Belgian Liberties and Loyalty to the House of Austria

  • Jan Roegiers


In the Austrian Netherlands, politicians and historians wrote about the particular characteristics of their country. Until 1787 their ideas on the identity, unicity and autonomy of the Austrian Netherlands did not interfere with their loyalty to the legitimate sovereign, heir of the Dukes of Burgundy and of Charles V, who had united these territories under their rule. Joseph II’s uniformizing policy led to an open struggle for the defence of the national liberties. In this struggle, Conservatives, who supported traditional freedoms teamed up with enlightened Democrats, who were striving for the sovereignty of the people. The liberties of the nation were considered to prevail over dynastic loyalty and justified a national revolution.


Governor General United Province Ancien Regime Individual Province Charles Versus 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1998

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  • Jan Roegiers

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