Hilsen til Norge - Dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden in 1905 |
On 4 November 1814, the kingdoms of Sweden and Norway formed a personal union under one king. The Union was the realization of an idea that had been nursed in Sweden for a long time. When it was finally accomplished, it was due to political circumstances beyond the borders of Scandinavia. The Napoleonic wars caused Finland to be separated from Sweden, and provided the chance to compensate for the loss by wresting Norway from united kingdoms of Denmark-Norway. Sweden actively exploited the opportunity, while Norway reluctantly submitted to another inevitable union. That initial disparity between the partners caused recurring political conflicts, and their different interpretations of the union eventually brought them apart. The Norwegian Parliament decided to dissolute the union with Sweden in 1905. This resulted in some months of tension and fear of war between the two neighboring nations. On 30 August 70,000 Swedish soldiers were mobilized for a military repetition exercise and sent to areas along the Norwegian border, and the Norwegian army had 22,000 soldiers ready on the other side. (see Sweden in Union with Norway . The Norwegian people were looking for allies in case of war. In 1905, immigrants to America with Norwegian ancestry numbered around one million and they felt genuinely attached to Norway. The ties between these communities and their old homeland had always been strong and the Norwegian-American were eager to show their support in those uncertain times.
In 2008 the Vice President of the Norwegian Storting (Norwegian Parliament), Mr Carl I. Hagen made a visit to the Norwegian-American communities in Minneapolis and Chicago. In this regard, the Presidium of the Storting initiated a search in the parliamentary archives for historical documents sent to the Storting by Norwegian immigrants in the United States during the Dissolution of Norway's Union with Sweden in 1905. A selection of the numerous telegrams and letters of congratulation that the Norwegian people and the Storting received from the many Norwegian communities in American in that period of great historical significance to Norway was compiled on a CD presented during the Vice President's visit. The content of this CD has now been made available to the Norway Heritage Community by Arve Wiborg, personal advisor to Carl I. Hagen and former ship broker. This material is very interesting, it shows clearly how strong the bounds were back to "gamlelandet". The CD lists names of many prominent Norwegian-Americans of that time. Blow is shown a transcript of one of the letters received from a Norwegian-America committee in Minot, North Dakota:
Minot, N.D. June 20, 1905.
Your Committee on Resolutions beg leave to present the following report:
At a Mass Meeting of the Norwegian-Americans of the Eighth Judicial District of the State of North Dakota held in the City of Minot, June 20th, 1905, representing a constituency of twenty thousand Norwegian-Americans, it was unanimously resolved, first:
That the separation of Norway from Sweden would be largely beneficial to both, and a step forward in the progress of the already advanced civilization of each Country. Second, Resolved: That while recognizing the many virtues of King Oscar and the Swedish people, still we believe that a separation at this time would give to Norway and her people a more direct and distinctive form of Government and enable her to occupy a larger, more useful and representative place among the Governments of men.
Third, Resolved: That we fully believe that Norway was wholly within her just rights in her act of separation without the consent of King Oscar or the Swedish people in that the Union of the two Nations originally was of the nature of a limited cc-partnership, and therefore to be terminated at and by the will of either Nation.
Fourth, Resolved: That Norway, ever since the original compact, has maintained, and successfully, a distinct separate Army and Navy, Postal and Money system, together with a splendid system of National Education, and by reason of this fact all the World knows that whether Norway institutes a limited Monarchy or a Republic, the government will be both stable and safe, order will be maintained, the rights of persons and property protected, the financial credit of the Nation kept good, as no people on earth are.
more intelligent, more law abiding and possess a greater love and reverence for the land in which their live and which gave them birth. Fifth, Resolved: That in view of these universally admitted facts, and believing in the patriotism, courage and justice of Theodore Roosevelt, President of the United States, we respectfully, but earnestly urge him to take up for consideration at the earliest possible moment the question which is now so vital to the interest of our beloved Motherland; and if after a full investigation of the situation he finds that in recognizing the Independence of Norway, such an act will add to the opportunities and growth of that people in those things which go to make up a strong and progressive government, we hope that he will grant the recognition that they desire promptly, if such recognition does not infringe upon the rights of the other Nations of the world, and in no wise detract from the honor, integrity and justice of the Government of the United States.
That a copy of these resolutions be forwarded to Theodore Roosevelt, President of the United States and to President Berner of the Norwegian Storthing, and to our representative in Congress, A. j. Gronna.
J. H. Stenersen, Chairman.
S. J. Rasmussen.
Staale Hendrickson. M. H. Scholberg. Oscar Herron.
To Carl Berner, President Norwegian Storthing,
You can see the complete content of letters from the CD in pdf here: Hilsen til Norge. Note that most of the letters are written in Norwegian.