Transnational Constructors of Parliamentary Democracy in Swedish and Finnish Constitutional Controversies, 1917–1919
Ihalainen, P. (2019). Transnational Constructors of Parliamentary Democracy in Swedish and Finnish Constitutional Controversies, 1917–1919. Scandinavian Journal of History, 44 (2), 213-235. doi:10.1080/03468755.2018.1500943
Published inScandinavian Journal of History
© 2018 the Author
During the First World War, the legitimacy of established polities was challenged everywhere in Europe. Not only the combatant great powers but also smaller states witnessed a resurgence of constitutional disputes and competing ideological conceptualizations of revolution and reform, the will of the people, democracy, and parliamentarism. While these controversies primarily focused on the future of the national polities concerned, historical experiences and discourses accelerated by the war and the Russian Revolution were transnationally interconnected and contributed to discursive transfers between political cultures. Swedish and Finnish socialists were linked by their internationals, liberals were connected by transnational debates for and against ‘Western’ democracy and parliamentarism, and conservative politicians and academics were involved in ideologically oriented networks. This article reconstructs transnational links and discourses in order to understand the exceptionally confrontational dynamics (which, in Finland, partly led to a civil war) and the outcomes of the Swedish and Finnish constitutional debates in 1917–1919. It examines the nature of the transnational connections of eight Swedish and Finnish conservatives, liberals, revisionist socialists, and far-Left socialists, analysing their argumentation on constitutional questions in published works and parliamentary speeches as illustrative examples of the political groups they represented. ...