Advanced

Peasant Aristocrats? Wealth and Social Status of Swedish Farmer Parliamentarians 1769–1895

Bengtsson, Erik LU and Olsson, Mats LU (2018) In Lund Papers in Economic History. General Issues
Abstract
Sweden was unique in early modern Europe, in that its parliament included a peasant farmer estate. It is commonplace in Swedish and international research to consider the peasant farmer politicians as the guarantee of a liberal and egalitarian path of development. On the other hand, in the Swedish-language political history literature, the peasant politicians are often seen as rather narrow-minded, their common political program limited to the issue of keeping (their own) taxes as low as possible, and opposed to any expansion of social policy and citizenship rights. To address the role of peasant farmer politicians, this paper presents a novel dataset of the social and economic status of the peasant MPs, with benchmarks for the 1769, 1809,... (More)
Sweden was unique in early modern Europe, in that its parliament included a peasant farmer estate. It is commonplace in Swedish and international research to consider the peasant farmer politicians as the guarantee of a liberal and egalitarian path of development. On the other hand, in the Swedish-language political history literature, the peasant politicians are often seen as rather narrow-minded, their common political program limited to the issue of keeping (their own) taxes as low as possible, and opposed to any expansion of social policy and citizenship rights. To address the role of peasant farmer politicians, this paper presents a novel dataset of the social and economic status of the peasant MPs, with benchmarks for the 1769, 1809, 1840, 1865 and 1895 parliaments. We show that the politicians were three to four times wealthier than their voters, and in the 1895 parliament even 7.8 times wealthier. They were more likely to take bourgeois surnames and their children were likely to make a transition away from the peasant class and into the middle class. The exclusiveness of the peasant politicians, which increased over the nineteenth century, has implications for their policies, and helps explain the increasing conservatism and right-ward drift of Swedish farmer politics over the century. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Working Paper
publication status
published
subject
keywords
peasant farmers, parliaments, Sweden, political economy
in
Lund Papers in Economic History. General Issues
issue
2018:175
pages
27 pages
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
427c01fb-4c5f-48da-9d00-1f220865c82f
date added to LUP
2018-06-19 11:24:32
date last changed
2018-11-21 21:40:27
@misc{427c01fb-4c5f-48da-9d00-1f220865c82f,
  abstract     = {Sweden was unique in early modern Europe, in that its parliament included a peasant farmer estate. It is commonplace in Swedish and international research to consider the peasant farmer politicians as the guarantee of a liberal and egalitarian path of development. On the other hand, in the Swedish-language political history literature, the peasant politicians are often seen as rather narrow-minded, their common political program limited to the issue of keeping (their own) taxes as low as possible, and opposed to any expansion of social policy and citizenship rights. To address the role of peasant farmer politicians, this paper presents a novel dataset of the social and economic status of the peasant MPs, with benchmarks for the 1769, 1809, 1840, 1865 and 1895 parliaments. We show that the politicians were three to four times wealthier than their voters, and in the 1895 parliament even 7.8 times wealthier. They were more likely to take bourgeois surnames and their children were likely to make a transition away from the peasant class and into the middle class. The exclusiveness of the peasant politicians, which increased over the nineteenth century, has implications for their policies, and helps explain the increasing conservatism and right-ward drift of Swedish farmer politics over the century.},
  author       = {Bengtsson, Erik and Olsson, Mats},
  keyword      = {peasant farmers,parliaments,Sweden,political economy},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Working Paper},
  number       = {2018:175},
  pages        = {27},
  series       = {Lund Papers in Economic History. General Issues },
  title        = {Peasant Aristocrats? Wealth and Social Status of Swedish Farmer Parliamentarians 1769–1895},
  year         = {2018},
}