The propaganda and pamphlet war regarding the cession of Norway to Sweden, 1813-1814

Ruth Hemstad

Mardi, 23 septembre 2014, 16h.

At the same time as the Norwegian founding fathers wrote their constitution, at Eidsvoll Manor, a bit outside the capital, Christiania, a pamphlet and propaganda war was going on in Great Britain and Europa regarding what was called ‘the Norwegian question’. Some of these pamphlets were distributed across a wide area, from St. Petersburg in Russia, across Europe to Boston and the United States.
What was then ‘the Norwegian question’, and why was it so much disputed, in journals, newspapers and pamphlets, in 1813 and 1814? What characterize this pamphlet and propaganda war? These questions will be the main issues to be addressed in my paper, which will focus on the parliamentary and public debates in Great Britain these two years.
The Norwegian question, in short, referred to the transfer of Norway from Denmark to Sweden. This was a controversial question with a range of political and legal aspects.
Key concepts, therefore, are ‘public opinion’ and ‘the law of nations’– the potential power of public opinion, and what may be called the normative power of the law of nations.