Josip Vošnjak

Last updated
Josip Vosnjak in the 1870s Josip Vosnjak.jpg
Josip Vošnjak in the 1870s

Josip Vošnjak (4 January 1834 – 21 October 1911) was a Slovene politician and author, leader of the Slovene National Movement in the Duchy of Styria, [1] one of the most prominent representatives of the Young Slovene movement.


He was born in a wealthy merchant family in the Lower Styrian town of Šoštanj, then part of the Austrian Empire. His father was a wealthy leather manufacturer and landowner. Josip grew up in a nationally indifferentiated environment; although his mother tongue was German, he was fluent in Slovene since childhood. [2] He attended the prestigious First Celje Grammar School, where he became involved in the Slovene national revival. He continued his high school studies in Graz and in Vienna. He studied medicine at the University of Vienna. After graduation in 1858, he practiced as a physician in his hometown for one year, and then in Ljubljana, Kranj, Slovenska Bistrica, Šmarje pri Jelšah, before finally settling in Ljubljana in 1872.

He entered politics in Kranj, under the influence of the national conservative leader Janez Bleiweis. He published several articles in Bleiweis'es journal Kmetijske in rokodelske novice . Upon returning to Styria in 1861, he became the leader of the Slovene National Movement in the Duchy of Styria. He was a fervent supporter of the idea of a United Slovenia, and was, together with Karel Lavrič, the crucial organizer of a series of mass rallies organized between 1867 and 1871 in support of the unification of Slovene Lands into one autonomous political-administrative entity. These rallies, known as the Tabori movement, which were modelled on Daniel O'Connell's monster meetings.

In 1867, Vošnjak was elected to the Styrian Provincial Diet, where he remained until 1878. During this time, he became one of the most radical members of the national liberal Young Slovene party. In 1868, he co-founded the newspaper Slovenski narod , which became the herald of Slovene liberalism until the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Between 1873 and 1885, he served as member of the Austrian Parliament.

After the death of his closest collaborator Josip Jurčič in 1881, Vošnjak's influence started to decline. He served as member of the Carniolan Provincial Diet until 1895, but his political activity was overshadowed by a new, much more radical generation of Slovene liberal politicians, such as Janko Kersnik, Ivan Hribar, Ivan Tavčar and Fran Šuklje.

Vošnjak was also a prolific author; he wrote many political articles and essays, as well as plays and short stories. He was a proponent of cooperatives both in banking and production. He was interested in spiritism, which he saw as a counterbalance to "soul-less capitalism". He was also a radical Anti-semite [3] and one of the first theorists of racial antisemitism in the Slovene Lands. [4]

He retired from public life in 1895, and moved to his estate Visole near Slovenska Bistrica, where he died in 1911.

Vošnjak wrote many articles on economic and political issues in progressive and nationalist journals such as Ljubljanski Zvon and Slovenski Narod ; he also wrote on issues of agrarian production, and more practical issues, such as medical advises.

Josip Vošnjak was the brother of the national liberal activist Mihael Vošnjak, the pioneer of cooperative banking in present-day Slovenia, and the uncle of the Yugoslav politician, diplomat and historian Bogumil Vošnjak.

Related Research Articles

Styria (Slovenia) Traditional region in Slovenia

Styria, also Slovenian Styria or Lower Styria, is a traditional region in northeastern Slovenia, comprising the southern third of the former Duchy of Styria. The population of Styria in its historical boundaries amounts to around 705,000 inhabitants, or 34.5% of the population of Slovenia. The largest city is Maribor.

Anton Aškerc

Anton Aškerc was an Slovenian poet and Roman Catholic priest who worked in Austria, best known for his epic poems.

Fran Levstik Slovenian writer

Fran Levstik was a Slovene writer, political activist, playwright and critic. He was one of the most prominent exponents of the Young Slovene political movement.

United Slovenia

United Slovenia is the name of an unrealized political programme of the Slovene national movement, formulated during the Spring of Nations in 1848. The programme demanded (a) unification of all the Slovene-inhabited areas into one single kingdom under the rule of the Austrian Empire, (b) equal rights of the Slovene language in public, and (c) strongly opposed the planned integration of the Habsburg Monarchy with the German Confederation. The programme failed to meet its main objectives, but it remained the common political program of all currents within the Slovene national movement until World War I.

Ulrich II, Count of Celje

Ulrich II, or Ulrich of Celje, was the last Princely Count of Celje. At the time of his death, he was captain general and de facto regent of Hungary, ban (governor) of Slavonia, Croatia and Dalmatia and feudal lord of vast areas in present-day Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Austria, and Slovakia. He was also a claimant to the Bosnian throne. This accumulation of power prompted his assassination by the hands of the Hunyadi clan which plunged Hungary into civil unrest that was resolved a year later by the sudden death of king Ladislas the Posthumous and the election of Matthias Corvinus, Ulrich's son-in-law, as king. Ulrich's possessions in the Holy Roman Empire were inherited by the Habsburg Emperor Frederick III, while his possessions in Hungary were reverted to the crown.

Slovene Lands

The Slovene lands or Slovenian lands is the historical denomination for the territories in Central and Southern Europe where people primarily spoke Slovene. The Slovene lands were part of the Illyrian provinces, the Austrian Empire and Austria-Hungary. They encompassed Carniola, southern part of Carinthia, southern part of Styria, Istria, Gorizia and Gradisca, Trieste, and Prekmurje. Their territory more or less corresponds to modern Slovenia and the adjacent territories in Italy, Austria, Hungary, and Croatia, where autochthonous Slovene minorities live. In the areas where present-day Slovenia borders to neighboring countries, they were never homogeneously ethnically Slovene.

Ivan Tavčar

Ivan Tavčar was a Slovenian writer, lawyer, and politician.

Bogumil Vošnjak

Bogumil Vošnjak, also known as Bogomil Vošnjak, was a Slovene and Yugoslav jurist, politician, diplomat, author, and legal historian. He often wrote under the pseudonym Illyricus.

Davorin Trstenjak

Davorin Trstenjak was a Slovene writer, historian and Roman Catholic priest.

Janez Bleiweis Slovenian politician

Janez Bleiweis was a Slovene conservative politician, journalist, physician, veterinarian, and public figure. He was the leader of the so-called Old Slovene political movement. Already during his lifetime, he was called father of the nation.

Andrej Einspieler

Andrej Einspieler was a Slovene politician, Roman Catholic priest and journalist, and one of the early leaders of the Old Slovene national movement in the 19th century. He was known as the "father of the Carinthian Slovenes".

Vasilij Melik was a Slovenian historian, who mostly worked on political history of the Slovene Lands in the 19th century.

Lovro Toman

Lovro Toman was a Slovene Romantic nationalist revolutionary activist during the Revolution of 1848, known as the person who in Ljubljana, at the Wolf Street 8, raised the Slovene tricolor for the first time in history in response to a German flag raised on top of the Ljubljana Castle. Later he helped founding one of the first Slovene publishing houses, the Slovenska matica. He was a Slovene national conservative politician and member of the Austrian Parliament. Together with Janez Bleiweis and Etbin Henrik Costa, he was part of the leadership of the Old Slovene party.

Dragotin Lončar

Dragotin Lončar was a Slovenian historian, editor, and Social Democratic politician.

Karel Dežman

Karel Dežman, also known as Dragotin Dežman and Karl Deschmann, was a Carniolan liberal politician and natural scientist. He was one of the most prominent personalities of the political, cultural, and scientific developments in the 19th-century Duchy of Carniola. He is considered one of the fathers of modern archeology in what is today Slovenia. He also made important contributions in botany, zoology, mineralogy, geology and mineralogy. He was the first director of the Provincial Museum of Carniola, now the National Museum of Slovenia. Due to his switch from Slovene liberal nationalism to Austrian centralism and pro-German cultural stances, he became a symbol of national renegadism.

Etbin Henrik Costa

Etbin Henrik Costa was a Slovene national conservative politician and author. Together with Janez Bleiweis and Lovro Toman, he was one of the leaders of the Old Slovene political party.

<i>Kmetijske in rokodelske novice</i>

Kmetijske in rokodelske novice, frequently referred to simply as Novice (News), was a Slovene language newspaper in the 19th century, which had an influential role in the Slovene national revival. For its first two years of publication (1843–1844) the newspaper's name was spelled Kmetijſke in rokodélſke novize, and from 1845 onward Kmetijske in rokodélske novice.

Young Slovenes

Young Slovenes were a Slovene national liberal political movement in the 1860s and 1870s, inspired and named after the Young Czechs in Bohemia and Moravia. They were opposed to the national conservative Old Slovenes. They entered in a crisis in the 1880s, and disappeared from political life by the 1890s. They are considered the precursors of Liberalism in Slovenia.

Janko Kersnik

Janko Kersnik was a Slovene writer and politician. Together with Josip Jurčič, he is considered the most important representative of literary realism in the Slovene language.

Municipality of Slovenska Bistrica Municipality of Slovenia

The Municipality of Slovenska Bistrica is a municipality in the traditional region of Styria in northeastern Slovenia. The seat of the municipality is the town of Slovenska Bistrica. Slovenska Bistrica became a municipality in 1994.


  1. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-09-10. Retrieved 2009-06-01.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-02-15. Retrieved 2009-06-01.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

Further reading