Politikens drivfjäder : Frihetstidens partiberättelser och den moralpolitiska logiken

Sammanfattning: This thesis examines the moral conflict permeating the politics of Sweden’s Age of Liberty around 1740 – a conflict that also structured the politics of the time in relation to a particular political logic based on moral. This logic was based on the absolute and normatively immutable nature of the social order, but also on a number of deep pre-modern experiences and expectations of man as unable to overcome his corrupt nature. This logic structured the political polemics through a metanarrative of how the citizens, who had been entrusted to maintain and defend the fragile moral social order, over time came to be morally corrupted; resulting in them instead starting to tear down said order. The moral of the narrative was that those citizens still virtuous must identify, reintegrate and, if necessary, oust the immoral ones, before they themselves were corrupted and before the order was completely torn apart. This logic led to the politics of the time being characterized by mistrust, concerns regarding dissimulation and a high level of conflict. The two party narratives studied in this thesis, using a method of narrative analysis, represent two versions of this metanarrative. In connection to Reinhart Koselleck, I argue that this political logic based on moral must be understood as distinctly pre-modern and fundamentally different from modern politics, which was instead structured in relation to various competing social visions. The analysis shows that the party narratives were periodized in a pre-modern, circular and past manner. The thesis is a contribution to three different fields of research studying the early modern period: citizenship and virtue; views on mankind and society, with a particular focus on Lutheran and republican notions; the party politics and politicization of the Age of Liberty. A variety of different kinds of materials (e.g., handwritten pamphlets, libels, parliamentary speeches, sermons, newspapers) are examined in the thesis.