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The Revolutions of 1848 101: The Cases of Denmark and Sweden


The revolutions of 1848 are a separate chapter in the study of modern and contemporary European history. The “Springtime of the Peoples,” as they are called by some historians, played a decisive role in the development of the historical events of the 19th century, the 20th century, and also the present. This is the main reason why this 101 series of articles, dedicated to these revolutions, came into being. Specifically, reference will be made to the cases of many European countries and regions, such as France, the German States, the Italian States, Denmark, the territories of the Habsburg Empire, Sweden, Poland, and so on.

The Revolutions of 1848 series consist of nine main articles:

It was impossible for the revolutions of 1848 not to reach the Scandinavian states, however, their character was not as revolutionary as in the rest of Europe. In this article, the cases of Denmark and Sweden will be examined. Denmark was affected by the fallout of these revolutions. Citizens' actions in Denmark were essentially violent demonstrations and riots aimed at enacting a constitution. However, due to the preparations that had already begun for the creation of a constitution, these actions did not develop further. The violent demonstrations of the Danes were almost bloodless except for the war that broke out in the Duchies of Schleswig and Holstein between Denmark and Germany (The First Schleswig War lasted from 1848 till 1851). The situation in Sweden was even milder. Demonstrations took place only in Stockholm, and they were easily suppressed by government forces.

The march to Christiansborg on 21 March 1848.
The march to Christiansborg Palace on March 21, 1848 (1).

The March Revolution in Denmark

Frederick VII was crowned as King of Denmark on January 20, 1848, and he reigned from 1848 to 1863. Frederick was open to the thought of a constitutional state. After his ascension to the throne, he kept the previous ministers and made some new appointments to the Council of State. A few days after his coronation, the Council accepted the fundamentals of the draft constitution that had been under development during the last days of the previous king, Christian VIII. On January 28, 1848, a public announcement of a joint constitutional framework for the entirety of the Kingdom of Denmark was made. The plan was for public representation to consist of equal numbers of members from the whole kingdom including the Duchies of Schleswig and Holstein. The National Liberal Party had through several methods demanded a cons