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Royal Power and Bureaucracy: The Function of the Högste Ombudsman in the Last Phase of theGreat Northern War
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of History.
2012 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 40 credits / 60 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The power struggle between the Charles XII and his bureaucracy after the crushing defeat inPoltava (1709) mainly concerned the unwillingness of the latter to raise a new army that could beshipped to Pomerania. In reaction to this disobedience the king reformed his bureaucracy.Among other things, the Carolinian reforms introduced the högste ombudsman. The office was toenforce the law and supervise all civil servant and military officers. This thesis deals with thequestion of how the högste ombudsman functioned within this power struggle. The source materialconsists of the correspondence between the högste ombudsman and various bureaucratic institutionsfrom every level of society.By consistently prosecuting civil servants and military officers and enforcing the law, he wasable to guarantee the functioning of the bureaucracy and at the same time fulfilled an importantideological function. He showed Swedish society that the bureaucracy was controlled and thatdisobedience was not tolerated regardless of social standing. This is especially apparent in hisactivities with the central and regional authorities. The latter were strictly controlled as they wereinstrumental in the supervision of the local authorities. However, as a side effect of theCarolinian reforms, the högste ombudsman had to answer many requests from local authorities thatnot always directly related to the main objectives of his office. Moreover, this indicates that thepriority of the högste ombudsman lied with the supervision of the central and regional authorities.By setting examples to the bureaucracy and society that criminal activities and disobediencewas not tolerated, he fulfilled his duty as royal instrument of coercion. He helped to the kingpursue the Swedish war effort against the will of the bureaucracy. This thesis provides anenhanced understanding of the royal policy of Charles XII and delivers a valuable account ofhow an autocratic monarch attempted to regain control over his bureaucracy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 87 p.
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-176500OAI: diva2:535578
Humanities, Theology
Available from: 2012-06-20 Created: 2012-06-20 Last updated: 2012-06-20Bibliographically approved

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