Hats (party)

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The Hats (


Hat preserved in the Swedish garrison.

Count Arvid Horn, leader of the Caps, had governed Sweden since 1719. Following Sweden's defeat in the Great Northern War, he had reversed the traditional policy of Sweden by keeping France at a distance, drawing near to Great Britain, and making no significant effort to regain Sweden's lost Baltic empire. Those opposed to this peaceful policy derisively nicknamed his adherents "Night-caps", and these epithets became party badges when the estates met in 1738. The Hats routed the government, and Horn was compelled to retire after 33 years in high office. Now in power, the Hats aimed at restoring Sweden to her former position as a great power, and sought to renew the traditional alliance with France. France welcomed the rise of a Swedish government which would uphold French interests in northern Europe, and Versailles generously financed the Hat party for the next two generations.

The first sign of weakness in the Hats' government came after the

Kymi river, often called Old Finland
, was retained by Russia.

In the 1750s, the Hats saw the utter collapse of their foreign system. At the instigation of France they entered the

Frederick Axel von Fersen
, the Hat candidate, by a large majority; and, out of the hundred seats in the secret committee, the Hats succeeded in getting only ten.

The Hats returned briefly to power in the Riksdag of 1769, but were soon once again defeated by the Caps. Against a backdrop of Russian encroachment, King

coup d'etat in 1772 and moved towards an absolute monarchy
. During the political upheavals of the ensuing decades, both Hats and Caps disappeared as political forces.

Majority leaders

These representatives of the Hats were elected as

, signifying a parliamentary majority.

See also