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History of Denmark (1848 – 1905) Part 3

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The new cabinet achieved a concession from the side of the landsting, but agreed to the demands of parliament. In the same year, 1897, the government carried out a greatly reduced belt railway tariff. At the end of 1897, the ministry introduced a draft income, a property tax and a project for the conversion of the remaining not yet converted 3.5 parts of the public debt. The first of these two projects intensified the rift between the government and the extreme right, but both were implemented with the support of the radicals. The result of the election to the parliament in 1898: 15 conservatives, 23 moderates, 1 wild (generally supporting the government), 63 radicals, 12 social-dem.(for the last 32,000 votes cast). The radicals, having received an absolute majority, no longer needed Social Democrats.

In the partial elections to the landsting in the same year of 1898, the radicals robbed the Conservatives of three and of the moderates one; in the Landsting, there were now 23 members of the opposition (including 2 Social Democrats) and 43 members of the right and moderate (including all 12 members appointed by the Crown and 31 members elected). In 1899, the ministry brought the bill on insurance of workers against accidents, drawn up according to the German model, through parliament. The position of the conservative government, in view of the opposition majority in parliament, which had to be ceded, causing this discontent and opposition from its own party, was extremely difficult, despite the vigorous support of the crown. In 1898, it spent 500,000 crowns for military purposes, not permitted by the parliament, and this overspending was the starting point of the bitter struggle between him and the landsting,on the one hand, and parliament, on the other.

Wanting to mitigate the indignation of the radical left — the peasant party predominantly, the government introduced and conducted a draft state loan for rural workers in the amount of up to 3,600 crowns for each to acquire land, so that the government’s spending on this loan should not exceed 2 million crowns annually. This law was greeted with great sympathy by the radicals and, in part, even by the social democrats, who were supporters of measures in favor of the peasantry; but on the other hand they met with opposition among the irreconcilable part of the right, led by Estrup. The position of the government had deteriorated due to a number of strikes that took place in 1899. At the Conservative Party, which took place in December 1899 in Copenhagen, it came to a complete gap between irreconcilable conservatives and ministerial conservatives.

In April 1900, the Gerring ministry, having suffered a series of defeats in parliament, was finally resigned. The king commissioned the formation of a new cabinet to the conservative Zeestad, who made it part of the members of the former cabinet, part of the new faces, from the group of irreconcilable conservatives. He continued to fight the parliament, stubbornly unwilling to resign, despite repeated no-confidence votes.

In April 1901, new elections to the parliament took place. The electoral struggle led to the complete defeat of the ministry. The conservative party received only 8 powers, a moderate liberal party – 15, wild – 2; with these 23 or 25, and that dubious supporters, the government had to confront the left, which was acting quite amicably and now consisted of 75 radicals and 14 social democrats. The Social Democrats in this election received 43,000 votes.

The partial elections to the landsting that took place somewhat later in 1901 did not change the relations of the parties in it; from now on, there were 41 conservatives who were divided into extreme and ministerial, 3 moderate liberals, 21 radicals and one social democrat. The Social Democratic Party , which took place in Copenhagen in July 1901, was, as it were, a demonstration of the victorious battalions. In addition to 14 parliament deputies and one member of the Landsting, the Social Democratic Party, as was reported at this party, had 556 supporters in various municipalities, including one in Copenhagen, and had 15 general-purpose daily newspapers, one weekly newspaper, one satirical leaflet and several professional bodies.

The trade union movement has also made great strides. So far, Social Democracy has, in general, been going along with the radical party, but from this party it decided to fight completely separately. In view of the outcome of the elections, the government resigned; this time the king himself found it necessary to yield to the clear expression of popular will and proposed to form a cabinet for the radical, Professor Deintser (July 23, 1901). As a result of the king’s insistence, the cabinet was composed, however, not from radicals alone, but also from moderate liberals. The portfolio of the Minister of War was handed over to General Madsen, who belonged to the Conservative Party, albeit to its moderate members. On October 5, the parliament was opened with a throne speech in which the king promised “the development of civil and political freedom, the elevation of the spiritual and economic well-being of the people.

In 1902, the government concluded an agreement with the United States, according to which the last possessions of Denmark in the Antilles were inferior to them. Most of the radical party supported the government; some only insisted on a referendum among the inhabitants of the Antilles that were ceded; The right side spoke out unconditionally against this concession. However, parliament by a large majority of votes ratified the treaty on the condition of a referendum, but Landsting rejected it by a majority of 32 against 28 votes, and the treaty could not enter into force.

In 1903, it was not without difficulty that the Ministry conducted the movable and immovable property tax through both chambers of the parliament, the distribution of income tax on legal entities and the expansion of the financial rights of communities; a portion of the new tax revenue was intended to be distributed to the communities.

In 1903, the government dissolved the parliament and produced new elections, which further strengthened the left, by allocating seats in different ways between different parties. Conservatives were now 12, moderate liberals – 11, a total of 23, as before, but they no longer had the support of two wild; there were 75 radicals, social democrats – 16. Nevertheless, in 1904 the government, under pressure from the one hand, the king, on the other – its conservative and moderate members, due to the war between Russia and Japan mobilized some units of the Danish army and made some improvements in the fortifications of Copenhagen, with an amount, however, not exceeding 200,000 crowns.

These measures provoked the approval of the right and were eventually also approved by the radicals, but the Social Democrats voted strongly against. In the same year of 1904, the Minister of Justice Alberti introduced a project that hit everyone in Europe with his surprise – a project that introduced corporal punishment, as additional, for those accused of crimes against morality and crimes committed with particular cruelty. The project met with sympathy not only among the right, but also among a part of the left; however, by a majority of 54 to 50, corporal punishment was rejected and replaced by particularly hard labor.

The government took the project back, but at the end of 1904 reintroduced it in a revised form. On the basis of this bill, the decomposition of the radical (governmental) party began. In the ministry itself, some members were strongly opposed to it. After a bitter struggle, the project was over. The final split in the ministry took place on the basis of a clash between War Minister Madsen, who demanded a significant increase in the army and a new reorganization of all the fortresses, and Finance Minister Gaga, who strongly protested against these demands. In December 1904, General Madsen retired; he was followed by the Ministers of Justice Alberti and the Interior of Sørensen. Not being able to replace them with new faces, Deinzer filed a resignation on behalf of the entire cabinet. The king took advantage of this gap to, despite the radical majority of the chamber, move the cabinet somewhat to the right. He commissioned the drafting of a new cabinet to the former minister of cult, Christensen, who took over, in addition to the office of the cabinet, the ministry of the military and the sea; Alberti, Hansen, and Sørensen remained in the office, partly changing their portfolios; radical ministry members retired (January 1905).


Denmark // Encyclopedic Dictionary of Brockhaus and Efron
Helge Paludan, Eric Ulsig, Carsten Rasmussen, Hertz Boncerup, Eric Petersen, Henning Poulsen, Søren Rasmussen. History of Denmark

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