The ausgleich represented a major turning-point in Slovak national fortunes in several ways. The Hungarian government resorted to a policy of magyarisation that virtually crippled the old national movement, but also embarked on a programme of economic development that eventually gave it new life. The role of the government and the effect of its policy on Slovakia is well illustrated in the case of railway-building. Most lines before 1867 had been financed by private investors, with official encouragement, to transport cereals from the central Danubian plain to the Austrian market. Credit associations and savings banks first appeared in Slovakia during the 1860s and 1870s, encouraged by the nationalist leaders who appreciated their political as well as their economic and social value. From 1849 to 1875 the Slovak national movement had lived in what might reasonably be termed a fool’s paradise. During those years Magyar power was either curbed or appeared capable of being curbed.