This dissertation investigates what the early modern donation system in Sweden reveals about the Crown’s expectations of the social group that served the state, and what these individuals expected from the Crown. The author shows how the Crown used donations of land rents to remunerate and reward individuals in its service. In 1680 the donation system was abolished and the Crown reclaimed everything that had been alienated. It was not until 1723 that the proprietors could address a specially appointed parliamentary commission (which ended in 1748) and challenge the Crown’s repossession. The deeds of donation and ratification, most issued during the period 1604 to 1680, as well as petitions submitted to the commission constitute the sources used in the investigation. A petition from the recipient usually preceded remunerations and the deeds drawn up by the Crown often refer to these letters. Petitioners accordingly referred to arguments used by the administration in Stockholm. This makes it possible, by direct and indirect methods, to study how both parties sought to change and influence the imagined compact between Crown and families in its service. The negotiation between the parties, studied over such a lengthy period, helps identify tendencies in the way the relation between state and its servants was changing.The thesis shows that there was a clear gender aspect to the process through which state formation happened. Even though most recipients were male, the deeds included his wife and children. Service and fidelity to the Crown was expected also from the descendants of the recipient. Accordingly, the Crown had both liabilities and duties to fulfil to the recipients family. We could say that in the eye of the Crown its servants were a family. The author also argues that the Crown used the donations to create and favour an informal fifth estate and how this policy influenced the shared ideas in society on merits versus ancestry. In the end of the period, however, the imagined compact was changing. The emerging state came with new claims to authority and the need to separate the Crown from its subjects at various levels (legal, political). As the compact became less personal family members were no longer included and women could no longer negotiate from their position within the family.
HUMANIORA -- Historia och arkeologi -- Historia (hsv//swe)
HUMANITIES -- History and Archaeology -- History (hsv//eng)