Peasant radicalism in early nineteenth century Norway: The case of Hans Nielsen Hauge (1771-1824)

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This study explores radicalism among Norwegian peasants during Europe's post-revolutionary period and its evolution to conservatism after the Congress of Vienna, 18 15. A peasant preacher named Hans Nielsen Hauge (1 77 1 - 1824) initiated a religious movement, consisting of young people who found in his expression of religion an outlet for their disaffection. With the French Revolution in recent memory, the Haugeans aroused fears among elites by their anti-clerical and antibourgeois sentiment, as well as their cooperative commercial ventures that expressed egalitarian and communitarian ideals, which crossed class and gender boundaries. In 1804, as Europe was about to enter the Napoleonic era, the Danish authorities incarcerated Hauge. When they released him a decade later, Hauge's prophetic zeal turned conservative in an effort to return his followers to the ideals he thought they once shared. This account therefore outlines the role of popular religion in a movement from radicalism to conservativism in post-revolutionary Europe.
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