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De 1814 à 1905

Although the rule of Norway was officially transferred from Denmark to Sweden in the peace treaty of Kiel in 1814, the warden of Norway, Danish Prince Christian Frederik, called a constitutional assembly in the spring of 1814, adopting a Constitution strongly inspired by the principles of the US and French constitutions, emphasizing the importance of fundamental rights, the distribution of power and the sovereignty of the Norwegian people. While the independence was swiftly struck down by the forces of the Swedish king Carl Johan in the summer of 1814, an amended version of constitution was adopted by the parliamentary assembly in November 1814.

While the constitution was distinctly liberal in many respects for its time, it was less so in the field of religion. The continued dominance of the Evangelical Lutheran Faith and the obligation of parents to raise their children in that faith were kept, while the draft provisions on religious freedom that circulated at the constitutional assembly were scrapped. The king remained head of state and church, while members of the cabinet were obliged to be members of the church. By far the most controversial provision, however, was the decision to prohibit Jews from the realm, a prohibition that remained in effect until 1851.

Although the official censorship in place during absolutism was eased in the constitution, the absolute ban on blasphemy and denigration of religion was kept, as §100 prohibited expressions of contempt against religion, and the draconian measures against blasphemers of Norske Lov from 1687 remained on the books until the adoption of a Criminal Code in 1842, which continued the ban, but reduced the penalty from beheading to fines, imprisonment or hard labour. The 1845 Law on Dissenters eased the religious monopoly of the Church of Norway further, removing the ban on lay preaching and stipulating various freedoms for members of other Christian denominations.

D 20 septembre 2016    AHelge Årsheim

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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