W służbie dworu habsburskiego. Antoni Walewski (1805–1876)
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In the Service of the Habsburg Court. Antoni Walewski (1805–1876)In his young days, Antoni Walewski, a history professor at the Jagiellonian University (1851–1872) and a member of the Krakow Academy of Sciences (1875–1876) professed liberal and democratic views. He participated in the November Uprising and took active part in the work of the so called Great Emigration. Following the revolution of 1848, he changed his views, moving towards the extreme right as well as the monarchic political orientation. Thanks to it, in the year 1851, he was able to obtain the post of professor of history at the Jagiellonian University from the Austrian government. While holding this post, he acted in the spirit of Germanization of the Krakow university as well as the apotheosis of the Habsburgs. In his university lectures as well as in his numerous book publications, he proclaimed total condemnation of all democratic, freedom, liberal and revolutionary movements over the course of history, whereas he glorified autocracy, monarchic absolutism, and absolute prevalence of aristocracy and the Church in social life. His views had been violently opposed by all Polish historians: beginning with liberal democrats and ending with the conservatives. The source value of some of his publications – particularly those relating to the 17th century – is quite considerable, yet due to their philosophy, they were almost totally rejected already by the contemporaries, while today they seem to be almost entirely forgotten. It seems that A. Walewski’s loyalist attitude had been the result not only of his wish to represent the interests of a foreign power within the Jagiellonian University, but also of his deep inner conviction. That is why, in view of the almost total rejection which he had experienced from his contemporaries, he may be regarded as a somewhat tragic character.
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