Kingdom of Sweden
Konungariket Sverige (Swedish)
Gustav IV Adolph
• 1792–1796 (first)
|Charles, Duke of Södermanland|
Gustav IV Adolph
|29 March 1792|
|29 March 1809|
|6 June 1809|
|ISO 3166 code||SE|
|History of Sweden|
Adolf Frederick of Sweden died on 12 February 1771. The elections afterward resulted in a partial victory for the Caps party, especially among the lower orders; but in the estate of the peasantry the Caps majority was merely nominal, while the mass of the nobility was dead against them. Nothing could be done, however, till the return of the new king, Gustav III, from Paris.
The new coronation oath contained three revolutionary clauses:
- The first aimed at making abdications in the future impossible by binding the king to reign uninterruptedly.
- The second obliged him to abide, not by the decision of all the estates together, as heretofore, but by that of the majority only, with the view of enabling the actually dominant lower estates (in which there was a large Cap majority) to rule without the nobility.
- The third clause required him, in all cases of preferment, to be guided not "principally" as heretofore, but "solely" by merit.
All through 1771 the estates wrangled over the clauses. An attempt of the king to mediate foundered on the suspicions of the estate of burgesses, and on 24 February 1772. the nobility yielded.
The non-noble Cap majority now proceeded to attack the Privy Council. the Riksrådet, the last stronghold of the Hats, and, on 25 April of that year, it succeeded in ousting them. It was now, for the first time, that Gustav began to consider the possibility of a revolution.
The new constitution of 20 August 1772 which Gustav III imposed upon the Riksdag of the Estates, converted a weak and disunited republic into a strong but limited monarchy. The estates could assemble only when summoned by him; he could dismiss them whenever he thought fit; and their deliberations were to be confined exclusively to the propositions which he laid before them. But these extensive powers were subjected to important checks. Thus, without the previous consent of the estates, no new law could be imposed, no old law abolished, no offensive war undertaken, no extraordinary war subsidy levied. The estates alone could tax themselves; they had the absolute control of the Riksbank – the Bank of Sweden, and the right of controlling the national expenditure.
In Sweden the change was most popular. But Gustav's first Riksdag, that of 1778, opened the eyes of the deputies to the fact that their political supremacy had departed. The king was now their sovereign lord; and, for all his courtesy and gentleness, the jealousy with which he guarded and the vigour with which he enforced the prerogative plainly showed that he meant to remain so. But it was not till after eight years more had elapsed that actual trouble began. The Riksdag of 1778 had been obsequious; the Riksdag of 1786 was mutinous. It rejected nearly all the royal measures outright, or so modified them that Gustav himself withdrew them. When he dismissed the estates, the speech from the throne held out no prospect of their speedy revocation.
Nevertheless, within three years, the king was obliged to summon another Riksdag, which met at Stockholm on 26 January 1789. His attempt in the interval to rule without a parliament had been disastrous. It was only by a breach of his own constitution that he had been able to
Abroad the Swedish revolution made a great sensation.
Unknown to party leaders, Gustav had renewed the Swedish alliance with France and had received solemn assurances of assistance from
The new king, Gustav IV, still a minor, was brought up among
The negotiations with the French Jacobins exacerbated the hatred which Gustav's supporters felt for the Jacobin counselors of Charles, the duke-regent, later
A rapprochement took place between the Scandinavian kingdoms during the revolutionary wars. Thus, on 27 March 1794, a neutrality compact was formed between with Denmark and Sweden; and their united squadrons patrolled the North Sea to protect their merchantmen from the British cruisers. The French republic was officially recognized by the Swedish government on 23 April 1795. In return, Sweden received a subsidy and a treaty between the two powers was signed on 14 September 1795. But an attempt to regain the friendship of Russia, which had broken off diplomatic relations with Sweden, was frustrated by the refusal of the king to accept as his bride the Russian grand duchess Alexandra, whom Reuterholm had provided. This was Reuterholm's last official act. On 1 November 1796, Gustav IV at age 18 took the government into his own hands.
The government of
A notable change took place in Sweden's foreign policy in December 1800 when Denmark, Sweden and Russia acceded to a
In 1806 a rupture between Sweden and Prussia was prevented only by Napoleon's assault upon the latter power. After
The immediate consequence of the Russian invasion was the deposition of Gustav IV Adolf by the
- Sweden during the Gustavian era
- Early Modern history of Sweden
- Finland under Swedish rule
- Gustavian style