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Louis Gerhard De Geer

Baron Louis Gerhard De Geer (1818-1896), Swedish statesman and writer, was born on July 18, 1818 at Finspång manor. He adopted the legal profession, and in 1855 became president of the Göta Hovrätt, or lord justice for the appellate court of Götaland. From April 7, 1858 to June 3, 1870 he was Prime Minister of Justice. As a member of the nobility he took part in the Swedish Riksdag of the Estates from 1851 onwards. From 1867 to 1878 he was the member for Stockholm in the first chamber in the New Riksdag, and introduced and passed many useful reformatory statutes.

Architect of the New Riksdag

His greatest achievement, as a statesman, was the reform of the Swedish representative system, whereby he substituted a bi-cameral elective parliament, on modern lines, for the existing cumbersome representation by estates, a survival from the later middle ages. This great measure was accepted by the Riksdag in December 1865, and received the royal sanction on the June 22, 1866. For some time after this De Geer was the most popular man in Sweden. He retired from the ministry in 1870, but took office again, as minister in 1875.

Premier Prime Minister

In 1876 he became the first Prime Minister of Sweden, which position he retained till April 1880, when the failure of his repeated efforts to settle the armaments question again induced him to resign. From 1881 to 1888 he was Chancellor for the Universities of Uppsala and Lund.

Literary works

Besides several novels and aesthetic essays, De Geer has written a few political memoirs of supreme merit both as to style and matter, the most notable of which are: Minnesteckning öfver A. J. v. Höpken (Stockholm, 1881); Minnesteckning öfver Hans Järta (Stockholm, 1874); Minnesteckning öfver B. B. von Platen (Stockholm, 1886); and his own Minnen (Stockholm, 1892), an autobiography, invaluable as a historical document, in which the political experience and the matured judgments of a lifetime are recorded with singular clearness, sobriety and charm.

See also: List of Swedish politicians


Preceded by:
Prime Minister of Sweden Succeeded by:
Arvid Posse