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Ove Hoegh-Guldberg

Ove Hoegh-GuldbergOve Høegh-Guldberg (born Guldberg), 01-SEP-1731-07-FEB-1808, was a Danish statesman, historian and de facto prime minister of Denmark, 1772-1784. He was the son of a poor Jutlandish merchant. By the help of patrons he was educated a theologian, later he became a historian and 1761 a professor. Like many other middle class academics of his age he was a mixture of a patriotic common sense man and an orthodox royalist. 1764 he was connected to the queen Juliana Maria of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel as the house teacher of her son, Frederick, from 1771 also as the latter’s cabinet secretary. In his new position he affected the prince with a Danish national and conservative spirit. This post was the precondition of Guldberg’s future political career. Being a conservative and devoted monarchist he quite made common cause with the opposition against the rule of Johan Friedrich Strusensee regarding him a revolutionary and a usurper. At the making of the conspiracy against Struensee 1771 he was one of its leaders and perhaps its only real talent. By the fall of Struensee 1772 Guldberg became the leader of the new government. Though never created a formal cabinet minister until shortly before his own fall he must be regarded the real prime minister of most of this period though hidden behind the Hereditary Prince as the regent. As years passed he advanced to first secretary (1776) and 1777 he was ennobled as Høegh-Guldberg. Like Struensee he mostly governed during direct cabinet orders relying upon his influence on the royal guardians of the insane Christian VII. The “Guldberg rule” was marked by peace and rest and at start favoured by good financial conditions. As a neutral state Denmark enjoyed a mercantile high conjuncture during the American Revolutionary War. In domestic politics he successfully carried through a national line making him popular among many commoners (Danish language in the army 1773 and especially the Act of Citzenship 1776 that excluded foreigners from public posts of the monarchy). He also supported gifted Danish poets and authors including Jörgen Zoega. Though an outspoken Danish nationalist he beyond any doubt also used it as a propaganda asset. A severe reverse of his rule was his financial disability and a growing corruption. Besides Guldberg showed no understanding of the problems of the peasants and he abolished most of the reforms of Struensee like he – though a provincial himself – totally favoured the capital oat the expense of the provinces. The deaths and removal of some of his government colleagues enlarged his field of activity but also made him more vulnerable to critics. Economic low times undermined his popularity but most decisive was that he - like his royal employers Juliane Maria and the Hereditary Prince – had fallen radically out with the Crown Prince whose growing opposition he seems to have ignored. April 1784 just as he had become appointed a minister he was forced to resign by the coup d'etat of the prince. He was then reduced to the rank of an amtmand (prefect) until 1802.

From: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


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