Christian Michelsen

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Christian Michelsen
Peter Christian Hersleb Kjerschow Michelsen (March 15, 1857June 29, 1925) was a Norwegian shipping magnate and statesman. He was Prime Minister of Norway from 1905 to 1907. Michelsen is most known for his central role in the dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden in 1905, and was one of Norway's most influential politicians of his day.

Born in Bergen, Michelsen was a lawyer and ship-owner. He became a member of the Norwegian parliament in 1891, representing the Social Liberal Party. He considered himself mostly above petty party strifes, and one of his major aims was to create a coalition of parties reaching from the Conservative Party to the Social Liberal Party, which he called the United Party. He became a member of Francis Hagerup's cabinet, and was one of the strongest proponents of a more firm policy towards the union between Sweden and Norway. In March 1905, Michelsen replaced Hagerup as Prime Minister, and immediately became the leader of the movement towards dissolution of the union.

The formal basis for the dissolution was King Oscar II's refusal to accept the Norwegian consular laws. The Swedish government had for several years insisted that laws governing foreign affairs had to be a part of the union agreement, and as such, consular laws could not be passed by the Norwegian Storting without consent of the Swedish Riksdag (parliament). The Swedes were willing to accept the Norwegian urge for separate consular affairs, but they demanded that Norway accept the precedent under which the union had operated for 90 years, namely that the Foreign Minister be Swedish. This, the Norwegians felt, acknowledged Sweden as having the upper hand in the Union. While this supremacy existed in reality, Norwegians were unwilling to accept the unequal relationship on a formal, legal basis.

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Memorial to Christian Michelsen, Bergen, Norway


On May 27, 1905 King Oscar refused to sign the bill, and in response the Norwegian cabinet ministers resigned collectively. The king took no further action, probably aware that a dissolution of the Union was imminent, and the Swedish politicians did nothing, probably believing that this was another Norwegian political retreat. On June 7 the Norwegian Storting declared that because the King had been unable to form a new government in Norway after Michelsen's resignation, he had lost the capacity to rule and hence ceased to be king of Norway. This strategic move gave the dissolution a somewhat legal basis, and was primarily the work of Christian Michelsen.

He knew that the Norwegian people, after months of well-directed information in a unanimous press, was united in a way that is extremely rare in a democracy. In the referendum that proved the Norwegian will to dissolve the union, retention of the union garnered a mere 184 votes nationwide, which represented only one vote out of every 2000 cast.

Michelsen, though an adherent of a democratic republic in Norway, accepted that a democratic monarchy would have the greatest chances to be accepted abroad and among a majority of Norwegians. Prince Carl of Denmark became King Haakon VII of Norway after a new referendum had given the monarchy proponents approximately 79% of the votes cast.

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Michelsen greets King Haakon and prince Olav as they arrive in Norway for the first time in 1905.


In 1906 Michelsen won the election on a "above-the-parties" ticket, which quickly alienated the leading Social Liberals from him. In 1907 he resigned, having tired of petty squabbles among the political leaders, and accepting that his political views had been defeated. Jørgen Løvland carried on Michelsen's work, but lacked the will to force the coalition to stand united, and in 1908 the coalition broke down. Michelsen never reentered politics. Michelsen bequeathed a large part of his fortune to the establishment of a foundation for science and intellectual freedom, that later became the Chr. Michelsen Institute.

His distaste for party politics can be summed in the following quote: "The party congresses are the scene where a number of irresponsible politicians meet to make a tasty stew for the nourishment of their constituents."

In 1905 he was awarded the Grand Cross of The Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav and in 1907 he received the Collar as well.

Preceded by
Francis Hagerup (in Christiania) and Jørgen Løvland (in Stockholm)
Prime Minister of Norway
1905–1907
Succeeded by
Jørgen Løvland
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Motto
Royal: Alt for Norge ("Everything for Norway")
1814 Eidsvoll oath:
Enige og tro til Dovre faller
("United and faithful until the mountains of Dovre crumble")

Anthem
Ja, vi elsker

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Norway

This article is part of the series:
Politics of Norway


  • Constitution
  • King
  • Harald V
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Haakon, a traditional name used by Norwegian kings. The last king with that name was Haakon VI, who died in the year 1380.

The new king therefore became Haakon VII, King of Norway.
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Bergen   is a city, a municipality, and a former county, in the county of Hordaland, Norway.
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Storting

Type Unicameral

President of the Storting Thorbjørn Jagland, Labour
since October 2005

Members 169
Political groups Labour Party (61)
Progress Party (38)
Conservative Party (23)
Socialist Left Party (15)
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The Liberal Party of Norway (Norwegian: Venstre, V, meaning "left") is a liberal party in Norway, subscribing to social liberalism. It is the oldest political party in Norway, founded in 1884.
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The Union between Sweden and Norway was the union of the kingdoms of Sweden and Norway between 1814 and 1905, when they were united under one monarch in a personal union, following the Treaty of Kiel, the declaration of Norwegian independence, a brief war with Sweden, the
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King Oscar II of Sweden and Norway (January 21, 1829 - December 8, 1907), born Oscar Frederik, ruled Norway from 1872 until 1905 and Sweden from 1872 until his death.
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Riksdag is a Swedish word commonly used as an alternative term for parliament (Swedish: parlament). It is used as the official term for the parliament of Sweden and the parliament of Finland
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Storting

Type Unicameral

President of the Storting Thorbjørn Jagland, Labour
since October 2005

Members 169
Political groups Labour Party (61)
Progress Party (38)
Conservative Party (23)
Socialist Left Party (15)
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Haakon VII
King of Norway

Reign November 18, 1905 – September 21, 1957
Coronation June 22, 1906
Full name Haakon, né Christian Frederik Carl Georg Valdemar Axel
Titles HM The King of Norway
HRH
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The Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI) was founded in 1930, and it is currently the largest centre for development research in Scandinavia. CMI is an independent, non-profit research foundation and a major international centre in policy-oriented and applied development research.
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The Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav (Norwegian: Den Kongelige Norske St. Olavs Orden; or Sanct Olafs Orden, the old Norwegian name) is a Norwegian order of chivalry that was instituted by King Oscar I of Norway and Sweden on August 21, 1847, as a distinctly
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George Francis Hagerup (17 February 1853 - 13 July 1921) was a Norwegian politician for the Conservative Party. He was Prime Minister of Norway from 1895 to 1898 and from 1903 to 1905.
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Jørgen Gunnarsson Løvland (3 February 1848 - 21 August 1922) was a Norwegian politician and Prime Minister. He was Minister of Labour 1898-1899, 1900-1902 and 1902-1903, member of the Council of State Division in Stockholm 1899-1900, Prime Minister in Stockholm in 1905, Minister
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Norway

This article is part of the series:
Politics of Norway


  • Constitution
  • King
  • Harald V
  • Prime Minister
  • Jens Stoltenberg

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Jørgen Gunnarsson Løvland (3 February 1848 - 21 August 1922) was a Norwegian politician and Prime Minister. He was Minister of Labour 1898-1899, 1900-1902 and 1902-1903, member of the Council of State Division in Stockholm 1899-1900, Prime Minister in Stockholm in 1905, Minister
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Norway

This article is part of the series:
Politics of Norway


  • Constitution
  • King
  • Harald V
  • Prime Minister
  • Jens Stoltenberg

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Mathias Otto Leth Sommerhielm was a Norwegian politician.

He served as First Minister in Kristiania from 1815 to 1822, a position assigned to the most prominent cabinet minister at the time. In 1822, he became Prime Minister of Norway, an office located in Stockholm.
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Jonas Collett (1772-1851) was a Norwegian civil servant and politician. Being known as one of the "Eidsvoll men", he played an important role in the events of Norway in 1814.
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