Sovereignty Act

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Frederick III of Denmark and Norway was proclaimed absolute ruler by the Sovereignty Act.

The Sovereignty Act or the Absolute and Hereditary Monarchy Act (Danish: Suverænitetsakten or Enevoldsarveregeringsakten, Norwegian: Suverenitetsakten or Enevoldsarveregjeringsakten) were two similar Danish and Norwegian constitutional acts, which were signed by the representatives of the estates of the realm of the Kingdom of Denmark and the Kingdom of Norway (including Iceland and the Faroe Islands). It was signed by the representatives of the Danish clerics, nobility and burghers in Copenhagen on 10 January 1661 and by the representatives of the Norwegian clerics, nobility, burghers and commoners in Christiania on 15 August 1661.

These acts legitimized absolute and hereditary monarchy in the kingdoms of Denmark and Norway, which were formerly elective monarchies in which the power was divided between the King, the nobility and the church. The acts gave the King "absolute sovereignty" (hence the name) and were signed following a coup d'etat by Frederick III of Denmark and Norway in 1660, which abolished the Danish Council of the Realm, the electoral capitulation and the elective monarchy, ending the nobility's political influence. This was made possible because the Council of the Realm, and thus the nobility, had lost control over the Army during the Second Northern War in the years before, and the King could now use the Army with its German officers and enlisted troops to intimidate the Danish nobility into accepting the constitutional changes.[1]

The Sovereignty Act was replaced by the King's Law or Lex Regia (Danish and Norwegian: Kongeloven) in both kingdoms in 1665, which formed the constitution of Denmark and Norway until the 19th century. It was unprecedented in giving the King absolute power.[2]

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References[edit]

  1. ^ Øystein Rian (2003). "Eneveldet og den nye elitens voksende tyngde", in: Maktens historie i dansketiden. Makt- og demokratiutredningens rapportserie. ISSN 1501-3065.
  2. ^ Enevoldsarveregjeringsakten, in Norsk historisk leksikon, 2nd ed. (2004)