The Governments of Europe
by Frederic Austin Ogg
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[Footnote 791: Art. 12. Dodd, Modern Constitutions, I., 268.]

*617. The Establishment of Ministerial Responsibility.*—Under the continued stress of this situation constitutionalism broke down (p. 562) completely. The Government, finding its projects of military and naval reform persistently thwarted and its budgets rejected, stretched its prerogatives beyond all warrant of law. Provisional measures, in the form of royal ordinances, and arbitrary decisions multiplied, and budgets were adopted and carried into execution without so much as the form of parliamentary sanction. In time the forces of opposition fell into disagreement and the more moderate element was brought to the point of compromise. Between the Conservatives and the National Liberals, on the one hand, by whom the Government had been supported, and the conciliatory element of the Liberal opposition, on the other, a truce was arranged, and in 1894, for the first time in nine years, it was found possible to enact the annual finance law in regular manner. In this same year Estrup's retirement cleared the way for the appointment of a moderate Conservative ministry. Under Estrup's successors the conflict was continued, but not so vigorously as before. More and more the political center of gravity shifted to the Folkething, and when the general elections of 1901 returned to that body an overwhelming majority of Liberals, Christian IX. was at last compelled to give way and to call into being a Liberal ("Left Reform") ministry. It is too much to say that the parliamentary system is as yet completely established in Denmark. There is, however, a closer approximation to it than ever before, and there is every prospect of the ultimate and thorough triumph of the essential parliamentary principle. In 1908, and again in 1909, a ministry was virtually forced to resign by the pressure of parliamentary opposition.


*618. The Landsthing.*—The Rigsdag is composed of two chambers—the Landsthing, or Senate, and the Folkething, or House of Representatives. The Landsthing consists of 66 members, of whom 12 are appointed by the king, seven are elected in Copenhagen, 45 are elected in the larger electoral divisions comprising rural districts and towns, one is elected in Bornholm, and one is chosen by the Lagthing of the Faroee Islands.[792] The king's appointment of members is made for life, from among active or former members of the Folkething. Elected members serve regularly eight years, one-half retiring every four years. The seven members for Copenhagen are chosen by an electoral college composed of (1) electors chosen by all citizens who are entitled (p. 563) to vote for members of the Folkething, in the ratio of one elector for every 120 voters or major fraction thereof, and (2) an equal number of electors chosen by the voters who, during the preceding year, have been assessed upon a taxable income of not less than 2,000 rix-dollars. The members elected from the rural districts and towns are chosen indirectly, after a manner analogous to that in operation in the capital.[793] The result is a very successful combination of the principles of indirect popular election and indirect representation of property. In all cases the election of members takes place according to the principles of proportional representation.[794] Every person eligible to the Folkething is eligible to the Landsthing, provided he has resided in his electoral circle, or district, during the year preceding his election.

[Footnote 792: Art. 34. Dodd, Modern Constitutions, I., 272. The status of the Faroee Islands is that of an integral portion of the kingdom, not that of a dependency. It is analogous to the status of Algeria in the French Republic. No other outlying Danish territory is represented in the Rigsdag.]

[Footnote 793: For details see Art. 37 of the constitution. Dodd, Modern Constitutions, I., 272.]

[Footnote 794: It is of interest to observe that Denmark was the first nation to make use of a system of proportional representation. The principle was introduced originally as early as 1855, in the constitution promulgated in that year, and it was retained through the constitutional changes of 1863 and 1866, although its application was restricted to the election of members of the upper chamber. An account of its introduction is contained in La representation proportionnelle (Paris, 1888), published by the French Society for the Study of Proportional Representation.]

*619. The Folkething.*—The Folkething is composed of deputies chosen directly by manhood suffrage for a term of three years. By the constitution it is stipulated that as nearly as practicable there shall be one member for every 16,000 inhabitants. In point of fact, the total membership of the Chamber is but 114, whereas at the ratio indicated it should be upwards of 170. Deputies are elected by secret ballot (since 1901), in single-member districts. The franchise is extended to all male citizens of good reputation who have attained the age of thirty years, except those who are in actual receipt of public charity, those who have at one time been recipients of public charity and have rendered no reimbursement therefor, those who are in private service and have no independent household establishment, and those who are not in control of their own property. The voter must have resided a minimum of one year in the circle in which he proposes to vote.[795] With the exception of non-householders in private service, of persons under guardianship, and of recipients of public charity, all male citizens who have completed their twenty-fifth year are qualified for election. Curiously enough, it is thus possible for a citizen to become a member of the Folkething before he is old enough to vote at a national election. Members of both chambers receive, in addition to travelling expenses, regular payment for their services at the (p. 564) rate of ten kroner per day during the first six months of a session, and six kroner for each day thereafter.

[Footnote 795: Art. 30. Dodd, Modern Constitutions, I., 271.]

During recent years there has been no small amount of agitation in behalf of a more democratic electoral system. In April, 1908, there was enacted an important piece of legislation whereby the franchise in municipal elections was conferred upon all resident taxpayers of the age of twenty-five, men and women alike; and, beginning with the elections of 1909, women have both voted and held office regularly within the municipalities. By the legislation of 1908 the number of persons qualified to vote at local elections was practically doubled. Early in 1910 a measure was passed in the Folkething whereby the age limit for voters in parliamentary elections was reduced from thirty to twenty-five years and the suffrage was conferred upon women and upon persons engaged in service. This measure did not become law, but in the Folkething elected May 20 of the same year Premier Berntsen introduced a new bill of essentially the same nature. The question of proportional representation was deferred, the bill providing for (1) the reduction of the voting age to twenty-five; (2) the increase of the number of deputies to 132; and (3) the extension of the suffrage in national elections to women, together with eligibility for seats in both of the legislative chambers. This measure likewise failed; but at the opening of Parliament in October, 1912, fresh proposals upon the subject were introduced.

*620. The Rigsdag: Sessions and Powers.*—The Rigsdag is required to meet in regular session on the first Monday in October of every year. Each house determines the validity of the election of its members; each makes its own regulations concerning its order of business and the maintenance of discipline; each elects its own president, vice-presidents, and other officers. Each has the right to propose bills, each may present addresses to the king, and the consent of each is necessary to the enactment of any law. By provision of the constitution the annual budget must be laid on the table of the Folkething at the beginning of each regular session, and no tax may be imposed, altered, or abolished save by law. Each house is required to appoint two salaried auditors whose business it is to examine the yearly public accounts and to determine whether there have been either unrecorded revenues or unauthorized expenditures. For the adjustment of conflicts between the two chambers there is provided a method whereby there may be constituted a joint conference committee similar to that employed under like circumstances in the American Congress.[796] Sessions are public, and a majority of the membership constitutes (p. 565) a quorum. With the consent of the house to which he belongs, any member may propose subjects for consideration and may request explanations from the Government concerning them. Ministers are entitled to appear and to speak in either chamber as often as they may desire, provided they do not otherwise infringe upon the order of business. By reason of the uncertain status of ministerial responsibility the right of interpellation means as yet but little in practice. The minister may or may not reply to inquiries, and in any case he is not obliged by unfavorable opinion or an adverse vote to retire.

[Footnote 796: Art. 53. Dodd, Modern Constitutions, I., 274.]

*621. Political Parties: the Ministry of Estrup, 1875-1894.*—Prior to 1848 the preponderating public issues of Denmark were concerned chiefly with the introduction in the kingdom of a constitutional type of government. Between 1848 and 1864, they related all but exclusively to the status of the duchies of Schleswig, Holstein, and Lauenburg. During the closing quarter of the past century they centered principally in the titanic conflict which a growing and indomitable majority in the Folkething, representing a no less determined majority of the nation, waged with King Christian IX. and his advisers in behalf of the enforcement of constitutional limitations upon the crown and of ministerial responsibility to the national legislative body.

The prolonged struggle between the Government and the parliamentary majority had its beginning in 1872, when the various radical groups in the Folkething, drawing together under the designation of the United Left, rejected a proposed budget and passed a vote of want of confidence in the Conservative Government. The avowed purpose of the disaffected elements was to force the ministry of Holstein of Holsteinborg to retire, to compel the sovereign to select his ministers from the parliamentary majority, and to enforce the principle of ministerial responsibility to the lower legislative chamber. Supported by the king and the Landsthing, however, the ministry refused to resign. June 11, 1875, there was called to the premiership an able and aggressive statesman, Jakob Estrup, who through the next nineteen years continuously maintained the Government's position against the most desperate of parliamentary assaults. During the whole of this period Estrup commanded the support of the Landsthing, but was opposed by large majorities in the Folkething and throughout the country. The struggle raged principally upon questions of finance. Estrup, who retained for himself the portfolio of finance, was bent upon the strengthening of Danish armaments, and over the protest of the Folkething huge budgets were put into effect again and again by simple ordinance of the crown. From 1882 onwards ordinary legislation was at a standstill, and during (p. 566) nine years after 1885 there was not one legal grant of supplies. The constitution was reduced well nigh to waste paper.

*622. Later Conservative Governments: the Triumph of the Left.*—In 1886 the Radicals, despairing of overthrowing the Estrup government by obstruction, resorted for the first time to negotiation. Not until April 1, 1894, however, was the parliamentary majority able to agree with the Government and the Landsthing upon a budget which, by being made retroactive, legalized the irregular fiscal expedients of the past two decades. In August of the same year Estrup was succeeded in the premiership by Reedtz-Thott who, although a Conservative, and hence a supporter of the Government's position, was more favorable to conciliation than had been his predecessor. The struggle, however, was by no means ended. The elections of 1895 and of 1898 resulted in decisive victories for the Liberals and Radicals, and in the Chamber the Government was confronted by an overwhelming majority comprising a Moderate Left, a Reform or Radical Left, and a group of Social Democrats. Even in the Landsthing the Government's hold was growing less substantial. Reedtz-Thott, none the less, clung to office until December, 1899, and after his retirement there followed two more Conservative ministries—those of Hoerring (December, 1899, to April, 1900) and of Sehested (April, 1900, to July, 1901).

On July 16, 1901, occurred the most notable political event in a half-century of Danish history. Confronted by a majority of 106 to 8 in the Folkething, besieged by widespread popular opinion, and possessing no longer a dependable majority in the Landsthing, the aged Christian IX. gave way, with such grace as he could muster, and summoned to the premiership Professor Deuntzer, by whom was constituted a pure Left Reform ministry. At the partial elections of September 19, 1902, the Conservatives lost absolutely their majority in the upper chamber, while in the Folkething party strength was so redistributed that, while the Conservatives retained their eight seats, the Social Democrats acquired fourteen and the Left Reform party seventy-seven. The elections of June 16, 1903, wrought but insignificant changes of status.

*623. The Christensen Ministry (1905-1908) and the Elections of 1906.*—As was to be expected of a party whose role had been regularly one of mere opposition, the Left Reform, after gaining office, developed a certain amount of internal discord. In January, 1905, the Deuntzer ministry broke up and a more homogeneous and moderate cabinet was organized under the Left Reform leader Christensen. This ministry contrived to retain office until October, 1908. At the elections of May 29, 1906, the Government took its stand upon manhood suffrage (p. 567) in parliamentary elections, equal suffrage in municipal elections (in accordance with the principle of proportional representation) for all taxpayers, and the reform of both the administrative and judicial systems. Its bitterest opponents were its former allies, the Radical Left (which had split off from the Left Reform party after the formation of the Christensen ministry) and the Social Democrats, though neither of these parties put forward a programme which was in any measure specific. After an unusually spirited contest the Government was found to have lost three seats, the Social Democrats to have gained eight, the Radical Left to have lost four, and the Conservatives to have gained two. The resulting grouping in the Folkething was as follows: Left Reform (Ministerialists), 55; Moderate Left, 9; Radical Left, 9; Social Democrats, 24; Conservatives, 13; Independents, 3; member for Faroee Islands, 1. At the partial renewal of the Landsthing in September, 1906, the Government lost five seats, and with them the majority which, aided by the Moderate Left and the Free Conservatives,[797] it had been able since 1901 to control. The consequence of its losses was that the Christensen ministry drew appreciably toward the Conservative elements of the Rigsdag, as against the Radicals and Socialists.

[Footnote 797: A group which, after the formation of the Deuntzer ministry, split off from the Conservatives in the upper chamber.]

*624. Ministerial Instability, 1908-1912.*—October 11, 1908, largely by reason of the scandal in which it was involved by the embezzlements of the minister of the interior Alberti, the ministry of Christensen was replaced by a cabinet formed by Neergaard. It in turn retired, July 31, 1909, defeated upon bills to which it was committed for the strengthening of the national fortifications. The Holstein-Ledreborg ministry which succeeded was able to secure the passage of the bills, but, October 22, 1909, it was forced out on a vote of want of confidence. At the election of May 25, 1909, in which the military bills comprised the principal issue, the Left Reform government had continued to lose ground, while the Radicals (though not the Social Democrats) and the Conservatives had gained. October 28, 1909, a new ministry was formed by the Radical leader Zahle. In the Folkething the Radicals possessed 20 seats only, but with the aid of the Social Democrats, possessing 24, they hoped to be able to attain some measure of success. The hope proved vain. April 18, 1910, the Folkething was dissolved, and there followed another spirited campaign in which the military question was preponderant. The Radical government, with its Socialist allies, went before the country on a platform which proposed the repeal of the defense measures passed during the previous (p. 568) year. But at the elections of May 20 both Radicals and Social Democrats obtained precisely the respective number of seats which they had before possessed, while 69 deputies were returned by the groups which were favorable to the execution of the contested measures. July 1, the Zahle ministry resigned and was succeeded by a cabinet formed by Klaus Berntsen, leader of the Moderate Left. The new ministry, although drawn exclusively from the Left, was well received by the Conservatives, who pledged it their continued support against the Radical-Socialist coalition.[798]

[Footnote 798: The salient facts relating to the political history of Denmark since 1870 may be gleaned from the successive volumes of the Annual Register. Works of importance dealing with the subject include N. Neergaard, Danmarks Riges Historie siden 1852 (Copenhagen, 1909); H. Holm, Forligets foerste Rigsdagssamling 1894-1895 (Copenhagen, 1895), and Kampen om Ministeriet Reedtz-Thott (Copenhagen, 1897); H. Barfod, Hans Majestaet Kong Christian IX. (Copenhagen, 1888); and A. Thorsoee, Kong Christian den Niende (Copenhagen, 1905).]


*625. General Principles: the Courts.*—In the Danish constitution there are laid down a number of general principles with respect to the judicial branch of the government, but the organization of the courts is left almost entirely to be regulated by law. It is stipulated that judges, who are appointed by the crown, may not be dismissed except in consequence of judicial sentence, nor transferred against their wishes from one tribunal to another, unless in the event of a reorganization of the courts;[799] that they shall exercise their functions strictly in compliance with law; that in criminal cases and cases involving political offenses trial shall be by jury; that in the administration of justice there shall be, so far as practicable, publicity and oral procedure; and that it shall be within the competence of the courts to decide all questions relative to the extent of the powers of the public officials.

[Footnote 799: At the age of sixty-five they may be retired on full salary.]

The tribunals that have been established by law comprise, beginning at the bottom, the magistracies of the herreds, or hundreds, and the justiceships of the towns; a superior court (Overret), with nine judges, at Viborg, and another, with twenty judges, at Copenhagen; and a Supreme Court (Hoejesteret), with a chief justice, twelve associate judges, and eleven special judges, at Copenhagen. Of hundred magistrates (herredsfogder) and town justices (byfogder) there are, in all, 126. Appeal in both civil and criminal cases lies from them to the superior courts, and thence to the supreme tribunal. There is, in addition, a Court of Impeachment (Rigsret), composed of the members of the Supreme Court, together with an equal number of (p. 569) members of the Landsthing elected by that body as judges for a term of four years. The principal function of this tribunal is the trial of charges brought against ministers by the king or by the Folkething.[800]

[Footnote 800: Arts. 68-74. Dodd, Modern Constitutions, I., 276-277.]

*626. The Administration of Justice Act, 1908.*—In May, 1908, a long-standing demand of the more progressive jurists was met in part by the passage of an elaborate Administration of Justice bill, whereby there was carried further than previously the separation of the general administrative system of the kingdom from the administration of justice. Not until the enactment of this measure were the constitutional guarantees of jury trial, publicity of judicial proceedings, and the independence of the judiciary put effectively in force. Curiously enough, the drafting and advocacy of the bill fell principally to a minister, Alberti, who was on the point of being proved one of the most deliberate criminals of the generation. The measure, which comprised 1,015 clauses, introduced no modification in the existing hierarchy of tribunals, but it readjusted in detail the functions of the several courts and defined more specifically the procedure to be employed in the trial of various kinds of cases. One provision which it contains is that a jury shall consist of twelve men, that any person who is eligible for election to the Folkething is eligible for selection as a juryman, and that jury service is obligatory. On the ground that it fell short of fulfilling the essential pledges of the constitution, the Radical and Socialist members of the Rigsdag vigorously opposed the measure.[801]

[Footnote 801: The bill was carried in the Folkething by a vote of 57 to 42; in the Landsthing by a vote of 38 to 5.]

*627. Local Government.*—For administrative purposes the kingdom is divided into 18 Amter, or counties. In each is an Amtmand, or governor, who is appointed by the crown, and an Amtsrad, or council, composed of members elected indirectly within the county. The counties are divided into hundreds, which exist principally for judicial purposes, and the hundreds are divided into some 1,100 parishes. In each town is a burgomaster, who is appointed by the crown, and who governs with or without the assistance of aldermen. Copenhagen, however, has an administrative system peculiar to itself. Its burgomaster, elected by the town council, is merely confirmed by the crown.




*628. Sweden in Earlier Modern Times.*—During the centuries which intervened between the establishment of national independence under the leadership of Gustavus Vasa in 1523 and the end of the Napoleonic era, the political system of the kingdom of Sweden oscillated in a remarkable manner between absolutism and liberalism. The establishment of a national parliamentary assembly antedated the period of union with Denmark (1397-1523); for it was in 1359 that King Magnus, embarrassed by the unmanageableness of the nobility and obliged to fall back upon the support of the middle classes, summoned representatives of the towns to appear before the king along with the nobles and clergy, and thus constituted the first Swedish Riksdag. By an ordinance of Gustavus Adolphus in 1617, what had been a turbulent and ill-organized body was transformed into a well-ordered national assembly of four estates—the nobles, the clergy, the burghers, and the peasants—each of which met and deliberated regularly apart from the others. There was likewise a Rigsrad, or senate, which comprised originally a grand council representative of the semi-feudal landed aristocracy, but which by the seventeenth century had come to be essentially a bureaucracy occupying the chief offices of state at the pleasure of the crown. Under Gustavus Adolphus and his earlier successors, especially Charles XI. (1660-1697), however, the government took on the character of at least a semi-absolutism. The Rigsdag retained the right to be consulted upon important foreign and legislative questions, but the power of initiative was exercised by the sovereign alone. The Riksdag of 1680 admitted that the king was responsible for his acts only to God, and that between him and his people no intermediary was needed; and in 1682 the same body recognized as vested in the crown the right freely to interpret and amend the law.[802]

[Footnote 802: Bain, Scandinavia, Chaps. 8, 11; Cambridge Modern History, IV. Chaps. 5, 20; Lavisse et Rambaud, Histoire Generale, III., Chap. 14; IV.; Chap. 15.]

*629. Weakness of the Monarchy in the Eighteenth Century.*—A new (p. 571) chapter in Swedish constitutional history was inaugurated by the calamities incident to the turbulent reign of the Mad King of the North, Charles XII. (1697-1718), and the Great Northern War, brought to a culmination by the cession to Russia in the Peace of Nystad, August 30, 1721, of all the Baltic provinces which Sweden had possessed. Early in the reign of Frederick I. (1720-1751), chiefly by laws of 1720-1723, the government was converted into one of the most limited of monarchies in Europe. The sovereign was reduced, indeed, to a mere puppet, his principal function being that of presiding over the deliberations of the Rigsrad. Virtually all power was vested in the Riksdag. A secret committee representative of the four estates prepared all measures, controlled foreign relations, and appointed all ministers, and laws of every kind were enacted by the affirmative vote of three of the four orders. The constitutional system, while nominally monarchical, became essentially republican. In operation, however, it was hopelessly cumbersome, and throughout half a century the political activities of the kingdom comprised little more than a wearisome struggle of rival factions.[803]

[Footnote 803: Bain, Scandinavia, Chaps. 12-13; Cambridge Modern History, V., Chaps. 18-19; Lavisse et Rambaud, Histoire Generale, VI., Chap. 17.]

Under Gustavus III. (1771-1792), nephew of Frederick the Great of Prussia, the pendulum swung back again distinctly toward absolutism. The Riksdag, according to its custom, sought at the opening of the reign to impose upon the new sovereign a renunciatory coronation oath. Gustavus, however, raised objection, and the contest became so keen that the king resolved upon a coup d'etat whereby to accomplish a restoration of the pristine independence and vigor of the royal office. The plan was laid with care and was executed with complete success. August 20, 1772, there was forced upon the estates, almost at the bayonet's point, a constitution which had been contrived specifically to transform the weak and disjointed quasi-republic into a compact monarchy. The monarchy was to be limited, it is true, but the framework of the state was so reconstructed that the balance of power was certain to incline toward the crown. Without the approval of the Riksdag no law might be enacted and no tax levied; but the estates might be summoned and dismissed freely by the king, and in him was vested exclusively the power of legislative initiative. Under this instrument the government of Gustavus III., and in even a larger measure that of Gustavus IV. (1792-1809),[804] was pronouncedly autocratic.

[Footnote 804: Gustavus IV., being a minor at his accession, did not assume control of the government until November 1, 1796.]

*630. Sweden in the Napoleonic Period.*—Sweden is one of the (p. 572) many European nations which in the course of the Napoleonic period acquired a new constitutional system, but one of the few in which the fundamentals of the system at that time established have been maintained continuously to the present day. Sweden was drawn into the Napoleonic wars at an early stage of their progress. December 3, 1804, Gustavus IV. cast in his fortunes on the side of the foes of France, and although in 1806-1807 Napoleon sought to detach him from the Allies, all effort in that direction failed. The position of Gustavus, however, was undermined in his own country by his failure to defend Finland on the occasion of the Russian invasion of 1808, and March 29, 1809, yielding to popular pressure, and hoping to save the crown for his son, he abdicated. By the Riksdag the royal title, withheld from the young Prince Gustavus, was bestowed upon the eldest brother of Gustavus III., who, under the name of Charles XIII., was proclaimed June 5. On the same day the Riksdag ratified formally an elaborate regerings-formen, or fundamental law, which, amended from time to time, has been preserved to the present day as the constitution of the kingdom.[805]

[Footnote 805: See p. 589. Bain, Scandinavia, Chap. 14; Lavisse et Rambaud, Histoire Generale, VII., Chap. 23; VIII., Chap. 23.]

*631. Constitutional Development of Norway to 1814.*—During more than four centuries, from the Union of Kalmar, in 1397, to the Treaty of Kiel, January 14, 1814, Norway was continuously subordinated more or less completely to Denmark. The political history and constitutional development of the nation, therefore, had little opportunity to move in normal channels. Prior to the Union the royal power was considerable, and at times virtually absolute, although an ever present obstacle to the consolidation of the monarchy was the independent spirit of the nobility. By the fourteenth century, however, the old landed aristocracy, decimated by civil war and impoverished by the loss of the fur trade to Russia, had been so weakened that it no longer endangered in any degree the royal supremacy. From the end of the thirteenth century we hear of a palliment, or parliament, which was summoned occasionally at the pleasure of the king. But at no time had this gathering assumed the character of an established national legislative body.

From the point of view of political status the history of Norway under the Union falls into four fairly clearly marked periods. The first, extending from 1397 to the accession of Christian I. in 1450, culminated in an unsuccessful attempt on the part of the Norwegians to throw off the Danish yoke. The second, extending from 1450 to the recognition of Frederick I. as king in Norway in 1524, was marked (p. 573) by a still closer union between the two kingdoms. The third, beginning with the accession of Frederick and closing with the Danish revolution of 1660, was a period in which, largely in consequence of the Protestant Revolt, Norway was reduced virtually to the level of a subjugated province. The fourth, inaugurated by the rehabilitation of the monarchy in Denmark in 1660, witnessed the raising of Norway from the status of subjection to the rank of a sovereign, hereditary kingdom on a footing of approximate equality with Denmark. The period closed with a widespread revival of the nationalist spirit, one of the first fruits of which was the obtaining, in 1807, of an administrative system separate from that of Denmark and, in 1811, of the privilege of founding at Christiania a national university.[806]

[Footnote 806: Bain, Scandinavia, Chaps. 4, 5, 7, 10, 15; H. H. Boyesen, A History of Norway from the Earliest Times (2d ed., London, 1900).]


*632. Bernadotte and the Treaty of Kiel.*—As has been pointed out, the kingdom of Sweden acquired independence of Denmark near the end of the first quarter of the sixteenth century. The liberation of Norway was delayed until the era of Napoleon, and when it came it meant, not the independence which the Norwegians craved, but forced affiliation with their more numerous and more powerful neighbors on the east. The succession of events by which the new arrangement was brought about was engineered principally by Napoleon's ex-marshal Bernadotte. May 28, 1810, Prince Charles Augustus of Augustenburg, whom the Riksdag had selected as heir to the infirm and childless Charles XIII., died, and after a notable contest, Bernadotte was agreed upon unanimously by the four estates (August 21) as the new heir. November 5 the adventuresome Frenchman received the homage of the estates and was adopted by the king as crown prince under the name of Charles John.[807] By reason of the infirmity of the sovereign, Bernadotte acquired almost at once virtual control of the government. From the outset he believed it to be impossible for Sweden to recover Finland; but he believed no less that she might recoup herself, with the assent of the powers, by the acquisition of the Danish dominion of Norway. In March and April, 1813, Great Britain and Russia were brought to the point of giving the desired assent, and by the Treaty of Kiel, January 14, 1814, the king of Denmark, under pressure applied by the (p. 574) Allies, made the desired surrender.[808]

[Footnote 807: Upon the death of Charles XIII., February 5, 1818, the "prince" succeeded to the throne under the name of Charles XIV. He reigned until 1844.]

[Footnote 808: C. Schefer, Bernadotte roi (Paris, 1899); L. Pingaud, Bernadotte, Napoleon, et les Bourbons (Paris, 1901); G. R. Lagerhjelm, Napoleon och Carl Johan, 1813 (Stockholm, 1891).]

*633. The Movement for Norwegian Independence: the Constitution of 1814.*—In Norway there was small disposition to accept the new arrangement. Instead there was set up the theory that when the Danish sovereign renounced his claim to the throne of his northern dominion the Norwegian state legally reverted forthwith to its former condition of independence. Upon this assumption 112 representatives of the nation, of whom 82 were opposed to union with Sweden, met at the Eidsvold iron-works near Christiania, and drew up a liberal constitution modelled principally on the French instrument of 1791, under which was established a national Storthing, or parliament. May 17, furthermore, Prince Christian Frederick, the Danish governor of the country, was elected king of Norway. From the Swedish point of view these sovereign acts were absolutely invalid, and upon Norway's rejection of mediation by the powers Bernadotte invaded the country at the head of a Swedish army. In a short, sharp campaign the Norwegians were hopelessly beaten,[809] and the upshot was that Christian Frederick was forced to abdicate (October 7, 1814), the Storthing was compelled to give its assent to the union with Sweden (October 20), the Eidsvold constitution was revised (November 4) to bring it into accord with the conditions of the union, and the Storthing went through the formality of electing Charles XIII. king of Norway and of recognizing Bernadotte as heir to the throne. Fifty of the one hundred ten articles of the Eidsvold constitution were retained unaltered; the remainder were revised or omitted. Amended upon a number of subsequent occasions, this constitution of November 4, 1814, has continued in operation to the present day as the Grundlov, or fundamental law, of the Norwegian state. No constitution was ever born of a more interesting contest for national dignity and independence.

[Footnote 809: G. Bjoerlin, Der Krieg in Norwegen, 1814 (Stuttgart, 1895).]

*634. Nature of the Union.*—The union of the two states was of a purely personal character; that is to say, it was a union solely through the crown. Each of the kingdoms maintained its own constitution, its own ministry, its own legislature, its own laws, its own financial system, its own courts, its own army and navy. The legal basis of the affiliation was the Riksakt, or Act of Union, of August, 1815,—an ultimate agreement between the two states which in Norway was formally adopted by the Storthing as a part of the Norwegian fundamental (p. 575) law, but which in Sweden was regarded as a treaty, and hence was never incorporated by the Rigsdag within the constitution. In each of the states the functions and status of the crown were regulated by constitutional provisions; and the character of the royal power was by no means the same in the two. In Sweden, for example, the king possessed independent legislative power and his veto was absolute; in Norway he possessed no such independent prerogative and his veto was only suspensive. There was a common ministry of war and another of foreign affairs; beyond this the functions of a common administration were vested in a complicated system of joint councils of state. Matters of common concern lying outside the jurisdiction of the crown were regulated by concurrent resolutions or laws passed by the Riksdag and the Storthing independently. But in all matters of internal legislation and administration the two kingdoms were as separate as if no legal relations had been established between them. There was not even a common citizenship.

*635. Causes of Friction.*—From the outset the union was menaced by perennial friction. Differences between the two kingdoms in respect to language, manners, and economic concerns were pronounced; differences of social and political ideas were still more considerable; differences in governmental theories and institutions were seemingly irreconcilable. In Sweden the tone of the political system, until far in the nineteenth century, was distinctly autocratic, and that of the social system aristocratic; in Norway the principle that preponderated was rather that of democracy. Between the two states there was disagreement upon even the fundamental question of the nature of the union. The Swedish contention was that at the Peace of Kiel Norway was ceded to Sweden by Denmark and that the mere fact that, following the unsuccessful attempt of the Norwegians to establish their independence, Sweden had chosen to grant the affiliated kingdom a separate statehood and local autonomy did not contravene Norway's essentially subordinate position within the union. The Norwegians, on the other hand, maintained that, in the last analysis, they comprised an independent nation and that their union with Sweden rested solely upon their own sovereign decision in 1814 to accept Charles XIII. as king; from which the inference was that Norway should be dealt with as in every respect co-ordinate with Sweden. The conflicts which sprang from these differences of conception were frequent and serious. There was no disguising the fact that the administration of the joint affairs of the kingdoms was conducted from a point of view that was essentially Swedish, and the history of the union throughout the (p. 576) period of its existence is largely a story of the struggle on the part of the Norwegians, through the medium of the Storthing, to attain in practice the fully co-ordinate position which they believed to be rightfully theirs. Again and again amendments to the constitution in the interest of the royal power were submitted by successive sovereigns, only to be rejected by the Storthing.

In 1860 the Swedish estates insisted upon a revision of the Act of Union which should include the establishment of a common parliament for the two countries, in which, in approximate accordance with population, there would be twice as many Swedish members as Norwegian. The Storthing, naturally enough, rejected the proposition. In 1869 the Storthing fortified its position by adopting a resolution in accordance with which its sessions, theretofore triennial, were made annual, and in 1871 the first annual Storthing rejected an elaborate modification of the Act of Union, to which the Conservative ministry of Stang had been induced to lend its support, whereby the supremacy of Sweden would have been recognized explicitly and the bonds of the union would have been tightened correspondingly. Two years later the new sovereign, Oscar II. (1872-1907), gave reluctant assent to a measure by which the office of viceroy in Norway was abolished. Thereafter the head of the government at Christiania was the president of the ministry, or premier; and, following a prolonged contest, in the early eighties there was forced upon the crown the principle of ministerial responsibility (in Norway).

*636. The Question of the Consular Service.*—The rock upon which the union foundered eventually, however, was Norway's participation in the management of diplomatic and consular affairs. The subject was one which had been left in 1814 without adequate provision, and throughout the century it gave rise to repeated difficulties. In 1885, and again in 1891, there was an attempt to solve the problem, but upon each occasion the only result was a deadlock, the Storthing insisting upon, and the Swedish authorities denying, Norway's right, as an independent kingdom, to participate equally with Sweden in the conduct of the foreign relations of the two states. In 1892 the Storthing resolved upon the establishment of an independent Norwegian consular service; but to this the king would not assent. Norwegian trading and maritime interests had come to be such that, in the opinion of the commercial and other influential classes of the kingdom, separateness of consular administration was indispensable, and upon the success of this reform was made to hinge eventually the perpetuity of the union itself. Throughout several years the deadlock continued. At the Norwegian elections of 1894 and 1897 the Liberals were overwhelmingly successful, and it was made increasingly apparent that the Norwegian people (p. 577) were veering strongly toward unrestricted national independence. July 28, 1902, a lengthy report was submitted by a Swedish-Norwegian Consular Commission, constituted upon Swedish initiative earlier in the year, in which the practicability of two entirely separate consular systems was asserted, and, March 24, 1903, an official communique announced the conclusion of an agreement between representatives of the two countries under which there were to be worked out two essentially identical codes of law for the government of the two systems. Upon the nature of these codes, however, there arose serious disagreement, and when, in 1904, the Bostroem ministry of Sweden submitted as an absolute condition that any Norwegian consul might be removed from office by the Swedish foreign minister, the entire project was brought to naught.

*637. The Norwegian Declaration of Independence: the Separation.*—March 1, 1905, the Norwegian ministry presided over by Hagerup resigned and was replaced by a ministry made up by Christian Michelsen, which included representatives of both the Liberal and Conservative parties. May 23 the Storthing, by unanimous vote, passed a new bill for the establishment of Norwegian consulships. The king, four days later, vetoed the measure; whereupon the Michelsen government resigned. The king refused to accept the resignation; the ministers refused to reconsider it. June 7 Michelsen and his colleagues placed their resignation in the hands of the Storthing, and that body, impelled at last to cut the Gordian knot, adopted by unanimous vote a resolution to the effect (1) that, the king having admitted his inability to form a Government, the constitutional powers of the crown had become inoperative, and (2) that Oscar II. having ceased to act as king of Norway, the union with Sweden was to be regarded as ipso facto dissolved. By another unanimous vote the ministerial group was authorized to exercise temporarily the prerogatives hitherto vested in the sovereign.

On the part of certain elements in Sweden there was a disposition to resist Norwegian independence, and for a time there was prospect of war. The mass of the people, however, cared but little for the maintenance of the union. The prevailing national sentiment was expressed with aptness by the king himself when he affirmed that "a union to which both parties do not give their free and willing consent will be of no real advantage to either." June 20 the Riksdag was convened in extraordinary session to take under advisement the situation. Dreading war, this body eventually decided to sanction negotiations looking toward a separation, provided, however, that the Norwegian people, either through the agency of a newly elected (p. 578) Storthing or directly by referendum, should avow explicitly their desire for independence. During a recess of the Riksdag a Norwegian plebiscite was taken, August 13, with the result that 368,211 votes were cast in favor of the separation and but 184 against it. Two weeks later eight commissioners representing the two states met at Karlstad, in Sweden, and negotiated a treaty, signed September 23, wherein the terms of the separation were specifically fixed. This instrument, approved by the Storthing October 9 and by the reassembled Riksdag October 16, provided for the establishment of a neutral, unfortified zone on the common frontier south of the parallel 61 deg. and stipulated that all differences between the two nations which should prove impossible of adjustment by direct negotiation should be referred to the permanent court of arbitration at the Hague, provided such differences should not involve the independence, integrity, or vital interests of either nation. October 27 King Oscar formally relinquished the Norwegian crown.


*638. The Revised Fundamental Law.*—In Norway there was widespread sentiment in favor of the establishment of a republic. The continuance of monarchy was regarded, however, as the course which might be expected to meet with most general approval throughout Europe, and in a spirit of conciliation the Storthing tendered to King Oscar an offer to elect as sovereign a member of the Swedish royal family. The offer was rejected; whereupon the Storthing selected as a candidate Prince Charles, second son of the then Crown Prince Frederick of Denmark, the late King Frederick VIII. November 12 and 13, 1905, the Norwegian people, by a vote of 259,563 to 69,264, ratified the Storthing's choice, the advocates of a republic recording some 33,000 votes. The new sovereign was crowned at Trondhjem June 22, 1906. By assuming the title of Haakon VII. he purposely emphasized the essential continuity of the present Norwegian monarchy with that of mediaeval times.[810]

[Footnote 810: Haakon VI. reigned 1343-1380, shortly before the Union of Kalmar. For brief accounts of the relations of Sweden and Norway under the union see Bain, Scandinavia, Chap. 17; Cambridge Modern History, XI., Chap. 24, XII., Chap. 11; Lavisse et Rambaud, Histoire Generale, X., Chap. 18; XI., Chap. 12; XII., Chap. 7. The best general treatise is A. Aall and G. Nikol, Die Norwegische-schwedische Union, ihr Bestehen und ihre Loesung (Breslau, 1912). From the Norwegian point of view the subject is well treated in F. Nansen, Norge og Foreningen med Sverige (Christiania, 1905), in translation, Norway and the Union with Sweden (London, 1905); from the Swedish, in K. Nordlung, Den svensk-norska krisen (Upsala and Stockholm, 1905), in translation. The Swedish-Norwegian Union Crisis, A History with Documents (Stockholm, 1905). Worthy of mention are R. Pillons, L'Union scandinave (Paris, 1899); A. Mohn, La Suede et la revolution norvegienne (Geneva and Paris, 1906); and Jordan, La separation de la Suede et de la Norvege (Paris, 1906). A useful survey is P. Woultrin, in Annales des Sciences Politiques, Jan. 15 and March 15, 1906.]

The fundamental law of Norway to-day is the Eidsvold constitution (p. 579) of April, 1814, revised, November 4 following, to comport with the conditions of the union with Sweden. The original instrument was not only democratic in tone, but doctrinaire. With little in the nature of native institutions upon which to build, the framers laid hold of features of the French, English, American, and other foreign systems, in the effort to transplant to Norwegian soil a body of political forms and usages calculated to produce a high order of popular government. No inconsiderable portion of these forms and usages survived the revision enforced by the failure to achieve national independence. Of this portion, however, several proved impracticable, and constitutional amendments after 1814 were numerous. Upon the establishment of independence in 1905 the fundamental law was modified further by the elimination from it of all reference to the former Swedish affiliation. The constitution to-day comprises one hundred twelve articles, of which forty-six deal with the executive branch of the government, thirty-seven with citizenship and the legislative power, six with the judiciary, and twenty-three with matters of a miscellaneous character. The process of amendment is appreciably more difficult than that by which changes may be introduced in the Swedish instrument.[811] Proposed amendments may be presented in the Storthing only during the first regular session following a national election, and they may be adopted only at a regular session following the ensuing election, and by a two-thirds vote. It is required, furthermore, that such amendments "shall never contravene the principles of the constitution, but shall relate only to such modifications in particular provisions as will not change the spirit of the instrument."[812]

[Footnote 811: See p. 589.]

[Footnote 812: Art. 112. Dodd, Modern Constitutions, II., 143. An English version of the Norwegian constitution is printed in Dodd, ibid., II., 123-143, and in H. L. Braekstad, The Constitution of the Kingdom of Norway (London, 1905). The standard treatise on the Norwegian system of government is T. H. Aschehoug, Norges Nuvaerende Statsforfatning (2d ed., Christiania, 1891-1893); but a more available work is an earlier one by the same author, Das Staatsrecht der vereinigten Koenigreiche Schweden und Norwegen (Freiburg, 1886), in Marquardsen's Handbuch. The most recent and, on the whole the most useful, treatise is B. Morgenstierne, Das Staatsrecht des Koenigreichs Norwegen (Tuebingen, 1911).]

*639. The Crown and the Council.*—The government of Norway, like (p. 580) that of Sweden and of Denmark, is in form a limited hereditary monarchy. The popular element in it is both legally and actually more considerable than in the constitutional system of either of the sister Scandinavian states; none the less, the principle of monarchy is firmly entrenched, and, as has been pointed out, not even the overturn of 1905 endangered it seriously. The constitution contains provisions respecting the succession to the throne, the conduct of affairs during a minority, and the establishment of a regency, which need not be recounted here, but which are designed to meet every possible contingency. In the event of the absolute default of a legal successor the Storthing is empowered to elect.

Supreme executive authority is vested in the king, who must be an adherent of the Lutheran Church, and who at his accession is required to take oath in the presence of the Storthing to govern in conformity with the constitution and laws. Associated with the king is a Council of State, upon which, since the king may be neither censured nor impeached, devolves responsibility for virtually all executive acts. The Council consists of a minister of state, or premier, and at least seven other members. All are appointed by the crown, and all must be Norwegian citizens not less than thirty years of age and adherents of the established Lutheran faith. The king may apportion the business of state among the councillors as he desires. There are at present, in addition to the ministry of state, eight ministerial portfolios, i.e., Foreign Affairs, Justice, Worship and Instruction, Agriculture, Labor, Finance, Defense, and Commerce, Navigation and Industry. All ministers are regularly members of the Storthing, though by the constitution the crown is authorized for special reasons to add to the Council members who possess no legislative seats. The heir to the throne, if eighteen years of age, is entitled to a seat in the Council, but without vote or responsibility.

*640. The Exercise of Executive Powers.*—Most of the powers which are possessed by the king may be exercised by him only in conjunction with the Council. Like the fundamental law of Sweden, that of Norway stipulates that, while it shall be the duty of every member of the Council to express his opinion freely, and of the king to give ear to all such opinions, it "shall remain with the king to decide according to his own judgment."[813] None the less, the acts of the crown are, as a rule, those not only, legally, of the king in council but, actually, of the king and council. With the exception of military commands, all orders issued by the king must be countersigned by the minister of state, and ministers may be impeached at any time by (p. 581) the Odelsthing before the Rigsret, or Court of Impeachment; so that, in effect, there is a close approach to the parliamentary system of ministerial responsibility. Under these conditions, the crown appoints all civil, ecclesiastical, and military officials; removes higher officials (including the ministers) without previous judicial sentence; pardons offenders after conviction; regulates religious services, assemblies, and meetings; issues and repeals regulations concerning commerce, customs, industry, and public order; and enforces the laws of the realm. The king is commander-in-chief of the land and naval forces, though these forces may not be increased or diminished, or placed at the service of a foreign sovereign or state, without the consent of the Storthing. And the king has the power to mobilize troops, to commence war and conclude peace, to enter into and to withdraw from alliances, and to send and to receive ambassadors.[814]

[Footnote 813: Art. 30. Dodd, Modern Constitutions, II., 128.]

[Footnote 814: Arts. 16, 17, 20-26. Dodd, Modern Constitutions, II., 125-127.]


*641. Electoral System: the Franchise.*—Among the legislatures of Europe that of Norway is unique. In structure it represents a curious cross between the principles of unicameral and bicameral organization. It comprises essentially a single body, which, however, for purely legislative purposes is divided into two chambers, or sections, the Lagthing and the Odelsthing. This division is made subsequent to the election of the members, so that representatives are chosen simply to the Storthing as a whole. The elections take place every third year. There are forty-one urban, and eighty-two rural, districts, and every district returns one member—a total of 123.

Formerly the franchise rested, as in Sweden, upon a property qualification; but by a series of suffrage reforms within the past decade and a half it has been brought about that in respect to electoral privileges Norway is to-day the most democratic of European countries. In 1898 the Liberal government of Steen procured the enactment of a measure which long had occupied a leading place in the programme of the radical elements. By it the parliamentary franchise was conferred upon all male citizens of a minimum age of twenty-five years who have resided at least five years in Norway and who have suffered no judicial impairment of civil rights. The effect was to double at a stroke the national electorate. In 1901 the same Government carried an important bill by which the suffrage in municipal elections was conferred upon male citizens without restriction (save that of age), upon all unmarried women twenty-five years of age who pay taxes on (p. 582) an annual income of not less than 300 kronor, and upon all married women of similar age whose husbands are taxed in equivalent amounts. During ensuing years there was widespread agitation in behalf of the parliamentary franchise for women, and the Liberal party made this one of the principal items in its programme. June 14, 1907, by a vote of 73 to 48, the Storthing rejected a proposal that women be given the parliamentary franchise on the same terms as men, but by the decisive majority of 96 to 25 it conferred the privilege upon all women who were in possession of the municipal franchise under the law of 1901. The rapidity with which woman's suffrage sentiment had developed is indicated by the fact that as late as 1898 a proposal looking toward the including of women in the parliamentary electorate had received in the Storthing a total of but 33 votes. By the legislation of 1907 Norway became the first of European nations to confer upon women, under any conditions, the privilege of voting for members of the national legislative body and of sitting as members of that body. At the elections of 1909, the first in which women participated, no revolutionizing effects were observed. The electorate, however, was increased by approximately 300,000, which was somewhat over half of the kingdom's total female population of the requisite age.[815] April 30, 1910, the Constitutional Committee of the Storthing, by a majority of four to three, recommended that parliamentary suffrage be extended to women on equal terms with men, i.e., without reference to taxpaying qualifications. The recommendation was rejected, but during the next month the Odelsthing voted, 71 to 10, and the Lagthing, 24 to 7, to apply the principle of it in municipal elections. Thus the municipal electorate was enlarged by approximately 200,000, and the way was prepared, as many believe, for the adoption eventually of the Committee's original recommendation. Prior to an amendment of May 25, 1905, parliamentary elections were indirect. In the urban districts one elector was chosen for every fifty voters, and in the rural districts, one for every one hundred. Now, however, elections are direct. Each petty political unit having a municipal government of its own comprises a voting precinct. If at the first ballot no candidate in the district receives a majority of all the votes cast, a second ballot is taken, when a simple plurality is decisive. A noteworthy feature of the system is the fact that voters who on account of illness, military service, or other valid reason, are unable to appear at the polls are permitted to transmit their votes in writing to the proper election officials.

[Footnote 815: At the election of 1909 the total number of parliamentary electors was 785,358. The number of votes recorded, however, was but 487,193.]

*642. Qualifications, Sessions, and Organization.*—No one may be (p. 583) chosen a member of the Storthing unless he or she is thirty years of age, a resident of the kingdom of ten years' standing, and a qualified voter in the election district in which he or she is chosen; but a former member of the Council of State, if otherwise qualified, may be elected to represent any district.[816] Under recent legislation every member of the Storthing receives a salary of three thousand kroner a year, in addition to travelling expenses. The Storthing meets in regular session annually, without regard to summons by the crown. The constitution fixed originally as the date of convening the first week-day after October 10 of each year; but, May 28, 1907, the Storthing adopted an amendment whereby, beginning with 1908, the meeting time was changed to the first week-day after January 10. For sufficient reasons, an extraordinary session may be convoked by the king at any time. The length of sessions is indeterminate, except that an extraordinary session may be adjourned by the crown at will, and no session, extraordinary or regular, may be prolonged beyond two months without the king's consent. At its first regular session following a general election the Storthing divides itself into two chambers. A fourth of the membership is designated to constitute the Lagthing, the remaining three-fourths comprise the Odelsthing; and the division thus effected holds until the succeeding election. Each chamber elects its own president, secretary, and other officers. Sessions are public, and business may not be transacted unless at least two-thirds of the members are present.

[Footnote 816: Arts. 59-64. Dodd, Modern Constitutions, II., 134-135.]

*643. Powers and Procedure of the Storthing.*—The powers of the Storthing, as enumerated in the constitution, include the enactment and the repeal of laws; the levying of taxes, imposts, and duties; the appropriating and the borrowing of money; the regulating of the currency; the examining of treaties concluded with foreign powers; the inspection of the records of the Council of State; the making of provision for the auditing of the national accounts; and regulation of the naturalization of foreigners.[817] All bills are required to be presented first in the Odelsthing, by one of the members of the body, or by the Government, through a councillor of state. Only in the event that a measure passes the Odelsthing is it presented at all in the Lagthing, for the sole function of the smaller chamber is to act as a check upon the larger one. The Lagthing may either approve or reject a bill which the Odelsthing submits, but may not amend it. A measure rejected is returned, with reasons for the rejection. Three courses are then open to the Odelsthing: to drop the measure, to submit it in amended form, or to resubmit it unchanged. When a bill from the (p. 584) Odelsthing has been twice presented to the Lagthing, and has been a second time rejected, the two chambers are convened in joint session, and in this consolidated body proposals are carried by a two-thirds vote. All questions pertaining to the revision of the constitution are required to be voted upon in this manner.

[Footnote 817: Art. 75. Ibid., II., 136.]

*644. The Veto Power.*—A bill passed by the Storthing is laid forthwith before the king. If he approves it, the measure becomes law. If he does not approve it, he returns it to the Odelsthing with a statement of his reasons for disapproval. A measure which has been vetoed may not again be submitted to the king by the same Storthing. The royal veto, however, is not absolute. "If," says the constitution, "a measure has been passed without change by three regular Storthings convened after three separate successive elections, and separated from each other by at least two intervening regular sessions, without any conflicting action having in the meantime been taken in any session between its first and last passage, and is then presented to the king with the request that his majesty will not refuse his approval to a measure which the Storthing, after the most mature deliberation, considers beneficial, such measure shall become law even though the king fails to approve it...."[818] In the days of the Swedish union the precise conditions under which the royal veto might be exercised were the subject of interminable controversy. In respect to ordinary legislation the stipulations of the constitution were plain enough, but in respect to measures which in essence comprised constitutional amendments the silence of that instrument afforded room for wide differences of opinion. An especially notable conflict was that which took place in the early eighties respecting a proposal to admit the Norwegian ministers to the Storthing with the privilege of participation in the deliberations of that body. The measure was passed by overwhelming majorities by three Storthings after three successive general elections, and in accordance with the constitution, under the Norwegian interpretation, it ought thereupon to have been recognized as law. The king, however, not only refused to approve the bill, but asserted firmly that his right to exercise an absolute veto in constitutional questions was "above all doubt"; and when the Storthing pronounced the measure law without the royal sanction, both crown and Swedish ministry avowed that by them it would not be recognized as valid. In the end (in 1884) the Storthing won, but the issue was revived upon numerous occasions. Under the independent monarchy of 1905 there has been no difficulty of the sort; nor, in view of the eminently popular aspect of kingship in Norway to-day, (p. 585) is such difficulty likely to arise.

[Footnote 818: Art. 79. Dodd, Modern Constitutions, II., 137-138.]

*645. Political Parties: Liberals and Conservatives.*—Prior to the accession of Oscar II., in 1872, the preponderating fact in the political development of the kingdom was the gradual growth of parliamentary power on the part of the representatives of the peasantry. Between 1814 and 1830 the business of the Storthing was conducted almost wholly by members of the upper and official classes, but during the decade 1830-1840 the peasantry rose to the position of a highly influential class in the public affairs of the nation. The first of the so-called "peasant Storthings" was that of 1833. In it the peasant representatives numbered forty-five, upwards of half of the body. Under the leadership of Ole Ueland, who was a member of every Storthing between 1833 and 1869, the peasant party made its paramount issue, as a rule, the reduction of taxation and the practice of economy in the national finances.

After 1870 the intensification of the Swedish-Norwegian question led to the drawing afresh of party lines, and until the separation of 1905, the new grouping continued fairly stable. By the amalgamation of the peasant party, led by Jaabaek, and the so-called "lawyers" party, led by Johan Sverdrup, there came into being in the seventies a great Liberal party (the Venstre, or Left) whose fundamental purpose was to safeguard the liberties of Norway as against Swedish aggression. Until 1884 this party of nationalism was obliged to content itself with the role of opposition. Governmental control was lodged as yet in the Conservatives, whose attitude toward Sweden was distinctly conciliatory. In 1880 the Conservative leader, Frederick Stang, resigned the premiership, but his successor was another Conservative, Selmer. At the elections of 1882 the Liberals obtained no fewer than 82 of the 114 seats in the Storthing. Still the Conservatives refused to yield. In the meantime the Odelsthing had brought the entire ministry to impeachment before the Rigsret for having advised the king to interpose his veto to the measure giving ministers seats in Parliament. Early in 1883 Selmer and seven of his colleagues were sentenced to forfeiture of their offices, and the remaining three were fined. March 11, 1884, the king announced his purpose to abide by the decision of the court, distasteful to him as it was, and the Selmer cabinet was requested to resign. An attempt to prolong yet further the tenure of the Conservatives failed completely, and, June 23, 1884, the king sent for Sverdrup and authorized the formation of the first Liberal ministry in Norwegian history. The principal achievement of the new government was the final enactment of the long-contested (p. 586) measure according parliamentary seats to ministers. To this project the king at last gave his consent.

*646. The Ministerial Succession to 1905.*—The Sverdrup ministry endured almost exactly four years. In 1887 the party supporting it split upon a question of ecclesiastical policy, and at the elections of 1888 the Conservatives obtained fifty-one seats, while of the sixty-three Liberals returned not more than twenty-six were really in sympathy with Sverdrup. July 12, 1889, Sverdrup and his colleagues resigned. Then followed a rapid succession of ministries, practically every one of which met its fate, sooner or later, upon some question pertaining to the Swedish union: (1) that of Emil Stang[819] (Conservative), July 12, 1889, to March 5, 1891; (2) that of Johannes Steen (Liberal), which lasted until April, 1893; (3) a second Stang ministry, to February, 1895; and (4) the coalition ministry of Professor Hagerup, to February, 1898. At the elections of 1897 the Liberals won a signal victory, carrying seventy-nine of the one hundred fourteen seats, and in February of the next year there was established a second Steen ministry, under whose direction, as has appeared, there was carried the law introducing manhood suffrage. Steen retired in April, 1902, and another Liberal government, that of Blehr, held office until October, 1903. At the elections of 1903 the Conservatives and Moderates obtained sixty-three seats, the Liberals fifty, and the Socialists four. A second Hagerup ministry filled the period between October 23, 1903, and March 1, 1905, and upon its retirement there was constituted, under circumstances which involved temporarily the all but complete annihilation of party lines, a coalition ministry under Christian Michelsen, at whose hands was brought about immediately the separation from Sweden and the constitutional readjustments of 1905.

[Footnote 819: Son of the earlier premier, Frederick Stang.]

*647. Party History Since the Separation.*—Following the subsidence of the excitement attending the separation the party alignments of earlier days tended rapidly to reappear. The old issues, however, had been disposed of, and in their place sprang up new ones, largely social and economic in character. At the elections of 1906 the subjects to which the Liberals gave most prominence were female suffrage, old age pensions, and sickness and unemployment insurance. The Michelsen government, which was essentially Conservative, issued a moderate reform programme and, alleging that former party lines were obsolete, called upon the citizens of all classes for support. The elections were notable chiefly by reason of the fact that the Social Democrats increased their quota in the Storthing to eleven. Despite attacks of the more radical Left, the Michelsen cabinet stood firm (p. 587) until October 28, 1907, when the premier, by reason of ill health, was obliged to retire. Loevland, the minister of foreign affairs, succeeded; but, March 14, 1908, on a vote of want of confidence, his ministry was overthrown. A new cabinet was made up thereupon by the Liberal leader, Gunnar Knudsen. At the elections of 1909—the first in which women participated—this Liberal government lost the slender majority which it had possessed, and January 27, 1910, it resigned. Prior to the elections there were in the Storthing fifty-nine Liberals, fifty-four Conservatives and Moderates, and ten Social Democrats. Afterwards there were sixty-three Conservatives and Moderates, forty-seven Liberals, eleven Social Democrats, and two Independents. The popular vote of the Social Democrats was much in excess of that at any former election, but it was so distributed that the party realized from it but a single additional legislative seat. Upon the resignation of Knudsen the premiership was offered to Michelsen, whose health, however, precluded his accepting it. February 1, 1910, a Conservative-Moderate ministry was made up by Konow. February 19, 1912, it was succeeded by another ministry of the same type, under the premiership of the former president of the Storthing, Bratlie. At the elections of November 12, 1912, the Government lost heavily to the Liberals and to the Social Democrats. The socialist quota now numbers twenty-three.[820]

[Footnote 820: A brief account of Norwegian political parties to 1900 will be found in Lavisse et Rambaud, Histoire Generale, XII., 266-274; to 1906, in Cambridge Modern History, XII., 280-290. For additional references see pp. 578-579.]


*648. The Courts.*—For the administration of civil justice the kingdom of Norway is divided into 105 districts—eighty rural and twenty-five urban—in each of which there is a court of first instance composed of two justices chosen by the people. There are three higher tribunals, each with a chief justice and two associates. At the top stands the Hoeiesteret, or Supreme Court, consisting of a chief justice and six associates. The decisions of the Supreme Court may be neither appealed nor reviewed. For the trial of criminal cases, as regulated by law of July 1, 1887, there exist two types of tribunals: (1) the Lagmandsret, consisting of a president and ten jurors and (2) the Meddomsret, consisting of a judge and two non-professional assistants chosen for each case. There are in the kingdom four Lagdoemmer, or jury districts, each divided into circuits corresponding, as a rule, to the counties. The jury courts take cognizance of the more serious cases. "No (p. 588) one," the constitution stipulates, "shall be tried except in accordance with law or punished except by virtue of a judicial sentence; and examination by means of torture is forbidden."[821] The members of the Lagthing, together with those of the Supreme Court, comprise the Rigsret, or Court of Impeachment. This tribunal tries, without appeal, cases involving charges of misconduct in office brought by the Odelsthing against members of the Council of State, the Supreme Court, or the Storthing.[822]

[Footnote 821: Art. 96. Dodd, Modern Constitutions, II., 141.]

[Footnote 822: Arts. 86-87. Ibid., II., 139.]

*649. Local Government.*—For purposes of administration the kingdom is divided into twenty regions—the cities of Christiania and Bergen and eighteen Amter, or counties. At the head of each is an Amtmand, or prefect, who is appointed by the crown. The principal local unit is the Herred, or commune, of which there are upwards of seven hundred, mostly rural parishes. As a rule, the government of the commune is vested in a body of twelve to forty-eight representatives and a Formaend, or council, elected by and from the representatives and comprising one-fourth of their number. Every third year the representatives choose from among the members of the council a chairman and a deputy chairman; and, under the presidency of the Amtmand, the chairmen of the rural communes within each county meet yearly as an Amtsthing, or county diet, and adopt the budget of the county. Since the municipal electoral law of 1910 members of the communal councils are chosen on a basis of universal suffrage for both men and women.




*650. The Fundamental Laws.*—The constitution of the kingdom of Sweden is one of the most elaborate instruments of its kind in existence. It comprises a group of fundamental laws of which the most comprehensive is the regerings-formen of June 6, 1809, in 114 articles.[823] Closely related are (1) the law of royal succession of September 26, 1810; (2) the law of July 16, 1812, on the liberty of the press; and (3) the law of June 26, 1866, providing for a reorganization of the legislative chambers. The organs and powers of government are defined in much detail, but there is nothing equivalent to the bill of rights which finds a place in most European constitutions. The process of amendment is easy and minor amendments have been frequent. Amendments may originate with either the crown or the legislative houses, and any amendment which receives the assent of the crown is declared to be adopted if, after having been proposed or approved by one Riksdag, it is sanctioned by the succeeding one. Through the re-election of the lower chamber, which must intervene between the two stages, the people have some opportunity to participate in the amending process.[824]

[Footnote 823: See p. 572.]

[Footnote 824: Arts. 81-82. Dodd, Modern Constitutions, II., 240. In 1908 the ex-premier Staaff proposed that when the two chambers should disagree upon questions concerning the constitution and general laws resort should be had to a popular referendum; but the suggestion was negatived by the upper house unanimously and by the lower by a vote of 115 to 78. The text of the Swedish constitution, together with the supplementary fundamental laws of the kingdom, is contained in W. Uppstroem, Sveriges Grundlager och konstitutionela stadgar jemte kommunallagarne samt Norges Grundlov (6th ed., Stockholm, 1903). An English version is printed in Dodd, Modern Constitutions, II., 219-251, and a French one in Dareste, Constitutions Modernes (3d ed.), II., 46-114. The best brief treatise upon Swedish constitutional history is P. Fahlbeck, La constitution suedoise et le parlementarisme moderne (Paris, 1905). The best description of the Swedish government as it was a quarter of a century ago is T. H. Aschehoug, Das Staatsrecht der vereinigten koenigreiche Schweden und Norwegen (Freiburg, 1886), in Marquardsen's Handbuch. The principal treatise in Swedish is C. Naumann, Sveriges statsfoerfatningsraett (2d ed., Stockholm, 1879-1884).]

*651. The Crown and the Ministry.*—At the head of the state (p. 590) stands the king. The monarchy is hereditary, and the crown is transmitted in the male line in the order of primogeniture. It is required that the king shall belong invariably to the Lutheran Church and that at his accession he shall take an oath to maintain scrupulously the laws of the land. With the king is associated a Statsrad, or Council of State, appointed by the crown "from among capable, experienced, honest persons of good reputation, who are Swedes by birth, and who belong to the pure, evangelical faith."[825] By constitutional requirement the Council is composed of eleven members, one of whom is designated by the king as minister of state and president of the council, or premier. Of the eleven eight are heads of the departments, respectively, of Foreign Affairs, Justice, Land Defense, Naval Defense, Home Affairs, Finance, Agriculture, and Education and Ecclesiastical Affairs. The president and two other members are ministers without portfolio.

[Footnote 825: Art. 4. Dodd, Modern Constitutions, II., 220.]

*652. The Exercise of Executive Powers.*—The powers of the Swedish executive are large. A few are exercised by the crown alone; some by the crown in conjunction with a small specified number of ministers; the majority by the crown and entire ministry conjointly. The king acts independently as the commander-in-chief of the land and naval forces of the kingdom. He may conclude treaties and alliances with foreign powers, after having consulted the minister of state, the minister of foreign affairs, and one other member of the Council. But if he wishes to declare war or to conclude peace he must convene in special session the full membership of the Council and must require of each member separately his opinion. "The king may then," it is stipulated, "make and execute such a decision as he considers for the best interests of the country."[826] In other words, in such a matter the king is obliged to consult, but not necessarily to be guided by, his ministerial advisers.

[Footnote 826: Art. 13. Ibid., 223.]

In general, it may be affirmed that this is the principle which underlies the organization of the Swedish executive. After having been prepared by one or more of the ministers, projects are considered by the king in council; but the right of ultimate decision rests with the king. It is thus that appointments to all national offices are made, titles of nobility are conferred, ordinances are promulgated, texts of new laws are framed, and questions of peace and war are determined. Nominally, the ministers are responsible to the Riksdag for all acts of the Government. But the constitution plainly states that after matters have been discussed in the Council "the king alone shall have the power to decide."[827] If the king's decision is palpably (p. 591) contrary to the constitution or the general laws, the ministers are authorized to enter protest. But that is all that they may do. The ministers have seats in the Riksdag, where they participate in debate and, in the name of the crown, initiate legislation. But their responsibility lies so much more directly to the king than to the legislature that what is commonly understood as the parliamentary system can hardly be said to exist in the kingdom.

[Footnote 827: Art. 9. Dodd, Modern Constitutions, II., 221.]


*653. Establishment of the Bicameral System, 1866.*—Until past the middle of the nineteenth century the Swedish Riksdag, or diet, comprised still an assemblage of the four estates of the realm—the nobles, the clergy, the burghers, and the peasants. Throughout several decades a preponderating political question was that of substituting for this essentially mediaeval arrangement a modern bicameral legislative system. In 1840 the Riksdag itself insisted upon a change, but the king, Charles XIV., refused to give his assent. During the reign of Oscar I. (1844-1859) several proposals were forthcoming, but none met with acceptance. It was left to Charles XV. (1859-1872), in collaboration with his able minister of justice, Baron Louis Gerhard de Geer, to effect the much-needed reform. In January, 1863, the Government submitted to the Estates a measure whereby there was to be constituted a Riksdag of two chambers—an upper one, which should be essentially an aristocratic senate, and a lower, whose members should be elected triennially by the people. In 1865 all of the four estates acted favorably upon the bill and, January 22, 1866, the measure was promulgated by the crown as an integral part of the fundamental law of the kingdom. September 1, 1866, there were held the first national elections under the new system. Since 1866 the upper chamber has represented principally the old estates of the nobles and clergy, and the lower has comprised the combined representatives of the townsmen and peasants. The one has been conservative, and even aristocratic; the other, essentially democratic. But the reform has contributed greatly to the breaking up of the ancient rigidity of the Swedish constitution and has opened the way for a parliamentary leadership on the part of the commons which was impossible so long as each of four orders was in possession of an equal voice and vote in legislative business.

*654. The Upper Chamber.*—The membership of both houses of the Riksdag is wholly elective, that of the upper indirectly, and that of the (p. 592) lower directly, by the people. The upper house consists of 150 members chosen by ballot, after the principle of proportional representation, for a term of six years by the twenty-five Landsthings, or provincial representative assemblies, and by the corporations of five of the larger towns—Stockholm, Goeteborg, Malmoe, Norrkoeping, and Gaefle. These electoral bodies are arranged in six groups, in one of which an election takes place in September of every year. The franchise arrangements under which they are themselves chosen are still determined principally with reference to property or income, but they are no longer so undemocratic as they were prior to the electoral reform of 1909, and whereas the elections were previously indirect, they are now direct. No person may be elected to the upper chamber who is not of Swedish birth, who has not attained his thirty-fifth year, and who during three years prior to his election has not owned taxable property valued at 50,000 kroner or paid taxes on an annual income of at least 3,000 kroner.[828] A member who at any time loses these qualifications forthwith forfeits his seat. Members formerly received no compensation, but under the reform measure of 1909 they, as likewise members of the lower chamber, are accorded a salary of 1,200 kroner for each session of four months, and, in the event of an extra session, 10 kroner a day, in addition to travelling expenses.

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