Download e-book for kindle: Sweden in the Seventeenth Century (European History in by Paul Lockhart


By Paul Lockhart

ISBN-10: 0333731573

ISBN-13: 9780333731574

It is a survey of the purpose in heritage while Sweden rose to preeminence in Europe. Drawing at the most recent literature in Swedish and different languages, Paul Lockhart examines the associations of the Swedish 'empire' on the top of its effect, whereas concentrating on the foremost ancient questions: why did this impoverished country develop into a good energy, how was once it in a position to hold this prestige, and what led to its eventual decline?

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The Kalmar War, conversely, had only made this danger loom more menacingly than ever before. 6 Constitutional and Administrative Reform Gustav II Adolf’s enviable reputation as a monarch stems primarily from his achievements as a military leader, strategist, and tactician. This is unfortunate, if for no other reason than the fact that historians tend to overlook the significant domestic reforms that characterized the reign. The reform of the judiciary and fiscal apparatus of the state is far less dramatic than the story of the brilliantly executed campaigns in Germany in 1631–32; but an understanding of these reforms is of an equal or greater importance to an understanding of the process by which Sweden managed to assert itself as a great power in European affairs.

All of the resources of the state were bent towards this end, but until the imposition of absolutism in 1680 those resources were not adequate to the task at hand. If commercial or economic motives played any role at all in the formulation of foreign policy, it was this: that the demands of the ‘military state’ necessitated an expansion of Sweden’s resource base. Economic interests promoted military action only to the extent that Sweden’s capacity to fight required a steady flow of cash. The Swedish crown never made war to get rich or to make its aristocracy rich; it made war to obtain the resources necessary to fuel its military establishment, which in turn was vital to safeguard the security of the state.

It was not simply a question of asserting the authority of the central government over a contentious landed elite, as was the case in France under Richelieu and Mazarin. France was wealthy, and Sweden was not; in France provincial liberties and a powerful nobility acted as a barrier to any assertion of royal authority, but in Sweden regional identities were not so well defined and the landed aristocracy not nearly so capable of resistance. A comparison between Vasa Sweden and Oldenburg Denmark also highlights the role of warfare as a catalyst in the reform process: the two states employed very similar administrative systems and subscribed to very similar constitutional ideologies at the beginning of the century, and both states would adopt absolute monarchy in the last half of the century; but in the interim the pace of administrative growth and streamlining was much more rapid in warlike Sweden than in Denmark.

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Sweden in the Seventeenth Century (European History in Perspective) by Paul Lockhart

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