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Revolusjonær tale? – nye perspektiver på eidsvollsadressene

f. 1978, master i historie 2011, ph.d.-stipendiat ved Institutt for historiske studier, NTNU.

trond.bjerkas@ntnu.no

  • Side: 95-124
  • Publisert på Idunn: 2014-03-31
  • Publisert: 2014-03-31

Artikkelen undersøker eidsvollsadressene som eksempler på revolusjonær retorikk, og analyserer noen sentrale retoriske elementer som preger adressene. Den norske revolusjonen i 1814 skiller seg fra den franske i 1789 ved å rettferdiggjøre seg selv gjennom tradisjonalistiske ideer. Revolusjonen ble begrunnet i et forsvar for den gamle orden. Samtidig ga den nye historiske konteksten adressene er skrevet i, de tradisjonelle ideene nytt innhold.

 Eidsvollsadressene har tradisjonelt blitt sett på enten som kilder til «stemningen i folket» i Norge i 1814, eller som propagandaredskap for prins Christian Frederik. Uten å se bort fra propagandaaspektet, forsøker artikkelen å forstå adressene som et resultat av møtet mellom pålegg ovenfra og ulike aktørers forståelse av påleggene og den situasjonen landet befant seg i våren 1814.

Revolutionary speech? New perspectives on the Eidsvoll addresses

On 19 February 1814, the governor of Norway, Christian Frederik, declared himself regent of the country and summoned a constitutional assembly to commence at Eidsvoll on 10 April that year. As conformation of the election of representatives to the assembly, addresses were drawn up from every parish, district, town and military regiment in the country and presented to the regent at the commencement of the constitutional assembly. The addresses contain declarations of gratitude to the regent, as well as reflections on the precarious situation of the nation and the coming constitutional assembly.

The article analyses these addresses as examples of revolutionary rhetoric. 1814 can be seen as a year of revolution in Norway in that it marks a break with absolutism and the implementation of a constitution based on the principle of sovereignty of the people, and because Christian Frederik led a rebellion against a newly established order represented by the Kiel treaty. Contrary to the French revolution of 1789, however, the Norwegian revolution of 1814 was justified through extensive references to the national past. The rhetoric of the addresses amounted to a large extent to a defence of the old order. At the same time, the historical context the addresses appeared in gave the traditional ideas new content, a content pointing towards a discourse of nationalism that would come to dominate nineteenth-century culture and politics.

 Traditionally, the Eidsvoll addresses have been seen by historians either as evidence of «the mood of the people» in 1814 or as propaganda tools for Christian Frederik. With a mind to the propaganda aspect, this article views the addresses as the result of the meeting between declarations from above and different actors’ understanding of these declarations and the situation of the country in the spring of 1814. The different actors are defined by their socio-cultural background, such as the patriotic bourgeoisie of the cities, paternalistic ministers of the rural parishes and enlightened civil servants.

Keywords: rhetoric, constitution, revolution, propaganda
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