- Project Runeberg -  Year-book of the Swedish-American Historical Society / Volume 7 (1921-1922) /
19

(1908-1925) [MARC]
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the people of Sweden. Tyranny never flourished for
any extended period. Nor have the penal statutes been
as extreme as with other nations. Respect for law and
authority was inborn in the early Swedish immigrants.
Rarely were crimes laid at their door. If it did occur,
strong drink was usually the cause. For with all good
traits possessed by those who came from Sweden, it
cannot be denied that some of them occasionally imbibed
too freely of diluted alcohol, which so often makes
desperadoes of the most peaceable persons. The early
immigrants from Sweden were not like some from other
nations, dissatisfied with the government they had lived
under and in opposition to its laws. But rather, they
transferred the respect and esteem which they had
yielded willingly to their former government to this. They
had been taught from childhood to respect those in
authority as representatives of the law, and cheerfully
sought here to conform to what they had learned. As a
rule the privilege of citizenship and the exercise of this
right were eagerly sought. There is, however, one trait
of those born and raised in Sweden, in respect to the
administration of law, that I have noticed, but am not able
satisfactorily to account for its cause, namely, a
suspicion that the opposing lawyer may be bought or one’s
own lawyer will sell out. It may be that this opinion is
held only by those who were raised in the country,
where no real lawyers were found, and the people had
to resort to so-called “brännvinsadvokater.” In former
times, as far as I can learn, there were no trained lawyers
in Sweden except in the larger cities; and in the rural
districts any person was permitted to assist a litigant in
drawing the papers needed in court, and in speaking in
his behalf.

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