The liberalism that had been developing in the Austrian empire since 1815 called for individual political freedom reflected in a constitution and a separation of powers. The focus of this liberal concept was the emancipated citizen freed of state coercion, who would earn the right to participate in political decision-making processes through educational and economic achievement. From the mid-1860s the Liberals were increasingly successful and began to establish a political power base. Following the stock exchange crash of 1873 a number of corruption affairs were uncovered from within their ranks and trust in liberalism started to wane. The liberal era was thus short-lived and experienced a bitter end in the election defeat of the Constitution Party in 1879.