Aims of the project

After more than five centuries as an integral part of the Swedish kingdom, Finland was incorporated as a Grand Duchy in the Russian Empire in 1809. It marked a starting point for shaping institutional, procedural and linguistic means to govern a country. At the same time the conditions for political life in the country ought to be seen from the perspective of imperial restoration politics in the age of the Vienna Congress. Political life was formed anew as a reaction to the crisis of the French revolution and the Napoleonic Wars.

More than anything else, political life in Finland was characterized by the fact that there was no formal political representation between the years 1809 and 1863. In 1863 this period was described metaphorically by Yrjö Koskinen as a “State Night” or “Political Night”. In a wider European and Latin American perspective, the period is marked by the breakthrough of written constitutions and political ideologies. Although Finland lacked representative organizations, these topics were also present in the Grand Duchy, albeit through alternative channels.

The project pays special attention to the introduction and adaptation of concepts of political representation, constitution, nation, patriotism, and ideological ism concepts. The project scrutinizes how these topics were introduced by means of describing foreign circumstances in the Finnish press or by using alternative forums such as agricultural meetings or the house of nobility to negotiate political concepts. These practices point toward a synchronicity of the non-synchronous in the development of political concepts in Europe. In the Finnish case, the non-contemporaneity was experienced in a situation of imperial dependence through transnational processes of the reception of concepts and the transfer of ideas.