chapter  2
14 Pages

The State, Parliamentarianism, and Public Policy

The evolution of Finland’s political history was shaped in fundamental ways by its having been ruled by Sweden for almost 700 years (1154-1809). Although under the authority of Sweden, the Finns for the most part always sought to maintain a certain level of sovereign and independent national aspiration. It was also during this period that a representative decision-making system was created, from which parliamentary democracy based on universal suffrage would later develop in Finland.1 Over the years, a series of opportune events continued to shape the trajectory in which Finnish politics would evolve. In July 1788, King Gustavus III declared war against Russia without the approval of the Swedish Parliament, the Riksdag. Military officers numbering up to 113 (which included both Swedish and Finnish officers) under the platform of the Anjala League objected to the war saying that Sweden had begun an aggressive war against Russia, hence “the conviction of the inevitability of war which creates in a people born to freedom, fighting men who cannot be defeated had vanished.”2