Young Finnish Party
The Young Finnish Party or Constitutional-Fennoman Party (in Finnish: Nuorsuomalainen Puolue or Perustuslaillis-Suomenmielinen Puolue) was a liberal and nationalist political party in the Grand Duchy of Finland
Grand Duchy of Finland
The Grand Duchy of Finland was the predecessor state of modern Finland. It existed 1809–1917 as part of the Russian Empire and was ruled by the Russian czar as Grand Prince.- History :...

. It began as an upper-class reformist movement during the 1870s and formed as a political party
A party is a gathering of people who have been invited by a host for the purposes of socializing, conversation, or recreation. A party will typically feature food and beverages, and often music and dancing as well....

 in 1894.


Industrialization and opening of the Finnish economy by Emperor Alexander II
Alexander II of Russia
Alexander II , also known as Alexander the Liberator was the Emperor of the Russian Empire from 3 March 1855 until his assassination in 1881...

 gave room for liberal economic thinking. The Young Finns opposed on constitutional basis Russification
Russification of Finland
The policy of Russification of Finland was a governmental policy of the Russian Empire aimed at limiting the special status of the Grand Duchy of Finland and possibly the termination of its political autonomy and cultural uniqueness...

 efforts that commenced during 1899-1905. During that period various political factions joined the movement and they were held together by a common opponent, the autocratic Russian Empire. The movement separated itself from the main Fennoman movement, the Finnish Party
Finnish Party
The Finnish Party was a Fennoman conservative political party in the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland and independent Finland. Born out of Finland's language strife in the 1860s, the party sought to improve the position of the Finnish language in Finnish society...

 due to political competition between two political generations that had differing views on Finland's constitutional status in the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...


In 1907, after a general strike that finished the first Russification
Russification is an adoption of the Russian language or some other Russian attributes by non-Russian communities...

 period and brought parliamentary democracy with universal suffrage and a unicameral parliament to Finland, the Young Finnish Party took part in the first Finnish parliamentary election as a liberal
Liberalism is the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally, liberals support ideas such as constitutionalism, liberal democracy, free and fair elections, human rights,...

-minded centre-right party. However, already during the 19th century there had been disputes inside the party over its political line, and after the pressure by Russia eased the major differences between the separate groups became open and there was even discussion of establishing two completely separate factions or parties. The party was formally kept together, but was split in two major groups: the "sparrows" (varpuset) led by Kaarlo Juho Ståhlberg
Kaarlo Juho Ståhlberg
Kaarlo Juho Ståhlberg was a Finnish jurist and academic, who played a central role in the drafting of the Constitution of Finland in 1919. He was the first President of Finland and a nationalist liberal.-Early life:...

 and the "swallows" (pääskyt) led by Jonas Castrén and Pehr Evind Svinhufvud
Pehr Evind Svinhufvud
Pehr Evind Svinhufvud af Qvalstad , December 15, 1861 – February 29, 1944) was the third President of Finland from 1931 to 1937. Serving as a lawyer, judge, and politician in the Russian Grand Duchy of Finland, he played a major role in the movement for Finnish independence...

. The "sparrows" were a liberal faction seeking for social liberalism and social reforms. They were orientated in foreign policy toward the United Kingdom and France, but after the Finnish Civil War
Finnish Civil War
The Finnish Civil War was a part of the national, political and social turmoil caused by World War I in Europe. The Civil War concerned control and leadership of The Grand Duchy of Finland as it achieved independence from Russia after the October Revolution in Petrograd...

 of 1918 their support for Germany increased. The members of the "swallows" were mainly conservative, partially strong conservatives and mainly economic liberals, who did not emphasize the need for social reforms. During World War I and especially after the Civil War, they leaned on Germany. Svinhufvud orientated strongly toward the German Empire and supported a monarchist political system for Finland. Ståhlberg urged full democracy and the formation of a republic in Finland. During the hegemony of Germany in 1918, the monarchists won the political battle and a clear majority of the Young Finns voted for a German prince Friedrich Karl to become the King of Finland. Only Ståhlberg and few other Young Finns voted against monarchy.

End of the party

After the Finnish Civil War in late 1918, the Young Finnish Party finally split into two new parties. A minority of members joined with Svinhufvud the conservative, monarchist National Coalition Party
National Coalition Party (Finland)
The National Coalition Party is a liberal conservative political party in Finland founded in 1918.The National Coalition Party is one of the four largest parties in Finland, along with the Social Democratic Party, the Centre Party and the True Finns...

 (together with the majority of the Finnish Party), while the majority joined with Ståhlberg the liberal, republican National Progressive Party
National Progressive Party (Finland)
The National Progressive Party was a liberal political party in Finland from 1918 to 1951. The party was founded December 8 1918, after the Finnish Civil War, by the republican majority of the Young Finnish Party and the republican minority of the Finnish Party...

. After the defeat of the German Empire in World War I, the monarchist policy had collapsed and Ståhlberg, as the first President of Finland elected on July 25 1919, became the leader of the Republic of Finland.

A small economically right-wing party with the same name, Young Finns
Young Finns
Young Finns was a liberal political party in Finland founded in 1994 and abolished in 1999. In the 1995 parliamentary elections, the party gained two seats, held by Risto Penttilä and Jukka Tarkka. In the 1999 election Young Finns failed to get any seats and it was discontinued...

, was established in the 1990s and gained two seats in the Parliament, but lost them in the next elections.

See also

  • Liberalism
    Liberalism is the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally, liberals support ideas such as constitutionalism, liberal democracy, free and fair elections, human rights,...

  • Contributions to liberal theory
    Contributions to liberal theory
    Individual contributors to classical liberalism and political liberalism are associated with philosophers of the Enlightenment. Liberalism as a specifically named ideology begins in the late 18th century as a movement towards self-government and away from aristocracy...

  • Liberalism worldwide
    Liberalism worldwide
    This article gives information on liberalism in diverse countries around the world. It is an overview of parties that adhere more or less to the ideas of political liberalism and is therefore a list of liberal parties around the world....

  • List of liberal parties
  • Liberal democracy
    Liberal democracy
    Liberal democracy, also known as constitutional democracy, is a common form of representative democracy. According to the principles of liberal democracy, elections should be free and fair, and the political process should be competitive...

  • Liberalism and centrism in Finland
    Liberalism and centrism in Finland
    This article gives an overview of liberalism and centrism in Finland. It is limited to liberal and centrist parties with substantial support, mainly proved by having had a representation in parliament. The sign ⇒ means a reference to another party in that scheme...


  • Vesa Vares (2000): Varpuset ja pääskyt. Nuorsuomalaisuus ja Nuorsuomalainen puolue 1870-luvulta vuoteen 1918. ISBN 951-746-161-5
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