Deak, Francis, Hung. Deák Ferencdĕ´äk fĕ´rĕnts [key], 1803–76, Hungarian politician. A landed proprietor and lawyer, he entered the Hungarian diet in 1833 and became minister of justice after the revolution of Mar., 1848. He vainly opposed Louis Kossuth, trying to prevent an open break with Austria, and upon his failure he withdrew from public affairs. After the defeat (1849) of the Hungarian revolutionists, Deak became the recognized leader of his nation. Though always advocating the continued union of Austria and Hungary, he insisted on the restoration of the Hungarian constitution of 1848, Hungarian territorial integrity, and the recognition of Hungary as a separate kingdom. The government of Emperor Francis Joseph having begun, in 1860, to seek reconciliation with Hungarian national sentiment, Deak in the diet of 1866 cooperated with Julius Andrássy in drawing up a report on a new constitution. This report was the basis of the negotiations (1867) between Deak and the Austrian chancellor, F. F. Beust, which resulted in the Ausgleich [compromise] establishing the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. Deak continued to act as a moderating force.
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