Noble conceptions of politics in eighteenth-century Sweden (ca 1740-1790)

Noble conceptions of politics in eighteenth-century Sweden (ca 1740-1790)

By Charlotta Wolff
Book Description

Noble conceptions of politics in eighteenth-century Sweden (ca 1740–1790) is a study of how the Swedish nobility articulated its political ideals, self-images and loyalties during the Age of Liberty and under the rule of Gustav III. This book takes a close look at the aristocracy’s understanding of a free constitution and at the nobility’s complex relationship with the monarchy. Central themes are the old notion of mixed government, classical republican conceptions of liberty and patriotism, as well as noble thoughts on the rights and duties of the citizen, including the right to rebellion against an unrighteous ruler.

The study is a conceptual analysis of public and private political statements made by members of the nobility, such as Diet speeches and personal correspondence. The book contributes to the large body of research on estate-based identities and the transformation of political language in the second half of the eighteenth century by connecting Swedish political ideals and concepts to their European context.

This book is part of the Studia Fennica Historica series.

Table of Contents
  • Noble conceptions of politics in eighteenth-century Sweden
  • Title Page
  • Copyright Page
  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction
    • Political concepts, conceptions and ideas
    • The sources and their context
  • Definitions of a Regime: The Ideal of Mixed Government
    • A moderate monarchy: the powerless king, 1720–1772
    • The authority of the Senate, ca 1752–1769
    • Sweden, an aristocratic republic?
  • Under the Rule of Liberty
    • The state of liberty and liberty as a regime
    • Liberty by law
    • The right and liberty of the Estates, the liberties and rights of the nation
    • Whose liberty?
  • Citizens and Subjects
    • The concept of ‘citizen’
    • Civic virtues and the duties of the citizen
    • Patriotic duties and state reason
  • Fealty, Corrupted Virtue and the Right to Rebellion
    • “Faithful subjects”
    • Reinventing liberty: the Gustavian moment
    • Broken covenant and rebellion
    • ‘Nation’, ‘rights’ and plotting on behalf of and against the fatherland
    • Liberty usurped: Gustav the Tyrant
  • Conclusion
  • Sources and references
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