Political change c. 1880-1920: Why so
late; why so rapid; why without revolution?
B. Political developments
Norway, Denmark and Sweden - not Finland:
(a) struggle for modern parliamentary government and political
democracy (b) rise of social democracy
Democracy and independence from Sweden: leader, Johan Sverdrup. 1884: parliamentary government established. 1898: universal manhood suffrage. 1901: votes for women in local elections. 1905: independence. 1913: full suffrage (men and women).
Norwegian Labour Party
founded 1887. 1903: first parliamentary representation; 32% of
vote by 1916. 1919-23: member of Communist International. Formed
minority govt. in 1928 (8 days); in govt again 1935-65.
Why so radical until 1930s?
Explanations (see J. Ryssevik in L. Karvonen & J. Sundberg
(eds.), Social Democracy in Transition): (a) late and rapid
industrialisation (b) early democratisation (c) openness of party
organisation (d) broader political developments.
1848: democratic constitution. 1866:
conservative amendment. 1872: formation of Liberal (Venstre
- i.e. 'Left') Party. Conflict between parliament and govt. of
J.B.S. Estrup - defence issue. 1901: 'System change': first
democratically elected (Liberal) govt.
Danish Social Democratic Party
established 1878. Cooperation with Liberals. 33% of vote by 1920.
Formed minority govt 1924-6; in govt with Radical Liberals 1929-40
(and again post-WW2). Reformist, pragmatic, uninterested in ideology
1866: Parliamentary reform. 1867: Farmers'
Party. 1889: Social Democratic Party: Hjalmar Branting
co-founder, first MP (1896) and chairman (from 1907). 1902: Liberal
Party. 1904: Conservative Party. 1911-14: Liberal govt. under
Karl Staaff. Conflict with Conservatives and King Gustav
V on defence question. Feb. 1914: Farmers' demonstration and king's
'palace yard speech', Resignation of Staaff; formation of govt.
by Hjalmar Hammarskjöld. Sept. 1917: formation of
first parliamentary govt. (Liberal/Social Democrat); Nov. 1918:
parliamentary reform, universal suffrage.
Social Democratic Party in govt. during
1920s and again 1932-76.
1. Weakness of the Right (Frank
Castles, The Social Democratic Image of Society)
2. Class alliances (Gøsta Esping-Andersen, Politics against Markets: The Social Democratic Road to Power)