After the Habsburg reforms in 18th century, many people moved to towns, because bond-service was no longer expected from them. The newcomers spoke Czech and this clashed with the ideas of completely Germanized townsmen. The situation led to a movement called National Revival that was supposed to retrieve the truly Czech culture. Writers and thinkers were putting a lot of emphasis on solidarity of Slavic nations which was to oppose the Austrian influence. It is commonly said, that Mary Theresa herself was responsible for the National Revival, because she made school attendance compulsory and therefore brought the Czech patriots out of the dark of illiteracy.
This era is especially important because it symbolizes the rise of Czech intellectualism. And Prague was the melting pot for all the patriotic opinions and actions. Linguists such as Josef Dobrovsky and Josef Jungmann, not only translated world-known authors into Czech - they enriched the language and insisted on purely Czech expressions. This is also the time when famous institutions like Prague’s National Museum, National Theatre or the Science Academy were established. The importance of national identity was accentuated by the biggest of Czech historians, František Palacký, who was also one of the first Czech politicians. At this time, the whole Europe was going through a series of revolutions.
At this time, the whole Europe was going through a series of revolutions. The famous year 1848 brought a more political aspect to a so far cultural movement. Czechs weren’t the only ones to “knock on Vienna’s door”. Hungarians were very radical about their autonomy and almost twenty years later succeeded in their goal – the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Czechs were hoping for a similar settlement, but all in vain. 19th century was an unhappy period, still it didn’t lead to defeatism. It brought first Czech politicians, free press and a clear vision of democracy. The country was only one step away from a becoming an independent state. One of the biggest anti-monarchists during the absolutist reign of Franz Joseph I was future president Thomas Masaryk.