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Democratic Reforms

The right to vote

The parliamentary system began to take form in 1865 when the Diet of the Four Estates was abolished and replaced with the two-chamber parliament. The right to vote was restricted, being based on privileges. Only powerful groups in society had the right to vote. In 1907 another reform was passed that meant universal suffrage. But there were still restrictions for some, depending on their social status. In 1907 the second chamber election was won by the Social Democrats. They wanted to speed up the democratisation process. The Social Democrats and the Liberals, who agreed on this matter, finally formed a government and started the reform work. In the elections of 1921 the new reformed constitution allowed men and women to vote in free elections for the first time.

The constitution of 1809 was replaced in 1974 when a one-chamber parliament was introduced. It was a modern constitution where, for instance, the role of the monarch was made constitutional.

Popular movements

During the 19th century, the increasing literacy level and better communication made people with common interests to come together and form organisations. The great popular movement during the 19th century was the revivalist movement.

Close to the revivalist movement was the temperance movement. This was a reaction to the uncontrolled drinking during periods of the 19th century. For example, sometimes workers got part of their wages in alcohol. The popular movements made quite an impact on Swedish society. It increased the standard of education and gave large groups experience in meetings and negotiations, which was valuable training in democracy.

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