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The Fennomans were the most important political movement in the 19th century Grand Principality of Finland. They succeeded the fennophile interests of the 18th and early 19th century.
After the Crimean War, Fennomans founded the Finnish Party and intensified the language strife, yearning to raise the Finnish language and Finnic culture from peasant status to the position of a national language and a national culture. The opposition, the Svecomans, tried to defend the status of Swedish and the ties to the Germanic world.
The mother tongue of many of the first generation of Fennomans, and of Snellman himself, was Swedish. Some of the originally Swedish-speaking Fennomans learned Finnish, and made a point of using it inside and outside the home.
Several Fennomans were from Finnish or bilingual homes. Some originally had Swedish surnames, common in Finland at that time.
Most of the Fennomans also Finnicized their family names, particularly from the end of the 19th century.
- "Swedes we are no more,
- Russians we cannot become,
- therefore Finns we must be."
- Daniel Juslenius
- Fredrik Cygnaeus
- Yrjö Sakari Yrjö-Koskinen, formerly Georg Zacharias Forsman
- Alexandra Gripenberg
- Lauri Kivekäs, formerly Stenbäck
- Johannes Linnankoski
- Agathon Meurman
- Julius Krohn
- Juho Kusti Paasikivi, formerly Johan Gustav Hellsten
- Emil Nestor Setälä
- Johan Vilhelm Snellman
- Eero Järnefelt