The Habsburgs ruled autocratically on almost all questions except taxation and relegated Hungary to the status of a colony, a factor that, together with other factors, stifled economic development. After more than a century of stagnation, the lesser nobles, under increasing economic pressure and prompted by nascent Hungarian nationalism, pressed for reform. The crescendo of discontent climaxed in the March 1948 revolution. Russian troops quashed the rebellion, enabling Austrian emperor Franz Joseph to impose absolute control for almost two decades.
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