An Examination Of The Different Factors That

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An Examination Of The Different Factors That Molded Finnish Nationalism Essay, Research Paper In a period when the emergence of nationalism across Europe was following a traditional pattern, Finland experienced a unique and far more passive movement. Shaping its growing nationhood around its historic ties to Sweden and the ancient Finish language, Finish nationalism grew slowly and essentially peacefully out of the control of its Russian ruler. To fully understand the origin of the Finish nation and its patriotism, it is essential to comprehend its history and cultural descent. Since the Middle Ages, 1154, Finland had been a part of the Swedish state. This was a peaceful political dominance, which saw Swedish law and political administration in Finland. The language of the

upper class and administration was also Swedish, although Finnish was spoken by the rest of the population. However, this did not create animosity on the part of the people because religious texts and laws were written in Finnish. The people also shared the common worship of Lutheranism. These beliefs were greatly embedded in Finnish society since King John III’s Church Ordinance of 1571 . Therefore, most of the cultural identity which Finland has sustained was of early Swedish origin. The two nations did not diverge in this area until the nineteenth century. There were a few political characteristics which permeated Finland due to its geographic links to the east that didn’t reach Sweden. However, Finland’s only consistent divergence from Swedish culture was its distinct

language. This only became important to the evolution of Finish culture when their nation fell under Russian rule in 1809. Sweden and the Swedish dominated ruling class of Finland realized they would not win the war against Russia and subsequently ceded Finland to Russia. However this passivity did not exist among the peasant class, who were fearful of falling subject to Russian culture, religion and society. However dreaded, Russian influence did not penetrate society in this way. Emperor Alexander I decided to make Finland a Grand Duchy, which retained much of its political autonomy. He thus declared himself a constitutional monarch working with the Finish Diet, of Swedish form. Also much of the Swedish legal and religious traditions were left untouched . This leniency with

regards to the people, cultural identity and government of Finland would prove to be a deciding force in the birth of a national identity and spirit in this now Russian dominated nation. It was at this point where a distinct Finish culture emerged. Strangely enough it was not depicted by changes in Finnish society but in their mother country. While Finland continued to identify with the old Swedish identity, the now much smaller Sweden began many cultural and political reforms. Through the rise of the revolutionary Bernadottes, their new constitution, the affects of Romanticism and industrialization, the Swedish identity found itself separating from that of Finland, whose social and cultural roots were still embedded in its historical Swedish origin . The existence of the Finish

nation in 1809, inside the realm of Russian rule, was thus based on the continuing Swedish nature of political administration, religious practices and civil law. This view, presented by Finish historian Matti Klinge, stresses the idea that separate Finish identity was not based on linguistic distinction. Although Finish had been a consistent component of the nation’s history, Klinge does not view it to be of significance to Finland’s sense of nationhood at this time. Although the language was spoken by over ninety percent of the population, Swedish remained the language of the upper class and the political class. Over the ensuing half century Finish culture developed and strengthened as a separate nation. It took this time period for a sense of nationhood to develop that was