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Eduard Franz Joseph, 6. Graf von Taaffe, 11th Viscount Taaffe, of Corren, 11th Baron of Ballymote, in the Peerage of Ireland (24 February 1833, Vienna – 29 November 1895, Ellischau/Nalžovy) was an Austrian statesman. Contents 1 Family background and early years 2 Involvement in politics and first term as Minister-President 3 Second term 3.1 Election reform of 1882 3.2 Policies with respect to nationalities 4 Taaffe's character and overall assessment 5 Late years 6 Notes // Family background and early years He was the second son of Louis Patrick John, 5. Graf von Taaffe, 9th Viscount Taaffe (1791 - 1855), a minister of justice in 1848 and president of the court of appeal. As a child, Eduard Taaffe was one of the chosen companions of the young archduke, afterwards emperor, Francis Joseph. In 1852, he entered public service.[citation needed] By the death of his elder brother, Charles, (1823-1873), a colonel in the Austrian army, Eduard Taaffe succeeded to the Austrian and Irish titles. He married in 1862 Countess Irma Tsaky, by whom he left four daughters and one son, Henry. Involvement in politics and first term as Minister-President In 1867 Taaffe became governor of Upper Austria, and the emperor offered him the post of minister of the interior in Beust's administration. In June he became vice-president of the ministry, and at the end of the year he entered the first ministry of the newly organized Austrian portion of the monarchy. For the next three years he took a very important part in the confused political changes, and probably more than any other politician represented the wishes of the emperor. Taaffe had entered the ministry as a German Liberal, but he soon took an intermediate position between the Liberal majority of the Berger ministry and the party which desired a federalistic amendment of the constitution and which was strongly supported at court. From September 1868 to January 1870, after the retirement of Auersperg, he was president of the cabinet. In 1870, the government broke up on the question of the revision of the constitution: Taaffe with Potocki and Berger wished to make some concessions to the Federalists; the Liberal majority wished to preserve undiminished the authority of the Reichsrat. The two parties presented memoranda to the emperor, each defending their view, and offering their resignation: after some hesitation the emperor accepted the policy of the majority, and Taaffe with his friends resigned. Second term Count Eduard Taaffe The Liberals, however, failed to carry on the government, as the representatives of most of the territories refused to appear in the Reichsrat: they resigned, and in the month of April, Potocki and Taaffe returned to office. The latter failed, however, in the attempt to come to some understanding with the Czechs, and in their turn had to make way for the Clerical and Federalist cabinet of Hohenwart. Taaffe now became governor of Tyrol, but once more on the breakdown of the Liberal government in 1879 he was called to office. At first he attempted to carry on the government without change of principles, but he soon found it necessary to come to an understanding with the Feudal and Federal parties, and he was responsible for the conduct of the negotiations which in the elections of this year gave a majority to the different groups of the National and Clerical opposition. In July he became minister president: at first he still continued to govern with the Liberals, but this was soon made impossible, and he was obliged to turn for support to the Conservatives. Election reform of 1882 Count Taaffe is mostly remembered for his election reform of 1882, which reduced the minimum tax base required for males above 24 to vote to 5 guilders. Before this reform, the tax base was set locally, but usually at a considerably higher level, thus including only 6% of the male population of Cisleithania. However, even after his reform, there were still four classes of voters whose vote counted differently depending on how much tax an individual was paying. The next election reform was enacted in 1896 by Kasimir Felix Graf Badeni, who succeeded in enacting more radical reforms than Taaffe had achieved. Policies with respect to nationalities It was his great achievement that he persuaded the Czechs to abandon the policy of abstention and to take part in the parliament. It was on the support of them, the Poles, and the Clericals that his majority depended. His avowed intention was to unite the nationalities of Austria: Germans and Slavs were, as he said, equally integral parts of Austria; neither must be oppressed; both must unite to form an Austrian parliament. Notwithstanding the growing opposition of the German Liberals, who refused to accept the equality of the nationalities, he kept his position for thirteen years. Taaffe's character and overall assessment Not a great creative statesman, Taaffe had singular capacity for managing men; a very poor orator, he had in private intercourse an urbanity and quickness of humour which showed his Irish ancestry. Beneath an apparent cynicism and frivolity Taaffe hid a strong feeling of patriotism to his country and loyalty to the emperor. It was no small service to both that for so long, during very critical years in European history, he maintained harmony between the two parts of the monarchy and preserved constitutional government in Austria. The necessities of the parliamentary situation compelled him sometimes to go farther in meeting the demands of the Conservatives and Czechs than he would probably have wished, but he was essentially an opportunist; in no way a party man, he recognized that the government must be carried on, and he cared little by the aid of what party the necessary majority was maintained. Late years In 1893 he was defeated on a proposal for the revision of the franchise, and resigned. He retired into private life, and died two years later at his country residence, Ellischau, in Bohemia. Notes Regarding personal names: Graf is a title, translated as Count, not a first or middle name. The female form is Gräfin. Political offices Preceded by Karl von Auersperg Minister-President of Austria 1868–1870 Succeeded by Ignaz von Plener Preceded by Karl von Stremayr Minister-President of Austria 1879–1893 Succeeded by Alfred III. zu Windisch-Grätz Peerage of Ireland Preceded by Charles Taaffe Viscount Taaffe Succeeded by Henry Taaffe v • d • e Ministers-President of the Austrian Empire Franz Anton Graf von Kolowrat-Liebsteinsky · Karl Ludwig Freiherr von Ficquelmont · Franz Freiherr von Pillersdorf · Anton Freiherr von Doblhoff-Dier · Johann Freiherr von Wessenberg-Ampringen · Prince Felix of Schwarzenberg · Karl Ferdinand von Buol-Schauenstein · Johann Bernhard Graf von Rechberg und Rothenlöwen · Erzherzog Rainer · Alexander Graf von Mensdorff-Pouilly · Richard Graf von Belcredi · Friedrich Ferdinand Graf Beust Ministers-President of Austria (Cisleithania) in Austria–Hungary, 1867–1918 Beust • Karl von Auersperg • Taaffe • Plener • Hasner • Potocki • Hohenwart • Holzgethan • Adolf von Auersperg • Stremayr • Taaffe • Windischgrätz • Kielmansegg • Badeni • Gautsch • Thun • Clary • Wittek • Koerber • Gautsch • Hohenlohe • Beck • Bienerth • Gautsch • Stürgkh • Koerber • Clam-Martinic • Seidler • Hussarek • Lammasch  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (Eleventh ed.). Cambridge University Press.