The love story of Axel von Fersen and Marie-Antoinette



Axel von Fersen was a Swedish nobleman born 1755 in Stockholm. When he was 18 years old he travelled to Versailles in France during an educational travel, and met the Crown Princess of France, Marie-Antoinette, at a prom. She was also eighteen years old. Nothing happened that time, but four years later he returned to Versailles, and they started out on an affair. As she at that time had become the Queen of France, it was risky to have an affair, and many thought it was inappropriate. Therefore, Fersen joined the French army to protect Maire-Antoinette. He was sent to the American Revolutionary War at an age of 23 years, and despite his young age he got a high ranking. After four years of battling for the Northern States, he returned to France and continued his affair with the queen. A couple of years later Gustav III, king of Sweden came at an official trip to Versailles. Fersen was invited to the prom held at the end of his visit, and nine months later Marie-Antoinette gave birth to her first son, Louis Charles. Many historians today believe it was Fersen’s son, but nothing can be proved.

The French Revolution stood and waited around the corner. During some years Fersen travelled a lot between Sweden and France. When he was in France he was one of those who stood closest to the Royal Family, and he helped out planning their escape. When the Royal Family went by horse and carriage out from Paris, Fersen was the one who drove them. Unfortunately, he was exchanged at a break, and the family on the run was caught near the German boarder. In 1793 Marie-Antoinette was executed, along with the rest of her family, and Fersen grieved throughout the rest of his life. He moved back to Sweden a couple of years later, and died at Karl August’s funeral in 1810. A drunken and upset claimed that Fersen was the cause of the loss of the Crown Prince, and threw himself at him. In front of the Swedish Army he was beaten over and over again, and sailor finished the job by jumping with both his feet on the chest, breaking the ribcage.


Axel von Fersen’s love for Marie-Antoinette nearly cost him his life many times, but he kept coming back to her. If a queen of a country today would have an affair, the whole world would go wild, but at that time it was not much of a big deal, many who knew about it did not care. He risked his life by trying to help her out of situations, never because a fed up Frenchman tried to kill him. And what about the moral question? I cannot imagine how it would be to risk a whole nation’s balance just by having a relationship with the queen, even though it was not a big deal as said before.

During this time the Revolution broke out in France, and that was partly because Marie-Antoinette sat at the throne. She was not beloved by the people, because almost all she did was partying and buying expensive things to herself. That is not how a queen should act, and upon that she had affairs. I would not like to live in France at the end of the 18th century, and have such an instable situation and irresponsible queen.


What do you think about the affair from a moral perspective? Did her way of living have an impact on the Revolution?


/Sebastian Carlshamre

To become truly great, one has to stand with people, not above them.

To become truly great, one has to stand with people, not above them.

This is a quote by Charles de Montesquieu. I believe that by this quote he means that people will revere leaders that do not see themselves as dictators but instead as one of the people. Even though as a leader, having the same status as a citizen would not be possible, although he or she could have a good relation to the people of the state and that would help gaining trust from them, thus strengthening his reign.

There could also be other aspects to this quote, such as if it would be harder to lead a population that have voted for you and support you or a population that has been forced to obey you. I believe that if the people are afraid of you and they follow you only by fear, it could be easier to rule for a shorter amount of time but you have the risk of a revolution, it will only be a temporary solution and you will risk your life as well. When the people become tired of your rule, someone might try to kill you in order to appoint a new ruler. On the other hand when you rule because you have been voted leader you have to keep the people happy and that is more difficult than just using fear to rule, but on the other hand you can skip the part where you might become murdered.

What do you think? Is it easier to reign when the people are afraid of you or if they admire you?

/Daniel S Wong

"Drive out prejudices through the door, and they will return through the window."


March 19, 1771 - Letter to Voltaire

Frederick renewed his friendship with Voltaire, and in a letter to him he wrote that he wanted to enlighten "my people, cultivate their manners and morals, and make them as happy as human beings can be, or as happy as the means at my disposal permit." With others of the Enlightenment he continued to believe in tolerance, especially the tolerance of his subjects toward one another. But regarding this he would not be completely happy with the results. To Voltaire in 1771 he would write: "Drive out prejudices through the door, and they will return through the window."

During the Age of Enlightenment, there were advancements in many fields. This era mostly focused on the achievements of the individuals. The Age of Enlightenment resulted in less prejudice thoughts, less racism, less religious segregation and less class division.


A Prejudice is basically a statement that is very difficult to overcome. I.e. if you think you have gotten rid of them in one way they show up in some other form. An adverse judgment or opinion formed beforehand or without knowledge or examination of the facts. Often it is about intolerance of or dislike for people of a specific race, religion and butch of other things.

What we should do, I suggest, is to give up the idea of ultimate sources of knowledge, and admit that all knowledge is human; that it is mixed with our errors, our prejudices, our dreams, and our hopes; that all we can do is to grope for truth even though it be beyond our reach


Womens education

The status of women during the Enlightenment changed drastically. Even though individual liberties, social welfare, economic liberty and education often was discussed and brought up, it didn't affect women much. In many ways, the position of women was seriously degraded during the Enlightenment. Economically, the rise of capitalism produced laws that severely restricted women's rights to own property and run businesses. While Enlightenment thinkers were proposing economic freedom and enlightened monarchs were tearing down barriers to production and trade, women were being forced out of a variety of businesses throughout Europe. In 1600, more than two-thirds of the businesses in London were owned and administered by women; by 1800, that number had shrunk to less than ten percent.

Even though more people, especially women, could get an education the quality of the education became worse. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, education was available only to the wealthiest women, most to men. The education that these select women received was often fairly equivalent in content and quality to the best education available to men. The Enlightenment, however, stressed the absolute importance of education for moral development and the ideal operation of society. Education was extended to the women of the upper and middle classes. Thus Enlightenment thinkers believed that women and men differed in intellect. They said that science and philosophy only were meant for men. These subjects were closed off to women. Instead women were offered training in "accomplishments," which is, various skills that contribute to the moral development and the "display" quality of a wife: music, drawing, singing, painting, and so on. While men were learning the new sciences and philosophies, all that was offered to women in education was decorative "accomplishments."

Today we don't differ men from women when we discuss education. Everyone has the right to study any subject. However in Sweden today women often have a longer education then men. For those who choose to become a builder, painter or work with vehicles has a shorter education than for those who decide to become doctors, teachers or any other subject that needs high education from the person. Imagine a doctor who has no idea how to treat the most common illnesses! Even though we have the right to become what we want the majority who chooses to become something that has most to do with practical work, are men. These educations are shorter than others because you can choose it secondary school and then you're done. Whereas those who want to become a teacher or doctor or what ever that isn't to choose as a 3-year program in secondary school, have to live through 3 years of general knowledge to then study what the subject or ender a program that educate you for the job you in the future want to have.


Mordet på Gustav III

"Förliden fredag d. 16 mars 1792, kl. 3/4 till 12 om aftonen, då hans Kongl. Maj:t nyss var inkommen på maskeradbalen uti Kongl. Operahuset, hade en okänd mask infunnit sig uti trängseln af de masker, som samlat sig bakom konungen, och der aflossat en pistol hvars skott tagit ett stycke öfver venstra höften något ifrån ryggraden."


Gustav III was very interested in culture. Big parties with a big influence from France were common on the royal court and they even talked French there, even though it was in Sweden. It was just on a big party when Gustav III was murdered. The party was a masquerade ball on Kungliga Operan. During the night the king got a letter with a threat, Gustav III ignored it because he had got many of the same letters before, and then it didn’t happen something. This was a stupid mistake that the king did, later that evening Jacob Johan Anckarström shot him. It wasn’t just Jacob Johan Anckarström, it was about 13 people on the masquerade ball who was in the conspiracy. All of them had the same clothes.


Now to the question, why did Jacob Johan Anckarström shot Gustav III? Anckarström felt failed and blamed all on Gustav III, in particular of the constant tax increases. Another thing was that Gustav III changed the constitutional amendment so that he was alone to govern Sweden.


I think that Jacob Johan Anckarström did the wrong thing. Why shot a king because he felt failed? Sure, it wasn’t that fun when the taxes were increased and Gustav III changed the constitutional amendment but was it necessary to kill him just for that?


You can link this situation to things in today society, one example fighting. Let’s say that it is two boys on a party. Boy 1 is just looking at boy 2 and then the boy 2 became angry. Instead of talking with boy 1, boy 2 hit boy 1. This often happen when alcohol is involved and I think that instead of fighting the boys should talk. The same thing was when Jacob Johan Anckarström shot Gustav III. Instead of just shooting him, he should have talked with Gustav III before and than they could work it out in another way.


So in my opinion (and hopefully yours too) should people begin to talk more than e.g. fighting or shooting someone. Instead for be disturbed and angry you can try to do something about it!




To read more about the murder of Gustav III:




John Adams

John Adams



Adams was a highly educated statesman, diplomat and political theorist and promoted republicanism.

He was America’s second president 1797-1801 after a little profit against the one that in year 1800 won the election, Thomas Jefferson. Later anyway did he took up the friendship with him again after some years of tough competition between them.

Adams was a very active delegate from Massachusetts in the congress but did also work very hard for a free America. In May 1776 did the congress choose him and five other including Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Robert R. Livingston and Roger Sherman to write the American declaration of independence that should release them from Gr. Britain. From the beginning did it only was thirteen states, all from the east side of the big country. The declaration included what is called the best sentence of English language about individual human rights:


“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”


When the writers were elected it was usual that they were put in order and when it was voted the main writer became Thomas Jefferson the one that received most votes in the congress and Adams came after and it’s said that it was only with a single vote. John was big fighter for freedom and wrote in 1787 to the defence of the constitutions, I quote: “Children should be educated and instructed in the principles of freedom” which I think is pretty good because it is all about what you learn when you’re little, that will follow in your head throughout your life. Like if you learn to handle and not wasting your money when you’re little you probably won’t do it when you get older either. I think it’s the same thing with attitude to war.


They both died, John and Thomas incidentally on the independent day 4th of July 1826 and just hours after that Jefferson had died should Adams have said: “Thomas Jefferson survives”


/ Jakob Lundén

Catharine's plot against Peter III - What comes after a tyrant?


In the year of 1762 Karl Peter Ulrich was proclaimed Tsar of Russia(emperor) after the passing of Peter the Great, with the name Peter III. (Peter was the nephew of late King Charles XII of Sweden)  Peter was married to Sophia Augusta Frederica, later named as Catherine.


Peter was considered inappropriate as emperor due to his incompetence and excellent low talent. Around Catherine there was a group loyal to her and wanted to see her as Empress. In June 1762, one of the conspirators was arrested and to avoid the conspiracy to be revealed, it was decided to strike. Grigory Orlov, Catherine’s lover, and his four brothers had bought support in three Guards regiments in the capital. To meet any counter-attack from Tsar Peter, Catherine gathered 14,000 men and headed of towards Peterhof. Peter gave up without resistance, and was then under house arrest. Just over a week later Peter was beaten to death, after Catherine decided that he could never be released since he was a major threat to her as an Empress.

As Empress, Catherine's intentions were good-hearted but unfortunately didn’t lead to any improvements and it was equally unstable in Russia as when Peter had power.

Catherine had some difficulties controlling the nobility which had no intention on helping her what so ever, as long as Catharine didn’t have the support of the nobility she would have difficulties to manage the "new Russia" and keeping the plebs happy. (reason-The nobility didn’t want to give up the privileges they had.) During Peter's and Catherine’s reign the rich only became richer while the poor simply became poorer. The situation was just as unstable as before and once again on the verge of civil war. In 1773, Catherine struck down an uprising (the Pugatjev-uprising) against her regime but the hate and fear remained towards her and even enhanced by the influence of the French Revolution. Catherine was declared “the tyrant” by the Russian people. Later Catherine managed to gain power over the entire Russia and gave herself the title of Empress and Autocrat of all Russians.

This coup (revolution) to depose Peter III and replace him with Catherine, didn’t contribute whatsoever with any improvements in the governance of the country and it was still unstable and on the brink of civil war. This shows that when one deposes a bad leader from his or her position, one can never be sure that whoever succeeds will be somewhat better! The fear in who will take control after a tyrant, another tyrant maybe? Israel suffered from this fear in who would take the position as the new leader of Egypt after President Mubarak.

You can never be sure if the new leader won’t be as inefficient or even terrifying as the one before. Peter was a terrible example of a leader and Catharine couldn't allow that Russia would suffer from the incompetents of their current emperor, so she took the position as the leader of Russia and had so many plans for Russia. She turned out not to be so much better than Peter. She was only another tyrant.



// Nylund

French revolution

The economy before the revolution was terrible because the French king Louis XVI wanted to live as comfortable as possible as he could.
The king was no genius and lost a lot of wars, so the before so rich France now was really poor.
The king took the decision to raise the taxes A LOT because he didn’t want to lose his comfortable life.
How did Louise think when he did this decision, well they did have a different view of how thing worked at those days so basically I cant argue about this.
I’ll try anyway, by show himself weak to the other countries around France they started to invade.
By these war ( and losses ) the economy fell in the entire country, by raising the taxes he dug the economical bar even lower, he thought it could save him, I mean how?
should the money the people lose help just him?
In my opinion he should recruit more to the army and not let them work to pay taxes so when the army grows they can resist the attacks of their neighbor.
But the king had absolutely no knowledge about warfare at all so he probably wouldn’t be the one leading them. As the revolutionaries he should have generals.
Anyway its a lot thanks to him we got democracy today.
If it wasn’t for him the French revolution probably wouldn’t happened, but on the other hand if it wasn’t for him France could had a lot more important role in the United States and it could have ended in a way we don’t even can imagine.

By: Philip

Montesquieu – the Separation of powers

Charles Louis Joseph Montesquieu (1689-1755) was a French political thinker who lived during the Enlightenment. Montesquieu was the inventor of the model of the tripartite system. The model shows a separating of power among a legislative branch, an executive branch and a court. The model was based on the British constitutional system. He considered that a monarch should rule no country alone. As the monarch could be too fast when making decisions and therefore he can misuse his power. Also the monarch, according to Montesquieu, should not be able to make laws since he can make them just so that he benefits. Instead there should be laws deciding over the monarch. The most important aim with separating powers is to prevent dictatorship and an autocracy.


  • The legislative branch is the once who make laws. The legislative branch is supposed to be the voice of the people. As the people itself cannot participate during all discusses they vote for the persons included in the branch.


  • The Executive branch was the monarch and could not be chosen through elections. The monarch were not allowed to participate in the STIFFTANDE of the laws but were the once who could decide whether accept them or not.


  • The court are the once who use the laws during judging. Montesquieu thought the judge was supposed to be at the same social status as the on doomed. To make the judging more faire.


To make the model work, the different branches must limit the power of the others.  So that no one of the three branches becomes too powerful.


Today the Separation of Powers is still used in the US. Their political system proceeds from the model of Montesquieu. There are a separating of powers between the president, the congress and the Supreme Court.


I believe Montesquieu’s model is, to the most countries, a very good way of ruling. Dividing powers makes the people more involved and makes us a larger impact on politics etc. Although in crisis etc. there could actually be better with only one with the power, when we want action fast.


Do you think it is positive or negative to have divided powers?


For more reading about Montesquieu and his thoughts:



By: Nora JvS

Enlightened despot



A enlightened despot is about that during the 1700th century was the monarchies influenced by the enlightenment. It was said that the kings and queens were put in there seat by good, they were born to be king or queen. Voltaire changed that and said that they were put the by the people. One of the first one to agree with this as a king was Joseph II of Austria that said that he were put there by god but he was improving the seats for the people. This was also a way to strengthen their authority. Joseph II became a regent when his father died. His mother Maria Theresa then made him to a coregent even if they had very different motivations. She was a deeply believing catholic and was unsympathetic to the enlightenment. She stood with the church and nobles against the new changes even if the famous philosopher Voltaire said that enlightened monarchy was the only right way for society to advance. Anyway, Joseph however made a lot of enlightened reforms, people were know tended to get freedom of speech and press as religious toleration, they could even be able to hold an own property. At the same time did he continued on his mothers lines that she once had made up.

During this period said also a philosopher called Montesquieu said that republics were more suitable for large states and that monarchies were better for smaller states but why should it be like that? Probably had Montesquieu right because a lot of the larger countries around the world are actually republics even now a days, with some exceptions like Great Britain, Spain, Australia and Canada. What is it now that makes a little country suitable for monarchy? Could it be that in a big country is it more people who wants to decide things and therefore is it better with an elected head of state?

At last despot has in later years became an expression that are kind of patronizing and were often I connection with people that abused their power to oppress the population.


/ jakob lundén

”An Act to take away the Benefit of Clergy from some kind of Manslaughter.”

“An act to take away the Benefit of Clergy from some kind of Manslaughter” is a law invented by the Reigns of Elizabeth and James I. Before the invention of this law Clergy could basically do whatever they wanted to do.  The Clergy had it just as our Swedish king today. The Swedish king cannot be judge for murder or driving too fast. It was the same with the Clergy. When this law came, the Clergy did not have the same “freedom” any more. (If you can call it freedom to murder someone without being judge for it.) The Clergy became more like ordinary people in the society. The Clergy could now be judged for some kind of manslaughter.

I think this law is good. I mean, just because you are one type of person it does not mean that you can do whatever you want to do without consequences. Every person on this earth is equal. The job or place in the society should not matter.  I think it is strange that the Clergy had the benefit to do some kind of manslaughter earlier. I also find it very strange that our King today have the same benefit as the Clergy had back in days.  Our King and the Clergy should be good role models for the society. So, of course they should have the exact same rules as the rest of the society.


/ Linnéa.

Mary Wollstonecraft


“It is with a heavy heart I have to admit that either nature has made considerable difference between people and people, or that civilization so far hasn’t come very far”

Mary Wollstonecraft

These are word said by the person who is said to be one of the first feminists, and a woman who is still a great source of inspiration for many feminists of today. Mary Wollstonecraft was not afraid to say what she thought, even though her ideas were far ahead of her own time. Mary Wollstonecraft was born in Britain but moved to France during the time of the French revolution to be in the centre of the conflict.  While living in Paris she had a daughter which she called Fanny with an American called Gilbert Imlay. Back in England a few years later she married a philosopher called William Godwin. Their daughter were called Mary as well, and later she became Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (the author of Frankenstein), not to be confused with her mother.


Wollstonecraft approved the slogans of the revolution: Liberté, Égalité et Fraternité, which in English means Freedom, Equality and Brotherhood, except for the last one, brotherhood since she thought that this one actually excluded half of the population; the women. Probably that was not really what people meant by using this word. But I assume that Mary Wollstonecraft was tired of the unwritten law that nothing ever concerned women. The declaration of rights, which was written right after the revolution, was called “Tout les droits de l´homme”. In this case the word ”homme” in the meaning of humans in general. But as you might be aware of, ”homme” also means ”man” and it was like that most people without further consideration interpreted it. To most people it was obvious that the declaration concerned men only since women did not fill any real function in the community these days, more than, of course, delighting their husbands. There was nothing strange or wrong about that. This opinion was, however, not shared by Mary Wollstonecraft. She wanted reality to match the word in the meaning of all humans better.


She wrote a lot of texts, one of the most famous are for example “A vindication to the rights of women”, in which she criticized the general male norm and typical women’s work such as embroideries and needlework. Some women had access to education but the education only concerned this kind of work. 


What caught my interest in this quote is the part saying “…civilization so far hasn’t come very far”. This sentence indicates that she was certain about the fact that women were going to play a bigger role in the society in the future. I think it is very perceptive to be able to consider your own society being old-fashioned while you are living in the middle of it. For most people it is easier to see such things from some sort of distance. Now, the question is; was she right?


Victoria Gunnerek

Cardinal Richelieau – Prime minister


Cardinal Richelieau was appointed Prime Minister in year 1624 by King Louis XIII. The King had noticed his intelligence during his time in the church, therefore he was appointed Prime Minister of France. One other important reason for his rise to power is that he made peace between King Louis XIII and his mother Marie de Medici. Catholicism had been the official state religion in France since 1516, but that started to change when Cardinal Richelieau in 1624 became Prime Minister, he began to separate the power between the state and the church in France. Cardinal Richelieau wished to reign over France with Absolute power, an entirely undisputed, unchallenged, and unquestioned might, he considered the church is a “state within a state”, a separate republic that threatened his power just as much as any rival European nation did. To give an example of what he did to separate the power, in 1628 there was a struggle between the state and church on the subject of taxes, he then forced the church to give up their rights to own properties in France. This is one example of what he did to force the church to give up their power to the state. Cardinal Richelieau has removed the church’s influence over state politics and insured the monarch's dominance for the next several centuries. Absolutism had, however, begun resulting in the social, economic, and political decline of the French nation.

/Daniel S Wong

Sengoku jidai- The land of war

Japan was for nearly 700 years almost in complete chaos! With the start of the Ōnin War (1467-1477) which was a civil war that lasted for 10 years but escalated into a full blown war.

The war became a power-struggle between the different clans and their daimyos and the Ashikaga shogunate, which was the clan of the Shogun. It became a long, drawn-out power-struggle over entire Japan but in the end there were three individuals that untied Japan under one rule. They were Oda Nobuaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Leyasu.


A clan was led by a daimyo and he is better described as a warlord who had control over his own province somewhere in the land. The daimyo was responsible for the welfare over his entire region and that included farming, city-building and the providing and training of his armies.

The different clans of Japan were almost numerous. Some clans had a terrifying power that even the Shogun saw as a threat, while others were weak and were soon destroyed.

Some famous clans are the Chosokabe, Date and the Hojo clan, To name a few.


I find this kind of political system to be quite fascinating. The land was ruled by a Shogun, who had been assigned his position by the emperor. Shogun translates to “a commander of force” and that pretty much sums it up. He was the top military commander (or military dictator) of all Japan; he had the biggest armies and controlled the military force in Japan at the time. The shogun did not posses any major political power, however. Since he had been assigned by the emperor, he had to obey the emperor.


What if we had it like this in Sweden?

What if our region-council did not exsist? What if we had one man at the top and he was a warring maniac, who demanded nothing but brutal violence in his name.

Imagine every Swedish region-leader killing each other over the throne in Stockholm and you have a northern version of Sengoku jidai.


Imagine that almost every capable man in a region was, in some way trained to kill and gladly die a horrible death to protect his daimyos honor and his own. This is the art of bushido which you can read more about in Erik Bennerheds text. A warrior was supposed to die before dishonouring himself and if he had dishonoured himself the only way to restore that honor was to commit suicide by hara-kiri.


Sengoku jidai was a war over power and honor, which, if combined, can kill thousands of people, which it did. Maybe if the emperor of Japan at that time would have stepped in, maybe he could have saved thousands of lives of men, women and children.

This was the political system of Japan from the year 794B.C to1867A.D and it according to me, needed some serious reformation. What do you think?


Read more about the title Shogun:

Oda Nobunaga:

Sengoku jidai:


God has forbidden that we will experience more than twenty years without a revolt

Does this really sounds like a president?
This was actually words of Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States. 

I wouldn't be so happy to have a president like that, but he did his work.
The thing he is most famous for is that he signed Declaration of independence.
That was written in September 1776. 

Just two years earlier he had done his first public attack against slavery, the only miss was that his family farm were dependent of slaves.
But this took a turn and he said that slavery was "abominable crime" so in good time before the Declaration of independence he had a good reputation when people talked against slavery.
How could this man become the president of the United States? 

well probably because he could something the Swedish politicians cant,
he could talk so people understood and promised a huge change in the US.
Well all politicians promise a "huge" difference but everyone knows that it doesn't work that way but Thomas Jefferson actually made some difference in the US history.
By: Philip

French revolution- financial crisis

In the beginning, and most of the 18th century the French economy moved forward. The population had increased from 18 million people to 25 million in 74 years (1715-1789), the farming and the harvests were very good and the textile and mining industry went forward as well. But in the year of 1770 the economy collapsed, bad harvests led to starvation and they could not import anything to the country because of the expensive duty (tullavgift). But the major reason for the collapse of the French economy was enormous amount of money that France borrowed to afford to finance war. When Louis XVI took over the throne 1774 he realized that he needed to change the economy to the better. He suggested that the nobility would charge to taxes to even out the class differences but this was not successful. So we can say that the financial crisis was a big cause to the French revolution.

So why do we handle financial crisis better today than they did back then? I think one explanation is that we simply have learnt from our mistakes, the reason why Sweden handled the crisis in 2008-2009 so good was because we learnt from our crisis in 20th century. But the biggest explanation (I think) is the global society. We help each other out in a fantastic way, through e.g. the UN. Most of the countries these days have a financial back-up if something were to go wrong.  One more explanation is that we are friendlier towards each other than they were back then.


As a final statement, another very good difference today is that a leader today does not have to fear that he or she will be executed if he or she fails.


Anders Chydenius


Anders Chydenius, or in other words the Scandinavian Adam Smith, was a Fin-Swedish politician, economist, priest and a member of the Swedish parliament.  He was one of the most significant politicians during the 18th century in the Fin-Swedish society where Finland at that time belonged to Sweden.


Chydenius had a strong belief in freedom, democracy and the human value. He meant that they had an imporant role in order to create a better society. During his time in the Swedish parliament he demanded free trade, free labor, freedom of the press and much more. We should also not forget that, even if he was a priest of the swedish church, he believed in religious freedom.


He was mainly more radical than the other politicians since he often took up the essence, the important questions which often were hidden behind the scenses of the powers. Chydenius' influence is based in his succinctly way of writing. His works are still readable, something that cannot be done with most of the political publications during the same epoch.


For more information about Anders Chydenius, please visit:



My first question to myself is, why don't we read about this person in school? I mean, from what I've been reading he seems like a quite important person in the Swedish history, and nobody have even mentioned him in those all years I've been in school.

The fact that we don't really know very much how the process of the enlightment was in Sweden when it comes to people is kind of funny. We read a lot about the French revolution, the industrial revolution etc, since they were more important. But we read very little about how it was in Sweden.


In my opinion, I think that history that have affected you a lot, are the most interesting history to read. When you read about that kind of thing, you can somethimes feel like you are not  really reading history, but you're reading somebody's diary.


// Erik B.

Montesquieus political thoughts



Born at Chateau de la Brede, 18th of January 1689. Montesquieu became 66 years old; he died on the 10th of February 1755.

Montesquieu is credited amongst the precursors of anthropology, including Herodotus and Tacitus, to be among the first to extend comparative methods of classification to the political forms in human societies. A French anthropologist considered Montesquieu as ``the initiator of a scientific enterprise that for a time performed the role of cultural and social anthropology´´. Montesquieu’s   political anthropology gave rise to his theories on governments. The most influential work of Montesquieu divided French society into three classes, the monarchy, the aristocracy and the commons. There were three main forms of government, each supported by a social principle.

Monarchies: Free governments lead by e.g. king, queen or emperors. Monarchies relied on the principle of honour.

Republics: Free governments lead by popularly elected leaders, which rely on the principle of virtue.

Despotisms: Enslaved governments lead by dictators. Relied on the social principle of fear.


Montesquieu was a bit worried that in France the intermediate powers which moderated the power of the prince were being eroded. Montesquieu also believed that a woman was able to head a state but not a family. That statement of Montesquieu I personally think is incorrect because I think that women can have the same rights and responsibilities as men. Why would a woman not be able to have a family without a man that bosses around?


Montesquieu once said:

``In the infancy of societies, the chiefs of state shape its institutions; later the institutions shape the chiefs of state.´´

I think this is a good quote because I think it reflects Montesquieu thoughts on political view.

If you want to read more about Montesquieu you can just follow this link:




Born at Chateau de la Brede, 18th of January 1689. Montesquieu became 66 years old; he died on the 10th of February 1755.

Montesquieu is credited amongst the precursors of anthropology, including Herodotus and Tacitus, to be among the first to extend comparative methods of classification to the political forms in human societies. A French anthropologist considered Montesquieu as ``the initiator of a scientific enterprise that for a time performed the role of cultural and social anthropology´´. Montesquieu’s   political anthropology gave rise to his theories on governments. The most influential work of Montesquieu divided French society into three classes, the monarchy, the aristocracy and the commons. There were three main forms of government, each supported by a social principle.

Monarchies: Free governments lead by e.g. king, queen or emperors. Monarchies relied on the principle of honour.

Republics: Free governments lead by popularly elected leaders, which rely on the principle of virtue.

Despotisms: Enslaved governments lead by dictators. Relied on the social principle of fear.


Montesquieu was a bit worried that in France the intermediate powers which moderated the power of the prince were being eroded. Montesquieu also believed that a woman was able to head a state but not a family. That statement of Montesquieu I personally think is incorrect because I think that women can have the same rights and responsibilities as men. Why would a woman not be able to have a family without a man that bosses around?


Montesquieu once said:

``In the infancy of societies, the chiefs of state shape its institutions; later the institutions shape the chiefs of state.´´

I think this is a good quote because I think it reflects Montesquieu thoughts on political view.

If you want to read more about Montesquieu you can just follow this link:



Utopia by Thomas More

Utopia by Thomas More


Good Place, No Place


I have chosen to write about the novel Utopia written by Thomas More in the year of 1516. By now, you might think:  “You’re 200 years off, stupid”. And as a matter of fact, I am. But the thing is, and here comes the intriguing part, so was More and his work, Utopia.  More held one of the most important offices under Henry VIII. But instead of enjoying the prosperous life which was available to him he started questioning the society he lived amid. A society imbued by the reign of the money. Where the starving were condemned to death for stealing food.  Where the poor stayed poor and were jeeringly looked down upon by the rich, who were voraciously hoarding their money. A society where the abundance of the upper-class only was outmatched by the misery of the serfs.  Even though Thomas More played an essential role in this contrivance of government he was well aware of its flaws and inequities and therefore he created Utopia, a fictitious book depicting the infallible society.

Utopia (it’s also the title of the depicted society) is a state where all citizens are responsible for the development of society and complete equity thrones above everything else. Ownership is practically abolished and everything is shared. Monetary value is reduced to nonexistence. Every citizen greets his neighbor as an equal. To ensure development work is mandatory. Every, and I mean “every”, citizen works six hours a day (3 three before dinner and three after). The limit of six hours is to avoid the slave-like toil which the European serfs have to endure. Also, every citizen works with the task he is most deft at.

Nobody in Utopia feels the urge to pursue any private capital, as it wouldn’t be worth anything (you cannot eat gold!) and the Utopians live in abundance when it comes to goods that are vitally necessary for life. Furthermore the Utopians see gold and other materials, which are only held in a high regard for their monetary value and not for the practical value as useful resources, as something odious.

Now, this vision of society may appeal with its values, especially if you consider the standard of living of the commoner during these times. But it is, as all societies, flawed. I am going to handpick some of the downsides of More’s Utopia and distribute my thoughts on them.

The first thing that comes to mind is the heterogeneity of the society. The appearance of the citizens was limited to clothes of one colour (probably to create the feeling of commonality). But the resemblance was not only limited to appearance. If you want to live in Utopia you have to abide the law of Utopia and conform to its school of thought. Reforms are clearly, not wanted.

Secondly, it is a strictly hierarchal and very patriarchal society. As for hierarchy, thirty families in each town choose, yearly, a magistrate, called Philarch. These are responsible for monitoring the families working process. The Philarchs should add up to 200. Over every ten of them there is one Archphilarch. There are supposed to be 100 Archphilarchs. These elect a prince who holds his office for life, unless he is removed upon suspicion of some design to enslave the people. As for the power of the prince the book is quite opaque. It only mentions that: “The Archphilarchs meet every third day, and oftener if necessary, and consult with the Prince either concerning the affairs of the State in general, or such private differences as may arise sometimes among the people…” So there is no real information about who is responsible for the executive branch of government, who holds the legislative and so on…  As for patriarchal, well, we can just look at the previous part and mention that only ones who had a saying were men. Also the most aspired attributes of women were “honesty and obedience” which does not correspond with equality between sexes which we perceive today.

Another thing I consider not to be very desirable is the limitation of freedom of movement and freedom in general. First of all, the utopians have slaves and although these are being treated well they are still slaves. This seems very paradoxical as this doesn’t correspond with the utopian values, the utopians do, in fact, start wars to liberate nearby countries from their oppressors. Concerning the freedom of movement, citizens of utopia have to have a written permission, signed by a Philarch or Archphilarchs on them when travelling. This also applies for a walk around the park. If somebody should be leaving his city without permission and is detected “he is punished as a fugitive, and sent home disgracefully; and, if he falls again into the like fault, is condemned to slavery”

This all now may seem to be a rather dystopian society instead of a utopian, but utopia has a lot of very progressive ideas which were not introduced to most westerns societies until hundreds of years later. For example, divorces are allowed, freedom of religion, proper health care, no death penalty, everybody works and therefore everybody works less,   euthanasia is allowed if the person suffers more from life than he is able to enjoy it and thus wishes to cease to exist, and the list goes on.

So to sum it up, Utopia is not the perfect society which it was supposed to, at least not from our modern point of view. From a modern point of view a utopian society should be one were everybody thrives. But More’s Utopia stunts the flourishing of, for example, women, individualists and  freedom-loving people. Still, Utopia is definitely very progressive and surely facilitated for the thinkers and revolutionaries of the 18th century. And here is where its importance lies. Utopia is never going to be realized, everybody who has met another human being knows that and even More knew it. But this is not its purpose. Its purpose is to give ideas, to question the inequities, to create opposition, to provoke thought about the society which More lived in and to some extent we do still live in. This was, and still is the purpose of Utopia.



The book, of course! (


If you have further questions on Utopia, as there are a lot of things I didn’t even mention, I’ll be happy to answer them.

// Baloo Peinkofer

The Bluestockings

Probably, if you saw a sentence, which contained words ’lady’, ‘blue stockings’ and ‘society’, you would think of a club for women, who are interested in fashion… After all, there is a girl, a clique and  a  piece of clothing – a BLUE piece of clothing!

Yet, this is not the matter!

‘Bluestocking’ is a term for a literary, well-educated woman in 1700s. A woman, who is passionate about knowledge, literature and politics. These women organised meetings to which they invited men to talk with. They discussed different subjects together, as a group; contrary to normal gatherings of men and women, when each sex took the other corner of the room.

Mrs. Elizabeth Montagu, who is said to be the creator of the first Bluestocking Society in England, focused on inviting aristocratic men, with whom the conversation would always be absorbing. However, it was strictly forbidden to swear or even talk about politics!  Instead, they exchanged views on literature and cultural events, as well as women’s role in the society, the development of humanity or ‘natural laws’. They attempted to prove that women could also take an active part in  the humankind.

In my personal opinion, the Bluestockings were one of the first emancipated women in the world. Their meetings were public, not held in secret. Everybody knew about their evening parties. The purpose of Bluestockings was to give every woman  a chance to speak up her mind – and not be judged or silenced. Their policy resulted in women’s attempts of gaining higher education.

What are your opinions about the Bluestocking Society? Were these women brave to organize their meetings, trying to prove their points? Have they ever had a chance to fully succeed in their actions? Have they succeeded? Or maybe no matter if Bluestockings existed or not, women would still gain independence in today’s world? Was this society relevant at all?

Please comment and let me know what you think!


More about how the name of the group was created:

More info about Bluestockings:

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