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Bilan faller - Dödsstraffet och dess avskaffande

Löfgren, Viktor LU (2013) LAGF03 20131
Department of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
Förevarande arbete har som målsättning att utreda huruvida en förändring i dödsstraffsdebatten skedde under 1800-talet och 1900-talets första decennier intill dess avskaffande 1921.

För att på ett bra sätt kunna företa en sådan granskning inleds uppsatsen med ett avsnitt som kortfattat beskriver den svenska historien för att därefter följas av ett avsnitt enbart rörande dödsstraffsdebatten och avslutas med en analyserande och reflekterande del.

Den svenska historien var under lång tid präglad av krig och konfliket såväl med våra grannstater som inom riket. Det tidiga Sverige under Birger Jarl och Magnus Ladulås lade dock en någorlunda stabil grund till vad som efter Kalmarunionens fall utbyggdes av Gustav Vasa och hans söner under... (More)
Förevarande arbete har som målsättning att utreda huruvida en förändring i dödsstraffsdebatten skedde under 1800-talet och 1900-talets första decennier intill dess avskaffande 1921.

För att på ett bra sätt kunna företa en sådan granskning inleds uppsatsen med ett avsnitt som kortfattat beskriver den svenska historien för att därefter följas av ett avsnitt enbart rörande dödsstraffsdebatten och avslutas med en analyserande och reflekterande del.

Den svenska historien var under lång tid präglad av krig och konfliket såväl med våra grannstater som inom riket. Det tidiga Sverige under Birger Jarl och Magnus Ladulås lade dock en någorlunda stabil grund till vad som efter Kalmarunionens fall utbyggdes av Gustav Vasa och hans söner under 1500-talet och 1600-talets början. Kungen knöt alltmer makt till sin person och kyrkan reformerades. Under denna tid började dödsstraffen alltmer bli påtagliga i den svenska lagen och fortsatte vara så till 1800-talet. Riket var fram till 1809 ofta i krig och utvecklades långsamt. På 1800-talet inleddes en sekulariseringsprocess samtidigt som den industriella revolutionen urbaniserade och utvecklade riket. Den gamla ståndsriksdagen försvann och ersattes av en tvåkammarriksdag. Rättsligt inskränktes dödsstraffet succesivt under denna tid och försvann helt 1921.

Dödsstraffsdebatten under denna tid inriktade sig på ett par centrala argument som var återkommande under hela debatten. Dessa var, preventiv verkan, problematiken då en livstidsdömd begår nya brott, statens nödvärnsrätt och plikt att försvara sig, att dödsstraffet är barbariskt och tillhör en svunnen tid, att möjligheten till förbättring försvinner samt risken att en oskyldig döms. Vissa andra debattinlägg var mer tidstypiska, häribland kan finnas teologiska argument som var starkare och mer återkommande i början av debatten medan psykologiska argument och jämförelser med utlandet slår igenom senare i debatten.

Debatten är under hela 1800-talet och 1900-talets två första decennier tämligen likformig och förändras ej i alltför stor utsträckning. Skälen till detta är enligt min uppfattning att dödsstraffets kärna ständigt är densamma. De förändringar som sker är främst hänförliga till den samhälleliga förändringen som sker.
De återkommande argumenten att tiden för straffets avskaffande måste vara den rätta blir således mycket träffande då det snarare än samhället mognad än den föga förändrade debatten som blir avgörande för när straffet sedermera avskaffas. Ett för tidigt avskaffande hade med detta synsätt varit omöjligt då samhället och folket ej var redo, jfr det decentraliserade medeltida Sverige eller den krigiska stormakten. De förändringar i samhället som skedde under 1800-talet och 1900-talets början lade grunden för denna mognad varför straffets avskaffande trots ihärdig debatt drog ut på tiden. (Less)
Abstract
The goal of the following essay is to investigate any changes in the debate regarding the Swedish death penalty which took place during the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century until the death penalty was abolished in 1921.

To be able to undertake such an investigation it’s my personal belief that one first must know the basics of Swedish history. Therefore the essay starts with a section that briefly describes the evolution of the Swedish society and the Swedish legal history. Thereafter follows a section that aims to clarify and monitor the debate regarding the death penalty. The essay will be concluded with a section that analyses the information that has been given in previous sections.

The Swedish history is... (More)
The goal of the following essay is to investigate any changes in the debate regarding the Swedish death penalty which took place during the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century until the death penalty was abolished in 1921.

To be able to undertake such an investigation it’s my personal belief that one first must know the basics of Swedish history. Therefore the essay starts with a section that briefly describes the evolution of the Swedish society and the Swedish legal history. Thereafter follows a section that aims to clarify and monitor the debate regarding the death penalty. The essay will be concluded with a section that analyses the information that has been given in previous sections.

The Swedish history is largely marked by war and conflict with both our neighboring states as well as within the kingdom itself. The young state governed by Birger Jarl and King Magnus Ladulås however established a fragile foundation upon which the kingdom was later built and expanded by Gustav Vasa after the Kalmar union had ceased to exist. The king centralized much of the power in the realm to his own person and also reformed the church. During this period the death penalty was commonly used and continued to be so until the 19th century. Until this period Sweden was often involved in wars and developed slowly. After 1809, however, the kingdom entered the industrial revolution which urbanized and developed the state. During the same time a secularization process started. In the same period the old parliament with nobles, priests, commoners and peasants were replaced with a parliament with two chambers. During the 19th century the death penalty was repeatedly reduced and was abolished in 1921.

The debate regarding the death penalty during this time was concentrated on a few central arguments which were recurring during the entire debate. These were, crime prevention, the problem that occurs if a lifetime sentenced prisoner commits new crimes, the duty of the state to defend itself and its citizens, that the death penalty is barbaric and belongs in the past, that the possibility of improvement for death sentenced disappears and the risk that an innocent is executed. Other arguments were more temporary and more influenced by the time during which they existed.

Such arguments were religious arguments which were stronger and more reoccurring in the beginning of the debate. Psychological arguments and comparative studies were more occurring in the later debate.

The debate regarding the death penalty was during the entire 19th century and the beginning of 20th century rather uniform and constant and didn’t change much. The reasons for this are, in my opinion, that the “core” of the death penalty is constant and unchanging. The changes in the debate are rather linked to the social development. The recurring argument that the time for the abolishment has to be right is hence very accurate since the abolishment rather is connected to social growth and development of the state, than to the hardly changing debate. A premature removal of the death penalty from the penal code would with this point of view be impossible hence the state and the people wouldn’t be ready for it, e.g. medieval Sweden. The social changes that took place during the 19th and early 20th centuries planted the seed for what would later become this process of development of the state and are the reason why the evolvement, despite heavy debate, into the sufficient developed state took time. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Löfgren, Viktor LU
supervisor
organization
course
LAGF03 20131
year
type
M2 - Bachelor Degree
subject
keywords
rättshistoria, legal history, Olivecrona, dödsstraffet, death penalty, Thyrén, avrättning, execution.
language
Swedish
id
3800977
date added to LUP
2013-09-11 14:23:01
date last changed
2013-09-11 14:23:01
@misc{3800977,
  abstract     = {The goal of the following essay is to investigate any changes in the debate regarding the Swedish death penalty which took place during the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century until the death penalty was abolished in 1921. 

To be able to undertake such an investigation it’s my personal belief that one first must know the basics of Swedish history. Therefore the essay starts with a section that briefly describes the evolution of the Swedish society and the Swedish legal history. Thereafter follows a section that aims to clarify and monitor the debate regarding the death penalty. The essay will be concluded with a section that analyses the information that has been given in previous sections. 

The Swedish history is largely marked by war and conflict with both our neighboring states as well as within the kingdom itself. The young state governed by Birger Jarl and King Magnus Ladulås however established a fragile foundation upon which the kingdom was later built and expanded by Gustav Vasa after the Kalmar union had ceased to exist. The king centralized much of the power in the realm to his own person and also reformed the church. During this period the death penalty was commonly used and continued to be so until the 19th century. Until this period Sweden was often involved in wars and developed slowly. After 1809, however, the kingdom entered the industrial revolution which urbanized and developed the state. During the same time a secularization process started. In the same period the old parliament with nobles, priests, commoners and peasants were replaced with a parliament with two chambers. During the 19th century the death penalty was repeatedly reduced and was abolished in 1921. 

The debate regarding the death penalty during this time was concentrated on a few central arguments which were recurring during the entire debate. These were, crime prevention, the problem that occurs if a lifetime sentenced prisoner commits new crimes, the duty of the state to defend itself and its citizens, that the death penalty is barbaric and belongs in the past, that the possibility of improvement for death sentenced disappears and the risk that an innocent is executed. Other arguments were more temporary and more influenced by the time during which they existed. 

Such arguments were religious arguments which were stronger and more reoccurring in the beginning of the debate. Psychological arguments and comparative studies were more occurring in the later debate. 

The debate regarding the death penalty was during the entire 19th century and the beginning of 20th century rather uniform and constant and didn’t change much. The reasons for this are, in my opinion, that the “core” of the death penalty is constant and unchanging. The changes in the debate are rather linked to the social development. The recurring argument that the time for the abolishment has to be right is hence very accurate since the abolishment rather is connected to social growth and development of the state, than to the hardly changing debate. A premature removal of the death penalty from the penal code would with this point of view be impossible hence the state and the people wouldn’t be ready for it, e.g. medieval Sweden. The social changes that took place during the 19th and early 20th centuries planted the seed for what would later become this process of development of the state and are the reason why the evolvement, despite heavy debate, into the sufficient developed state took time.},
  author       = {Löfgren, Viktor},
  keyword      = {rättshistoria,legal history,Olivecrona,dödsstraffet,death penalty,Thyrén,avrättning,execution.},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Bilan faller - Dödsstraffet och dess avskaffande},
  year         = {2013},
}