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De norrländska landshövdingarna och statsbildningen 1634-1769
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Historical Studies.
2005 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The thesis studies the county governors of northern Sweden during the period 1634–1769, altogether 41 men, and their part in the ongoing state formation process during the early modern period. The office of county governor was established in the constitution of 1634 and played an integral part in the modernisation of the local and regional administration of the Swedish realm. The governors’ primary tasks were to monitor the bailiffs and other civil servants and to protect the interests of the Crown. Another task was to maintain the communication between the King and the subjects. The Crown wished to increase its control over the political, economic, ideological and military spheres of society, in the pursuit of greater revenues and more conscripts to army, among other things. Special interest is paid to four different aspects of the governors and their work.

A study of the governors’ conception of their position and duties of the office shows that their valuation of the office varied with the individual office-holder’s personal status and situation. Many governors uttered sentiments reminiscent of a patrimonial administration, although the system de jure showed many bureaucratic characteristics.

At the county council, a former arena of regional self-government, the governors met and interacted with the subjects and announced decrees from the Crown. The county council was an important forum for regional administration and interaction, although it was not sanctioned in law, and therefore held at an ad hoc basis.

The daily work of the governors varied with the changing times and conditions of the region and the realm as a whole. In times of war, military matters were predominant in the governor’s correspondence with the King. But the daily administrative work on the regional and local level was never dominated by military issues. All different aspects of society had to be kept in working order, whether the realm was at war or not. The supplications that were sent from the subjects to the governor also always had a good chance of being granted. This was an important tool for legitimating the prevailing social order. The rulers of the realm thereby presented themselves as benign and ready to attend to the subjects’ needs.

A few governors of northern Sweden were subjected to the investigations of royal commissions, but none of the them were deposed by such commissions. The investigations were caused by complaints from other civil servants, military officers and also from the populace. The accusations pertained to abuse and neglect of office and violations of the rights of specific groups.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Historiska studier , 2005. , 319 p.
Skrifter från institutionen för historiska studier, ISSN 1651-0046 ; 10
Keyword [en]
History, regional administration, local administration, county governors, state formation, state building, power, authority, 17th century, 18th century, Sweden
Keyword [sv]
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-536ISBN: 91-7305-880-7OAI: diva2:143746
Public defence
Available from: 2005-05-13 Created: 2005-05-13Bibliographically approved

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