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Suvereniteten tilbakegitt det norske folk ved Kieltraktaten – det oversedde natur- og statsrettsgrunnlaget for norsk sjølvstende og grunnlov i 1814

f. 1955, dr.juris. 1992, professor ved Senter for europarett, Universitetet i Oslo.

ola.mestad@jus.uio.no

  • Side: 35-65
  • Publisert på Idunn: 2014-03-31
  • Publisert: 2014-03-31

Forfattaren viser at grunnlaget for avgjerda i stormannsmøtet på Eidsvoll i februar 1814 om å kalle inn til riksforsamlinga var oppfatninga om at Kieltraktaten frå januar 1814 hadde gitt suvereniteten tilbake til det norske folk. Dette er i strid med det historieforskinga gjennomgåande har hevda: at grunnlaget var den moderne folkesuvereniteten i tråd med J.-J. Rousseaus teori frå 1762. Forfattaren viser at i den dansk-norske staten var det ei gjennomført statsrettsleg tenking om grunnlaget for eineveldemakta som i 1814 måtte føre til at kongen ikkje hadde rett til å avstå det norske riket utan samtykke frå det norske folket. Teorien har konsekvensar for korleis ein skal oppfatte handlingsalternativa og motiva for handlingane gjennom 1814.

The sovereignty of Norway returned to the Norwegian people through the Treaty of Kiel 14 January 1814

In January 1814, the Danish-Norwegian king, who had been allied with France in the Napoleonic wars, was forced to enter into a peace treaty with Sweden, an ally of the great powers Russia, Great Britain, Prussia and Austria. The main article of the treaty declared that the king ceded all rights to the mainland part of the Kingdom of Norway to the King of Sweden. As part of this cession, he absolved the inhabitants of Norway of their oath of allegiance to him and the royal house. In Norway, this cession was not accepted and independence was sought under the leadership of Prince Christian Frederik, who intended to declare himself King of Norway based on his rights as heir to the throne. The prince’s plan changed at a meeting at Eidsvoll on 16/17 February when it was decided to call a constitutional assembly which later met and adopted the Norwegian Constitution of 17 May 1814. In this article, I argue that the prince’s decision not to establish himself as king based on hereditary rights was founded on the old absolutist constitutional law of Denmark-Norway. It followed from this law, which was strongly inspired by natural law thinkers such as Hugo Grotius and Samuel Pufendorf, that sovereignty ultimately rested with the people who had transferred it to the king – the sovereign. But under no circumstances could the king cede it to other monarchs; if he wanted to give up sovereignty he could only return it to the people. This explanation of the reasoning in 1814 is contrary to the general opinion in historical scholarship, which is that the decision at Eidsvoll in February was based on modern popular sovereignty in line with the theory of Jean-Jacques Rousseau in his Social Contract of 1762. This new theory has consequences for the understanding of the political and constitutional development of Norway in 1814.

Keywords: Sovereignty, Natural Law, Treaty of Kiel 1814, Norwegian Constitution
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