Szechenyi, Count Stephen (sāˈchĕnyē) [key], Hung. Széchenyi István, 1791–1860, Hungarian politician. Influenced by his studies in England, he championed the modernization of Hungarian economic, social, and intellectual life and was the leader of the moderate liberal group in the Hungarian diet. His political and economic essays stimulated the development of liberal thought in Hungary. He was (1848) minister of transportation in the first revolutionary government of Hungary, but he resigned when an open break with Austria impended, and he opposed the nationalism of Louis Kossuth. In 1859, Szechenyi wrote a satire against the absolute rule of the Austrian minister Bach, incurring serious difficulties with the authorities. Szechenyi, who had suffered a mental breakdown once before, committed suicide.
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