Ion C. Brătianu

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Ion C. Brătianu
Ion C. Bratianu 01.png
Prime Minister of Romania
In office
July 24, 1876April 9, 1881
June 9, 1881 March 20, 1888
Preceded by Nicolae Golescu
Manolache Costache Epureanu
Dimitrie Brătianu
Succeeded by Dimitrie Ghica
Dimitrie Brătianu
Theodor Rosetti
Personal details
Born(1821-06-02)June 2, 1821
Argeș County, Wallachia
DiedMay 16, 1891(1891-05-16) (aged 69)
Kingdom of Romania
Political party National Liberal Party

Ion Constantin Brătianu (Romanian pronunciation:  [iˈon brətiˈanu] ; June 2, 1821 – May 16, 1891) was one of the major political figures of 19th-century Romania. He was the son of Dincă Brătianu and the younger brother of Dimitrie, as well as the father of Ionel, Dinu, and Vintilă Brătianu. He also was the grandfather of poet Ion Pillat.

Romania Sovereign state in Europe

Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe. It borders the Black Sea to the southeast, Bulgaria to the south, Ukraine to the north, Hungary to the west, Serbia to the southwest, and Moldova to the east. It has a predominantly temperate-continental climate. With a total area of 238,397 square kilometres (92,046 sq mi), Romania is the 12th largest country and also the 7th most populous member state of the European Union, having almost 20 million inhabitants. Its capital and largest city is Bucharest, and other major urban areas include Cluj-Napoca, Timișoara, Iași, Constanța, Craiova, and Brașov.

Dincă Brătianu

Constantin Brătianu, also known as "Dincă", was a Vlach boyar and politician. He was the father of the Romanian Prime Ministers Dumitru Brătianu and Ion Brătianu.

Dimitrie Brătianu Romanian politician

Dimitrie Brătianu (1818–1892) was the Prime Minister of Romania from 22 April to 21 June 1881 and Minister of Foreign Affairs from 10 April 1881 until 8 June 1881. He was the son of Dincă Brătianu and the older brother of Ion C. Brătianu.



Early life

Bratianu in 1848, detail of a group portrait of Provisional Government members I C Bratianu-1848.jpg
Brătianu in 1848, detail of a group portrait of Provisional Government members

Born to wealthy Argeș landowners in Pitești, the state of Wallachia, he entered the Wallachian Army in 1838, and in 1841 started studying in Paris. Returning to his native land, Brătianu took part, with his friend C. A. Rosetti and other young politicians (including his brother), in the 1848 Wallachian Revolution, and acted as prefect of police in the provisional government formed in that year.

Wallachia Historical and geographical region of Romania

Wallachia or Walachia is a historical and geographical region of Romania. It is situated north of the Lower Danube and south of the Southern Carpathians. Wallachia is traditionally divided into two sections, Muntenia and Oltenia. Wallachia as a whole is sometimes referred to as Muntenia through identification with the larger of the two traditional sections.

Paris Capital of France

Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris is one of Europe's major centres of finance, diplomacy, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts.

C. A. Rosetti Prime Minister of Romania

Constantin Alexandru Rosetti was a Romanian literary and political leader, born in Bucharest into the Princely Rosetti family.

The restoration of Imperial Russian and Ottoman authority shortly afterwards drove him into exile. He took refuge to Paris, and endeavoured to influence French opinion in favor of the proposed union and autonomy of the Romanian Danubian Principalities. In 1854, however, he was sentenced to a fine and three months' imprisonment for sedition, and later confined in a lunatic asylum; in 1856, he returned to Wallachia with his brother - afterwards one of his foremost political opponents.

Ottoman Empire Former empire in Asia, Europe and Africa

The Ottoman Empire, historically known in Western Europe as the Turkish Empire or simply Turkey, was a state that controlled much of Southeast Europe, Western Asia and North Africa between the 14th and early 20th centuries. It was founded at the end of the 13th century in northwestern Anatolia in the town of Söğüt by the Oghuz Turkish tribal leader Osman I. After 1354, the Ottomans crossed into Europe, and with the conquest of the Balkans, the Ottoman beylik was transformed into a transcontinental empire. The Ottomans ended the Byzantine Empire with the 1453 conquest of Constantinople by Mehmed the Conqueror.

Danubian Principalities

Danubian Principalities was a conventional name given to the Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia, which emerged in the early 14th century. The term was coined in the Habsburg Monarchy after the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca (1774) in order to designate an area on the lower Danube with a common geopolitical situation. The term was largely used then by foreign political circles and public opinion until the union of the two Principalities (1859). Alongside Transylvania, the United Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia became the basis for the Kingdom of Romania, and by extension the modern Romanian nation-state.

Sedition is overt conduct, such as speech and organization, that tends toward insurrection against the established order. Sedition often includes subversion of a constitution and incitement of discontent towards, or resistance against established authority. Sedition may include any commotion, though not aimed at direct and open violence against the laws. Seditious words in writing are seditious libel. A seditionist is one who engages in or promotes the interest of sedition.

Under Cuza and in the opposition

He was in favor of the Danubian Principalities' (Wallachia's and Moldavia) union, as a member of Partida Națională . During the reign of Alexander Ioan Cuza (1859–1866), Brătianu founded (in 1875) the National Liberal Party (PNL), until today a major political formation. Opposition to the land reform united the emerging Liberals and Conservatives against the Domnitor and his inner circle. Both parties comprised mainly landowners, and allied to block legislation in the Chamber - causing Cuza to impose his authoritarian government in May 1864. The two-party coalition, remembered as the monstrous coalition , opted for the removal of Cuza. Brătianu took part in the deposition of 1866 and in the subsequent election of Prince Carol of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, under whom he held several ministerial appointments throughout the next four years.

Moldavia principality in Southeast Europe between 1330–1859 (nowadays historical and geographical region in Romania, Moldova, and Ukraine)

Moldavia is a historical region and former principality in Central and Eastern Europe, corresponding to the territory between the Eastern Carpathians and the Dniester River. An initially independent and later autonomous state, it existed from the 14th century to 1859, when it united with Wallachia as the basis of the modern Romanian state; at various times, Moldavia included the regions of Bessarabia, all of Bukovina and Hertza. The region of Pokuttya was also part of it for a period of time.

The National Liberal Party was the first organised political party in Romania, a major force in the country's politics from its foundation in 1875 to World War II. Established in order to represent the interests of the nascent local bourgeoisie, until World War I it contested power with the Conservative Party, supported primarily by wealthy landowners, effectively creating a two-party system in a political system which severely limited the representation of the peasant majority through census suffrage. Unlike its major opponent, the PNL managed to preserve its prominence after the implementation of universal male suffrage, playing an important role in shaping the institutional framework of Greater Romania during the 1920s. Though initially opposed to the restoration of deposed King Carol II, it became increasingly supportive of his authoritarian policies, with PNL governments paving the way to a royal dictatorship in the late 1930s. Formally disbanded along all political parties in 1938, party structures were preserved unofficially, with many party members also enlisting in Carol's National Renaissance Front. Tolerated by the totalitarian government of Ion Antonescu, it eventually joined King Michael I and the Communist, National Peasants' and Social Democratic parties in overthrowing the dictator in the closing phase of World War II, enabling the reorganisation of the party in 1944. Part of the first post-war grand coalition governments, it lost its importance as the new Communist-led coalition government used the denazification process in order to remove PNL supporters from government posts. With the Communist-dominated government gaining the upper hand in local politics and starting to crack down on opposition, the party decided to cease political activity in the late 1940s, effectively disbanding itself. After the overthrow of the Communist party rule in 1989, a new party was founded under the same name and assumed the National Liberal legacy.

Land reform changes to land ownership

Land reform involves the changing of laws, regulations or customs regarding land ownership. Land reform may consist of a government-initiated or government-backed property redistribution, generally of agricultural land. Land reform can, therefore, refer to transfer of ownership from the more powerful to the less powerful, such as from a relatively small number of wealthy owners with extensive land holdings to individual ownership by those who work the land. Such transfers of ownership may be with or without compensation; compensation may vary from token amounts to the full value of the land.

Nonetheless, his very sinuous relationship with the new Prince was the source of several crisis situations. Notably, Brătianu would point to the benefits of a Republican project (which Rosetti and his left wing of the Liberal Party had never ceased advocating). Thus, when the experimental Republic of Ploiești was created in 1870 around a Liberal group, Ion Brătianu was arrested as the inspirational figure, but was soon released.

Republicanism is a representative form of government organization. It is a political ideology centered on citizenship in a state organized as a republic. Historically, it ranges from the rule of a representative minority or oligarchy to popular sovereignty. It has had different definitions and interpretations which vary significantly based on historical context and methodological approach.

Anti-dynasty cartoon, published in Ghimpele, 1872. Left panel: Alexander Ioan Cuza betrayed by Bratianu; right panel: Carol I, supported by Otto von Bismarck and Bratianu, feeding off of German influence and economic privilege CuzaGhimpele1872.PNG
Anti-dynasty cartoon, published in Ghimpele, 1872. Left panel: Alexander Ioan Cuza betrayed by Brătianu; right panel: Carol I, supported by Otto von Bismarck and Brătianu, feeding off of German influence and economic privilege

In 1871, the Liberals organized protests in favor of France - just defeated in the Franco-Prussian War - and implicitly against German Empire, the Conservatives, and Prince Carol himself. The weight of the moment showed the weaknesses of the Liberals, as well as Carol's resolution: the Prince called on Lascăr Catargiu to form a stable and reliable government. The change in tactics forced the Liberals to form their loose tendency as a real Party in 1875. Alongside several liberal tenets, the new formation took a further step towards advocating protectionism and persecution of Jewish Romanians (see History of the Jews in Romania ). In 1876, aided by C. A. Rosetti, Brătianu formed a Liberal cabinet, which remained in power until 1888 - this marked his coming to terms with Carol.

France Republic with mainland in Europe and numerous oversea territories

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

Franco-Prussian War significant conflict pitting the Second French Empire against the Kingdom of Prussia and its allies

The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War, often referred to in France as the War of 1870, was a conflict between the Second French Empire and later the Third French Republic, and the German states of the North German Confederation led by the Kingdom of Prussia. Lasting from 19 July 1870 to 28 January 1871, the conflict was caused by Prussian ambitions to extend German unification and French fears of the shift in the European balance of power that would result if the Prussians succeeded. Some historians argue that the Prussian chancellor Otto von Bismarck deliberately provoked the French into declaring war on Prussia in order to draw the independent southern German states—Baden, Württemberg, Bavaria and Hesse-Darmstadt—into an alliance with the North German Confederation dominated by Prussia, while others contend that Bismarck did not plan anything and merely exploited the circumstances as they unfolded. None, however, dispute the fact that Bismarck must have recognized the potential for new German alliances, given the situation as a whole.

German Empire empire in Central Europe between 1871–1918

The German Empire, also known as Imperial Germany, was the German nation state that existed from the unification of Germany in 1871 until the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1918.


The government took steps at taking the country out of its Ottoman vassalage; however, it differed from Conservatives in that they saw the main threat posed to Romania in Austria-Hungary. Liberals were of the generation that had truly brought Romanians in Transylvania to the country's attention; on the other hand, Catargiu had signed an agreement with the Austrian Monarchy that awarded it commercial privilege in Romania – while quieting its suspicion towards Romanian irredentism. Brătianu's government did not disturb this climate after the Russian alliance proved unsatisfactory, and the two parties resorted to assisting Romanian cultural ventures in Transylvania (until World War I).

He aligned the country with Russia as soon as the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878 began – with its chapter, the Romanian War of Independence. While Romania did emancipate itself from Ottoman tutelage, Brătianu had to accommodate a prolonged Russian occupation, and the Congress of Berlin saw Russia seizing counties of the Budjak that were still Romanian-owned (Romania was awarded Northern Dobruja in return). In 1881, the country proclaimed itself a Kingdom.

The Congress also pressured the Liberals to discard the discrimination policies, and the government agreed to allow Jews and Dobrujan Muslims to apply for citizenship (with a 10-year probation), but continued forbidding foreign-born people or non-citizens from owning land.

The Brătianu government introduced most modern reforms in the administrative, educational, economical, and military fields. It celebrated its main success in 1883, when the Liberals managed to have the 1866 Constitution of Romania amended – enlarging the number of electors and establishing a third electoral college, one that gave some representation to peasants and the urban employees. The move was not radical, and it served to obtain the Liberals political ascendancy: the very first elections under the new law brought them an overwhelming majority.

Ion C. Bratianu in later life ICBratianu.png
Ion C. Brătianu in later life

After 1883 Brătianu acted as sole leader of the party, owing to a quarrel with Rosetti, his friend and political ally for nearly forty years. His long tenure of office, without parallel in Romanian history, rendered Brătianu extremely unpopular, and at its close his impeachment appeared inevitable. But any proceedings taken against the minister would have involved charges against the king, who was largely responsible for his policy, and the impeachment was averted by a vote of parliament in February 1890.

Other activities

Besides being the leading statesman of Romania during the critical years 1876–1888, he attained some eminence as a writer. His French language political pamphlets, Mémoire sur l'empire d'Autriche dans la question d'Orient ("Account of the Austrian Empire in the Oriental Issue", 1855), Réflexions sur la situation ("Musings on the Situation", 1856), Mémoire sur la situation de la Moldavie depuis le traité de Paris ("Account on Moldavia's Situation After the Treaty of Paris", 1857), and La Question religieuse en Roumanie ("The Religious Issue in Romania", 1866), were all published in Paris.

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