Historical Narrative as Politics: An Analysis of Images of the Past in Political Programs of the Slovak National Mov

Historická narácia ako politický program. Analýza obrazov minulosti v programových textoch slovenského národného hnutia z rokov 1848 a 1861

The author analyzes the program documents of the Slovak national movement as historiographical sources. He focuses on historical thinking of Slovak patriots in the year of revolution 1848 and then in the early 1860s. He compares the two fundamental political documents of the national movement, namely the "Requests of the Slovak Nation" (1848) and the "Memorandum of the Slovak Nation" (1861). In the later the Slovak politicians proposed a fundamentally different discourse in comparison to the "Requests" (1848). Its most important feature is that Hungarians are no longer represented as the oppressors of the Slovak nation. The primacy of the Slovak history over the history of the Magyars is expressed in the "Memorandum" only as a matter of chronology: the Slovaks have occupied the territory of the later Kingdom of Hungary for a long time before the Magyars. The arrival of the latter in the 10th century, however, was not considered a tragedy - on the contrary, according to the authors of the "Memorandum" it was followed by a harmonious coexistence of the two nations. Thus the motive of the "hundreds of years lasting national oppression" that was prominently featured in the 1848's "Requests" was abandoned altogether by the early 1860s. The author also has analyzed the "Declaration of Matica slovenská" (1863) and other period documents of the Slovak national movement to confirm that the abandonment of the "oppression" motive was a deliberate political strategy. Based on wider national ideology context of the period. He emphasizes that the images of the past in political (ideological) documents have to be analyzed in narrow context of actual political or ideological objectives pursued by their authors.