Peter I. Hidas (Dawson College, Montreal)





It is possible to identify Hungarian society in her economic dimension within the past one hundred and fifty years "as lying within one of five categories: the traditional society, the pre-conditions for take-off, the take-off, the drive to maturity, the age of high mass-consumption."1 The application of this Rostowian model to Hungarian society or, in other words, the discovery that developments in East Central Europe followed the pattern of other societies which were studied by Professor Rostow, provides a useful model for the re-examination of mid-nineteenth century Hungary.
Traditional agricultural society prevailed in Hungary for eight hundred years. The pre-conditions for take-off, the focus of our investigation, were realized from the 1820's to the 1870's. "The beginning of take-off can usually be traced to a particular sharp stimulus."2 The Compromise of 1867, a constitutional deal struck between Franz Joseph and Hungary political leaders, constituted this landmark. The drive to maturity lasted until the mid-twentieth century. Today's Hungarian society is on the threshold of the age of high mass-consumption.
During the pre-conditions for take-off the Hungarian nobility prepared and was prepared by external forces, the Viennese government and the Jewish community of Hungary, for a sustained economic growth. The Magyar political elite turned its thought to the nation proper and to the still larger international issues. A powerful motivating force in the transition was a reactive nationalism, reacting against intrusion from the more advanced Austrian economy and against regional interest, burgher and gentry, aristocratic and conservative, striving for an independent modern state. Before 1848 the Hungarian political leadership "wanted the fruits of modernization, but it was in fact weighted too heavily with interests and attitudes from the traditional past to do the things that needed doing to make a modern society."3 The mistakes comitted in 1849 lead the nation to the tragic defeat at Vilagos, to Magyar isolation in a Slavic surrounding, to increased peasant docility despite emancipation. "Then finally, there came into power, in a second transitional phase...a generation of men who were not merely anxious to assert national independence but were prepared to create an urban-based modern society."4 By the 1860's the Magyar elite, taking advantage of Austria's international difficulties, accepted the progressive social, economic and cultural reforms of both the neo-absolutist regime and of independent Hungary of 1848-1849 without the former's authoritarianism and later's revolutionary posture, economically allying themselves with a new economic elite, the Jewish middle classes, entered the take-off stage through the Compromise of 1867.
Four decades earlier the stage of preconditions arose not endogenously, but from external intrusion by economically more advanced societies. These intrusions, such as the rapid growth of the Jewish community in Hungary, the arrival of assorted commercial and industrial specialists and adventurers, as
well as the influx of western ideas of progress and the news of the first results of the industrial revolution, shocked the traditional Magyar society, both rural and urban, and began its undoing.5 The idea spread "not merely that economic progress is possible, but that economic progress is a necessary condition for some other purpose, judged to be good: be it national dignity, private profit, the general welfare or a better life for the children."6 New types of enterprising men came forward, in the private economy the Jewish merchants, in government, reform generation Magyars and Josephinsist liberal centralist Viennese civil servants, willing to mobilize savings and to take risks in pursuit of profit or modernization. From the 1830's banks and other institutions for mobilizing capital appeared in Hungary. Foreign investment increased notably in transport, communications and in primary extracting industries. The scope of commerce, internal and external, widened in direct proportion with the consolidation of the new middle class. And, here and there, modern manufacturing enterprises appeared once the Jewish entrepreneurs accumulated enough capital out of commerce to take advantage of new opportunities and local talents. But all this activity proceeded at a limited pace within an economy and a society still mainly characterized by traditional low-productivity methods, by the old structure and values and by the regionally based political institutions. 7
Nevertheless, the income above minimum levels of consumption, which until now had been largely concentrated in the hands of the land-owning classes, began to shift into the hands of those who spent it in a productive manner, either through re-investment in the economy or through the building of roads, railroads and schools by using the resources of the state. The former was done by the Jews of Hungary, the latter by Vienna. A substantial part of surplus income in agriculture was transferred to the modern sector. It was transferred out of the hands of those who would sterilize it in prodigal living, the nobility, into the hands of the productive men, members of the new middle class, who invested it in the modern sector and then regularly ploughed back their profits as output and productivity rose. 8 Investment rate gradually outstripped population growth. From the 1860's risk capitals became available for industry, for cost-reducing inventions, especially in the milling industry. At the same time the members of the disintegrating guilds and freed peasants provided docile labour. The rapidly growing extracting industries and, for the first time, tax-paying nobles provided a good base for the servicing of a new infrastructure. Rising rural incomes and prospering middle classes contributed to the growth of the domestic market. The modernization of Hungary began. The pre-conditions for take-off were created by the reform generation Magyar nobility, the Austrian Josephinist Habsburg civil service headed by the liberal centralist ministers of Franz Joseph and the new Hungarian middle class, predominantly Jewish. The essence of this process, the birth of a commercial social class, its dispersal into every corner of the country and their take-over and rapid development of commerce in the towns of Hungary, in short, urbanization, can be demonstrated quantitatively. Despite the limitations imposed by the limited availability of demographic data, a statistical analysis shall clearly show the validity of our model. The two other features of Hungarian capitalism, the servicing role of the Magyar and Viennese political elite, had been amply demonstrated by historian in the past and thus require no repetition here.


Even a cursary examination of the demographic data of our period will show the migration of Jews to towns. But can one equate such development with modern urbanization? If it can be demonstrated that the Jewish community in Hungary was primarily a merchant community, then one may assume that influx of Jews into towns will signal corresponding commercial activity.
According to the Census of 1857 1.37% of the population of Hungary were traders. The figure climbed to 1.57% by 1869.9 National figures for the Jewish community are not available for the corresponding periods but samples are. In the town of Pest 59.50% of the Jewish breadwinners were traders, 18.05% were craftsmen and manufacturers, 9.41% were professionals and 13.04% were workers in 1846. In the same year the ratio of merchants was 64.38% in Buda, 32.35% in Obuda, 69.81% in Szekesfehervar, 44.61% in Komarom, 62.70% in Szabadka and 51.32% in Szeged. In the counties the ratio was as follows: Turoc, 37%; Nograd, 54%; Somogy, 42%; Szepes, 29; Bereg, 9%; Borsod, 56%.





TUROC 70 48 47 25 0 190
NOGRAD 547 174 85 109 91 1006
SOMOGY 435 278 21 63 251 1048
SZEPES 127 83 148 78 0 436
BEREG 122 270 708 77 209 1386
BORSOD 720 331 105 146 33 1278
BIHAR 296 197 170 82 14 759
CSANAD 240 70 20 40 0 370
TORONTAL 319 79 39 43 0 480
KRASSO 105 50 4 21 0 180
VEROCZE 12 12 6 7 0 37
SZEREM 56 1 2 3 0 62
ZAGRAB 85 30 4 29 0 48
VARASD 34 12 16 9 0 71

TOTAL 3168 1635 1375 732 598 7351

PEST 1948 591 0 308 427 3274
BUDA 207 84 0 25 4 320
OBUDA 176 344 3 21 0 544
SZEKESFEH. 37 10 0 6 0 53
KOMAROM 87 62 1 45 0 195
SZABADKA 149 54 10 24 0 237
SZEGED 117 63 3 18 27 228

TOTAL 2721 1208 17 447 458 4851

HUNGARY'57 66788 588283 2267877 162147 1141164 4875972

HUNGARY'69 119305 746853 3690509 167143 2512387 7620315

A decade earlier, according to Bacskai and Nagy11 who examined 58 market centres, 34% of the Jewish households were supported by trading, however, they list 50% of the Jewish households under the category "occupation unknown." Many family heads in this category may have been persuing commerce and/or commerce related occupations. The innkeepers, 3% of the Jewish households, should have also been included in the business category. In the same 58 towns 3.4% of the
non-noble population, that is the vast majority of the urban dwellers, was engaged in trading. In 1827 19% of them were Jewish. In certain categories of towns, according to Bacskai and Nagy, more than half of the merchants were Jewish. They were particularly influential in the grain trade (47%) and the leather trade (67%). Most hawkers, 90% of them, were Jewish. Bacskai and Nagy's data shows the importance of Jews in commerce in the late 1820's and demonstrate tendencies in the occupational profile of the Jewish population of Hungary. Their calculations once used in conjuction with the data provided by the Jewish Calendar of 1848, at least indicate, if not yet prove, the correctness of our original assumptions.
Since no reliable and comprehensive information is available on the distribution of the occupations amongst other religions, our inquiry is forced to use an indirect approach, the statistical method of correlation, to strengthen or weaken the original theses. If positive correlation can be established between the merchant profession and the Jewish community and an absence of correlation or negative correlation between the Gentile population and the urban traders of Hungary, and, at the same time, significant general increase of the urban Jewish population can be demonstrated, in the absence of any other universally applicable factor, any increasing business activity in the towns and the resulting transformation of the character of the towns can be explained with the presence and, especially, the influx of Jews. Major social and economic transformations may be detected then in the process of hidden urbanization in mid-19th century Hungary.


a) Scattergram and Pearson's "r"

A statistical method, the bivariate correlation, which will be employed here, provides a single number which summarizes the relationship between two variables. This number, called correlation coefficient, indicates the degree to which variation (change) in one variable, such as a religious group, is related to variation in another, such as the merchant class. A correlation coefficient not only summarizes the strength of association between a pair of variables, but also provides an easy means for comparing the strength of relationship between one pair of variables, for example, merchants and Catholics, and a different pair, like Jews and Uniats.12
The use of scattergrams and the Pearson product-moment correlation (r) will produce a clear picture of such relations. A scattergram is a graph of data points based on two variables, where one variable defines the horizontal axis and the other defines the vertical axis. The values of the variables for any given case serve as the coordinates of the point representing that case. Scattergrams, however, often suffer from excessive detail. One way to reduce the detail is to draw a straight or curved line through the scattergram in such manner that it approximates the pattern of points.13 The line of best fit is the one in which the vertical distances of all the points from the line are minimized. The line itself is called the regression line.14
In social science research it is unusual to find a straight regression line which perfectly fits the data. Occasionally, the true relationship does not quite fit the curve being drawn or because of errors or imprecisions in collection of the data, a measure of the "goodness of fit" of the regression
line is used to compensate for these errors. The Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient, symbolized by "r", serves this purpose for linear regression. When there is a perfect fit (no error), "r", the regression coefficient, takes on the value of +1.0 or -1.0. A negative "r" does not mean a bad fit, rather it denotes an inverse relationship. As X becomes larger, Y tends to become smaller.
The correlation coefficient can be determined through the use of Pearson's "r". Pearson's "r" serves as an indicator of the "goodness of fit" of the linear regression, and will also indicte the strength of the measure of association in the linear relationship between the two variables. If the value of "r" approaches +1.0 or -1.0, one can assume the presence of a strong linear relationship.
By squaring the Pearson's "r" one gets another statistic which is a more easily interpretable measure of association. The result is an indicator of the strength of relationship (r2) rather than direction of relationship (r) because r2 is a measure of the proportion of variance in one variable "explained" by the other. Variance is usually defined as a measure of the variability, or lack of homogeneity.15

b) Partial-Correlation Analysis

Partial correlation provides the researcher with a single measure of association describing the relationship between two variables such as merchants and a religious group, while adjusting for the effects of one or more additional variables, such as other religious groups, through the use of control variable(s).16
Partial correlation can aid the researcher in understanding and clarifying relationships between three or more variables. In addition it aids in the uncovering of spurious relationships and in the locating of intervening variables. A spurious correlation is defined in a relationship between two variables, Catholics and merchants, for example, in which Catholics' correlation with merchants is solely the result of the fact that merchants vary along with some other variable, Jews for example, who are, indeed, the true predictors of merchants. In this case, once the effects of Jews are controlled, that is held constant, Catholics no longer vary with merchants.17


In the absence of year to year population totals for the towns of Hungary a plotting of absolute birth and death figures will be employed for interpretation. It will be assumed that aggragate birth figures for a given community within a reasonable time period are reliable indicators of population changes. If, during such a time period, the crude birth rate (CBR), number of birth/total population, and the crude death rate (CDR), number of death/total population, of a community remain stable, any population increase of decrease will be due to net migration and can be determined for any given year within the given period from the corresponding birth figures. Major changes can be pinpointed within two years. Since the number of births in a given community cannot double or triple without the corresponding increase of women of childbearing age, the new population must be the result of immigration, on the other hand, when the number of births decline drastically, the explanation
should be sought in emigration and/or the aging of the population. Since population totals, in addition to births and deaths, are available for 1836 and 1869 the calculation of average natural birth and death rates and net migration becomes possible.
For example, the CBR of Borsod-Abauj-Zemplen County of Hungary was stable between 1836 and 1900. The number of births per thousand in 1836 and four census years were as follows:

1836 1870 1880 1890 1900
41.86 42.55 40.49 43.04 40.4318

Deviation from average is less than five per cent.



Urbanization can be defined as the removal of the rural and agricultural character of population and also as the growth of urban population at the expense of rural population. Urbanization closely parallels and is a direct consequence of the growth in G.N.P.19 Difficulty arises when one looks for a generally accepted definition of the word "town" or "city". Unfortunately, there is no agreement amongst scholars on what constitute a town. In this study three different defintions will be used; the legal definition as employed by Ludovicus Nagy in 1827, a modified legal definition of the so-called royal free towns and a modern definition of two contemporary Hungarian scholars. In establishing "degree of urbanization" the simple formula of urban population/rural population*100 can be employed.
In the Hungary of 1827, using the nineteenth century statistician L. Nagy's definition of town, the degree of urbanization by religion was as follows:20

Catholics Gr. O Prot. Jews total
towns 410,840 45,370 127,683 15,754 599,647
8% 5% 6% 8% 7%

market 782,578 140,014 526,300 55,653 1,504,545
towns 6% 14% 24% 29% 18%

market 314,288 24,551 90,326 16,896 446,061
towns 6% 3% 4% 9% 5%
villages 500,773 241,850 300,479 17,456 1,060,558

villages 3,067,906 519,993 1,123,438 85,721 4,797,058
2,000- 60% 54% 52% 45% 57%
total 5,076,385 971,778 2,168,226 191,480 8,407,869
Thus 30% of the Roman Catholics and Uniats, 22% of the Greek Orthodox, 34% of the Protestants and 46% of the Jews of Hungary lived in towns. Despite legal exclusion of Jews from many towns and the doubtful urban character of numerous towns the difference in the degree of urbanization between the Jewish and Gentile is significant. In case of the larger trading towns, often the centers of commerce, the ratio is two to one at the expense of the Gentiles except for the Protestants who held onto a strong second place. According to the census of 1869 the degree of urbanization in the "town" category of L. Nagy, the only place where data is available, increased from 8% to 9% for Catholics, decreased from 5% to 3% for the Orthodox, and increased from 6% to 7% for Protestants; an average decrease from 6.22% to 6.19% for all Gentiles while Jews doubled their degree of urbanization from 4.3 to 9%. Consequently, the conclusions of a recent study by Jehuda Don and George Magos stating that there was an overall rapid tempo of urbanization in Hungary between 1825 and 1869, require revision.21 Using a combination of corrected sources from Fenyes to the official census of 1869 the following results emerged: The population of Hungary without Transylvania and Croat-Slavonia was 8.1 million around 1836, 8.9 million around 1847 and 10.1 million in 1869. The initial increase was 10%, between 1847 and 1869 14% and 26% between the 1830's and 1869. The urban population, counting the 58 towns selected by Bacskai and Nagy, changed as follows:

total without Pest Gentile

1830's 781,619 714,831 745,428

1840's 856,983 +10% 770,183 +8% 816,412 +10%

1869 1,142,267 +33% 941,979 +22% 1,006,356 +23%

1836-1869 +46% +32% +35%
Gentile without Pest Population of Hungary
1830's 684,671

1840's 735,652 +7% +10%

1869 845,264 +15%

1836-1869 +23% +26%
There was no urban growth in Hungary outside of Pest if we discount Jewish internal migration. As a matter of fact, the Gentile population of the towns, except for Pest, grew 3% slower than the population of Hungary did. But since these towns actually grew 32% between 1836 and 1869, the compensation for the deficit plus the 6% surplus had to be contributed by the Jewish newcomers.


Urban Jews Urban Jews less Pest

1830's 36,191 30,160

1840's 40,571 +12% 34,531 +14%

1869 135,911 235% 96,715 181%


The Jewish population in the towns of Hungary more than doubled between the late 1840's and 1869. The growth was fastest in Pest but there was also a tendency to move from smaller towns to larger towns. A study of major and minor market towns yields the following results:

major towns minor towns total
no Jews

1830's 4 8 12
1840's 3 8 11
1857 0 1 1
1869 0 0 0
1% to 2%

1830's 1 7 8
1840's 1 7 8
1857 1 3 4
1869 0 2 2
3% to 6%

1830's 3 7 10
1840's 3 7 10
1857 5 6 11
1869 4 6 7
7% to 15%

1830's 6 1 7
1840's 3 2 5
1857 4 2 6
1869 6 4 10

1830's 0 5 5
1840's 1 5 6
1857 2 8 10
1869 2 4 6
In 1836 there were no Jews in 37.5% of the 42 towns counted (out of 58). By the end of our period, 25 of these towns had Jewish citizens of their own. No data is available on the remaining 13. There was a major decline of towns where the number of Jews was below the national average. In the major market towns the proportion of Jews surpassed this level and the number of minor towns where the size of the Jewish community was below the national average, dropped from 8 to 2. Two major towns with very large Jewish communities were in existence by 1857. However, the minor towns' largest communities began to decline after 1857. In the 1830's 29% of the towns examined (42) contained Jewish population above the national average. By 1869 ratio was 73% in the 25 towns with available data. In comparison the Gentile community showed little growth.

1828 1857 1869

Budapest 85,876 8,264 165,284 21,661 225,795 44,702
1.0% 4.3% 1.8% 5.6% 2.2% 8.6%

major (17) 284,378 8,318 182,093 28,331 397,772 46,801
3.3% 4.3% 2.0% 7.3% 3.8% 9.1%

minor (36) 269,090 12,953 296,799 29,450 286,173 43,602
3.1% 6.8% 3.2% 7.6% 2.7% 8.4%

TOTAL 639,344 29,535 644,176 79,442 909,740 135,105
7.4 15.4% 7.0% 20.5% 8.5% 26.1%

Gentile 8,609,780 9,191,262 10,600,967
Jewish 191,475 388,374 516,656
total 8,801,255 9,579,636 11,117,623

G=Gentile J=Jewish
The revolution and civil war of 1848-49 interrupted the process of urbanization in Hungary. Budapest registered a moderate growth but, suddenly, presumably for political reasons, the Gentile population abandoned the major market towns in large number. Jews replaced them. By 1857 seven out of 100 Jews lived in these towns instead of 4 per cent as was the case in 1828. By 1869 the share of Gentile urban dwellers improved only slightly, .6%, if compared with 1828. The Jewish population quintupled in 17 major market towns between 1828 and 1869; by 1869 over nine per cent of the Jews of Hungary lived there. The small Hungarian towns changed little in the 1830's and 1840's. The events of 1848-49 made no major impact on their growth. By 1870 they grew but more slowly than the country in general. Many groups left these towns to be replaced by about the same number of Jews. Over a period of 40 years in the 53 Hungarian market towns, the degree of urbanization of the Gentile population remained stationary. The growth of these towns was due entirely to the rapid urbanization of the Jewish community. The urban pupulation of Hungary during this period did not grow faster than the
rest of the country. But urbanization did take place. It was a hidden urbanization manifesting itself through a restructuring of the social facade of the towns.
Major population shifts within the Jewish community occurred from the late 1840's. Pest attracted the largest number of Jews. All towns which were commercial centers attracted the Jews, who tended, especially after 1857, to leave the smaller centers for larger ones and traditional communities for other, larger minor or major towns. Some of the families stayed less than a decade before moving to a larger community. A study of the Royal Free Towns with a population of more than 2000 in 1869 supports the above findings.

Summary Table

Average Proportion of People in Commerce
by City Size and Proportion of Jews
(number of cities, n, in bracket)

proportion city size average
of Jews to 6,000 6,000 to 20,000 20,000+

less than .73% .88% 1.44% .91%
5% (n=8) (n=7) (n=3) (n=18)

more than 1.40% 1.48% 2.08% 1.74%
5% (n=5) (n=5) (n=9) (n=19)

average .99% 1.13% 1.92% 1.32%
(n=13) (n=12) (n=12) (n=37)

A statistical analysis indicates that both city size and proportion of Jews have highly significant effect on the proportion of people in commerce. (p<.0001) [The analysis of variance F statistic of 28.7555 (for the effect of Jews) can be converted to an equivalent "t" statistic of 5.362 (at 33 df), which, in turn, can be converted into a correlation coefficient of r=.682 and r2=.465] Approximately 46.5% of the variation in the proportion of people in commerce can be attributed to the presence or absence of Jews in the Royal Free Towns in 1869.


The occupational profile of the Jewish community has been drawn above for the years before 1848, however, this cannot be repeated for the years following. It is unlikely that the community changed its economic profile significantly, nevertheless, change is always possible. Furthermore, there is hardly any information obtainable concerning the social, ethnic or religious origins of various occupational groups who lived in mid-nineteenth century Hungary. The Austrian and Hungarian governments, the Roman Catholic Church and individual statisticians, however, did concern themselves with the enumeration of peoples according to religious, ethnic and occupational affiliation. Since, in the early nineteenth century, there was often close relationship between one's religion,
ethnicity and profession an investigation into the relationship between religious affiliation and profession may yield useful indirect evidence concerning the social origins of capitalism in Hungary.
This investigation focused on the major religious communities of Hungary; Roman Catholic, Calvinist, Lutheran, Uniat, Greek Orthodox and Jewish, as well as people in industry and commerce in the 1830's, 1840's, 1857 and 1869. The research concerned itself with Hungary in general, the economic regions of Hungary, and the towns of Hungary, major and minor centers. The methodology has already been summarized.
No relationship was established between any religious group and urban craft or industrial occupation. That does not mean that no such relationship exists. However, it does mean that such relationship cannot be demonstrated with our statistical method. Small groups from a mentioned community may have, for example, captured the commanding heights of any one of Hungary's industries. Since industrial development picked up pace in the early 1860's, it is also possible that correlation is delayed. Correlation was found, however, between "merchants" and religious groups between the early 1830's and 1869. A study of 58 towns indicated substantial correlation between the presence of Jews and merchants: for 1830's r2=61. for 1857 76%, for 1869 92% with 0.00000 significance (chance ofr error). [r2 or coefficient of determination gives the proportion of variation in "Y" values which is determined, "explained by", or "caused by" the variations in X values. If r2 is between

.00 and .19, the correlation is negligable;

.20 and .49, the correlation is substantial;

.50 and .64, the correlation is high;

.65 and .80, the correlation is very high;

.81 and 1.00, the correlation is extremely high.]

The correlation is highest in 1869; 92% of the presence of merchants can be explained with the presence of Jews. For eleven counties in Transdanubia in scattergrams show only a negative correlation with Calvinists in 1836. In 1847 Jews and Lutherans seem to have equal influence in the merchant community but by 1869 only Jews and Catholics dominate. In the northwestern counties, Catholics and Jews dominated the merchant community but the "r" value increased for the Jews from .6 in 1836 to .93 by 1869. The Great Plain counties maintain the Jewish-Catholic dualism with some Lutheran input in 1857 and Orthodox input in 1869. Scattergrams yielded positive correlation in the case of towns:


The correlation between


Jews in 1836 is high (.60985)

Roman Catholics 1836 high (.61575)

Jews 1857 very high (.76337)

Roman Catholics 1857 substantial (.45544)

Uniats 1857 substantial (.49328)

Jews 1869 extremely high (.91686)

Roman Catholics 1869 very high (.68615)

In the 17 major centers in 1836 the merchant-Catholic relationship is 64%, the Jewish only 32%. In 1857 and 1869 only the Catholics and the Jews seem to keep the relationship. In the minor centers, the scattergram results indicate some influence of the Greek Orthodox in 1836 and 1869 and Catholic influence in 1869.
In the towns of southeastern Hungary, scattergrams show extremely high correlation between merchants and Greek Orthodox but the results are reversed by 1869 showing only correlation between Jews and merchants to the tune of 96%. On the Great Plain Jews and Catholics are the most influential in 1836 and 1869 but there seems to be some Orthodox and Uniat influence in 1857. In Transdanubia Catholic and Jewish influences are shown, but only in 1869. In the Northeast, the Catholics and the Jews are in the company of Calvinists in at least four towns' merchant communities.
With the aid of scattergrams interrelationships were established mainly among merchant, Jewish and Roman Catholic presences in towns. To refine the method of investigation "zero order partial correlation" was used. The temporary removal of the Jews from the triangle ("held constant") led to the destruction of the correlation between merchants and Catholics in 1847 (3 towns), in 1857 (16 towns) and 1869 (20 towns). This was not the case in 1836 when the presence of Jews simply reduced the influence of Catholics from 66% to 37%. The use of the same method pointed towards a spurious relationship between Lutherans, Greek Orthodox and merchants both in the counties and the towns. The Uniats suffered the same fate. Their connection to the merchant class was due to the co-presence of Catholics or Jews. Calvinists maintained some influence, according to the zero order correlation method at least in the countryside as late as 1869.

Zero Order Correlation
Jews and Merchants TOWNS
controlling for

Catholics Cal. Luth. Or. Uniat

1836 (47) .4578 .5983 .5942 .5119 .6011

1857 (16) .9454 .9696 .9629 .9683 .9942

1869 (19) .9650 .9935 .9840 .9928 .9942
Thus by 1857 the presence of merchants and the presence of Jews in the towns of Hungary became completely interdependent. In the 1830's and the 1840's there was already connection between the variables, however the presence of other groups, especially the Catholics, shows moderate correlation. There are regional differences also. The towns of the Great Plain show faster growing Jewish-merchant dualism than other regions. Fourteen towns indicate a 84% correlation in the 1830's. In the southeast and in Transdanubia the correlations appear only in 1869 but by then it is 98% and 96% respectively. For the case of the northeast, 82% by 1869 from 68% in the 1830's. The major market towns show a stronger correlation between Jews and merchants than the minor market towns.


Between 1830 and 1870 Hungary entered the path of rapid urbanization. This process was not restricted to the largest Hungarian town, Pest, but became universal in the major and minor urban centers of the country. Except for Pest, the total population of the towns grew slowly, if at all. Increases were frequently smaller than the growth of the country in general. Nevertheless, urbanization did take place and since it is not self-evident from general demographic data, it may be labelled "hidden urbanization".
Hidden urbanization meant a fundamental change in the social composition of the towns. Certain groups abandoned the towns and were replaced by a prominent Jewish community. This community became the yeast for capitalist development because the majority of their breadwinners were free merchants, the rest having mainly other urban-type occupations. The change was a rapid one, taking place in the 1850's and intensifying in the 1860's. There was no other group that participated in this development besides the Jews whose role in the commerce of Pest further strengthen our thesis. The Jewish community took a fundamental, if not exclusive role, in the general urbanization of Hungary and, at the same time, provided the economy with the most important source of domestic capital accumulation, commerce. By 1867, when Hungarians began to direct their own affairs again, they had in their midst a new middle class with whom they had a chance to build a modern economy.





1 W. W. Rostow, The Stages of Economic Growth; A non-Communist Manifesto. (Cambridge: at the University Press, 1967): 4.

2 Ibid., 36.

3 Professor Lawrence Barss quoted by Rostow, 30.

4 Ibid.

5 Ibid., 6.

6 Ibid.

7 Ibid., 7.

8 Ibid., 19.

9 A magyar korona orszagaiban az 1870. eve elejen vegrehajtott nepszamlalas eredmenyei a hasznos hazi allatok kimutatasaval egyutt. Pest: Az Orszagos Magyar Kir. Statisztikai Hivatal, 1871, cited hereafter as Census 1870.

10 Henrik Pollak, Adatok a magyar izraelitak statisztikajahoz; Elso magyar zsido naptar es evkonyv 1848-ik szokoevre, (Pest, 1848), cited hereafter as Jewish Calendar 1848. The 1857 and 1869 figures are from Census 1870.

11 Vera Bacskai and Lajos Nagy, Piackorzetek, piackozpontok es varosok Magyarorszagon 1828-ban (Manuscript). I was able to use, with the kind cooperation and permission of the authors, the original manuscripts. (Budapest: Akademiai Kiado, 1984). See also "Piackorzetek a XIX. szazad elejei Magyarorszagon, Ethnographia 89, No.2 (1978): 217-230; in English "Market Areas, Market Centres and Towns in Hungary in 1828", Acta Historica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 26 (1980): 1-26.

12 Norman H. Nie et al., SPSS; Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (Second Edition, New York: McGraw-Hill, 1975): 276.

13 Ibid., 277.

14 Ibid., 278.

15 Ibid., 279.

16 Ibid., 302.

17 Ibid., 303.

18 A nepmozgalom fobb adatai kozsegenkent 1828-1900; VI. kotet: Borsod-Abauj-Zemplen megye, Moskolc, Heves Megye ed. Andras Klinger (Budapest: Kozponti Statisztikai Hivatal, 1979).

19 P. Bairoch, "Urbanization and Economic Development in the Western World: Some Provisional Conclusions of an Empirical Study", Patterns of European Urbanization since 1500, ed. H. Scham (London, 1981), 61-75.

20 Agnes B.Lukacs, Magyarorszag nepessege torvenyhatosagok szerint az 1820-as evekben, (Budapest: KSH, 1979.)

21"A magyarorszagi zsidosag demografiaja," Tortenelmi Szemle 28, No.3 (1985): 445.

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