Sweden: A Modern Democracy on Ancient Foundations
by Nils Herlitz
University of Minnesota Press, 1939
Paper: 978-0-8166-5935-7


Sweden was first published in 1939. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

Believing the journalists have done both the United States and Sweden a disservice in playing up Sweden as a democratic utopia and overemphasizing the importance of cooperatives, the author presents the facts as they appear to a Swedish publicist with a profound knowledge of the government and problems of his country.

To the English-reading public he now offers this succinct yet comprehensive survey of Swedish government and the essentials of its historical background. He has succeeded in presenting at the same time much of the spirit and the life of the Swedish people and their politics.

The aspects of Swedish life which Professor Herlitz treats are very little understood in foreign countries and should be taken into account by anyone who aspires to know the Sweden of today. His opening review of the historical development of the Swedish constitution may be studied with profit by all who are interested in government.

Of particular timeliness is his account of the rise of the Socialist party to dominance and his explanation of why many people see in the present government (with its majority coalition) the beginning of dictatorship.

After describing the organization and work of the riksdag and its relations to the government, he surveys public administration and civil service in Sweden. His chapter on "The Service-State" covers numerous topics of current interest, such as government monopolies, social legislation, relief problems, old-age pensions, and farm adjustment.

The book is an amplification of a series of lectures delivered by Professor Herlitz in the United States in the spring of 1938 in connection with the Swedish Tercentenary celebration.

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