Baron Alexander von Bach
|Portrait of Alexander von Bach (c. 1849) by Josef Kriehuber.|
|Interior Minister of the Austrian Empire|
28 July 1849 – 22 August 1859
|Monarch||Francis Joseph I|
|Prime Minister||Prince Felix of Schwarzenberg (1849–1852)
Count Karl Ferdinand von Buol (1852–1859)
|Preceded by||Franz Stadion, Count von Warthausen|
|Succeeded by||Count Agenor Gołuchowski|
4 January 1813|
|Died||12 November 1893
Baron Alexander von Bach (German: Alexander Freiherr von Bach; 4 January 1813, Loosdorf, Austria - 12 November 1893, Schöngrabern, Austria) was an Austrian politician. His most notable achievement was instituting a system of centralised control at the beginning of the reign of Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria.
His father held a judicial office. At the age of 24 he was made a doctor of laws, and then entered the Imperial service, where he remained for nine years. He served as Minister of Justice in 1848 and 1849 and then Minister of the Interior from 1849 to 1859. A well-known liberal lawyer, he was first called a "minister of barricades". Although he favored a departure from the absolute system of Metternich, Bach was not prepared to go so far as the Revolutionaries of 1848 wished. Popular opposition drove him into the conservative ranks: he gradually accepted conservative views, endorsing the centralizing constitutional program of Prince Schwarzenberg in March 1849, thus further inflaming Hungarian sentiments.
After the death of Schwarzenberg in 1852, he largely dictated policy in Austria and Hungary. Bach centralised administrative authority for the Austrian Empire, but he also endorsed reactionary policies that reduced freedom of the press and abandoned public trials. He represented later the Absolutist (or Klerikalabsolutist) direction, which culminated in the concordat of August 1855 that gave the Roman Catholic Church control over education and family life.
The pillars of so-called Bach system (Bachsches System) were, in the words of Adolf Fischhof, four "armies": a standing army of soldiers, a sitting army of office holders, a kneeling army of priests and a fawning army of sneaks. Prisons were full of political prisoners; for example during his administration, Czech nationalist journalist and writer Karel Havlíček Borovský was forcibly expatriated (1851–1855) to Brixen—exile undermined his health, so he died soon afterwards. This affair earned Bach a very bad reputation amongst Czechs and subsequently led to the strengthening of the Czech national movement.
Bach was created Baron (Freiherr) in 1854. He was also the guardian of Science Academy (Akademie der Wissenschaften) in 1849–59.
- Regarding personal names: Freiherr was a title, translated as Baron, not a first or middle name. Before 1919 preceding the first name, former titles are with people alive after 1919 dependent parts of the surname, thus preceding the main surname and not to be translated. The female forms are Freifrau and Freiin.
- Rothenburg, G. The Army of Francis Joseph. West Lafayette: Purdue University Press, 1976. p 33.
- "Bach, Alexander, Baron". New International Encyclopedia. 1905.
- Macho, Eva, Alexander Freiherr von Bach. Stationen einer umstrittenen Karriere (Frankfurt am Main u.a., Peter Lang, 2009) (Beiträge zur Neueren Geschichte Österreichs, 24).
- Ottův slovník naučný (Czech)
Franz Stadion, Count von Warthausen
|Interior Minister of the Austrian Empire
1849 - 1859
Count Agenor Gołuchowski