the age, and became "enlightened" despots. It was this European movement which worked for the revival of the Bohemian nation; for the principles of humanitarian philosophy and of the French Revolution, the principles of "Liberté—Egalité—Fraternité" were the natural outcome and continuation of the Bohemian Reformation and Chelcicky's religion of Fraternity. The suppression of the Jesuits sanctioned by the Pope himself, clearly showed the character of the general upheaval of thinking Europe.
Joseph II.'s Toleration Edict (1781) did not extend to the Hussites and the Brethren, who, therefore, had to join either the Lutheran or Calvinist Churches; but even this restricted freedom strengthened Hussite memories and promoted the national revival. Everywhere the masses were acquiring political rights, the courts and aristocracies were no longer able to keep the peoples in political and spiritual serfdom; democracy was born, and with it nationality became a political factor. It was the great humanitarian Her-