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The Swedish Case: Did Popular Sovereignty And Representative Democracy Exist In Sweden Before 1772?

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Chapter Summary

In this chapter, Pasi Ihalainen analyses the vocabulary by which the political role of the people and the form of government known since classical times as democracy were described by Swedish statesmen and journalists during the last years of the Age of Liberty. In this chapter, the author shows that the Swedish political elite around 1770 still hardly possessed any clear understanding of 'popular sovereignty' or 'representative democracy' in the senses that the concepts would take on more generally only after the French Revolution. In the rest of this chapter, he analyses the relevant vocabulary used in the debates of the Diets of 1769-1770 and 1771-1772. Lindberg's study provides a good starting-point for the analysis, which is based on the actual debates of the Estates. The author first considers how the Estates and the press presented the key concepts of the debate during the Diet of 1769-1770.

Keywords: debates; Estates; representative democracy; sovereignty; Swedish



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