Soldiers and Citizens: The concept of citizenship and the Anjala Covenant, 1788-1790

Hugo Nordland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (SciVal)


This article discusses the relationship between 'citizenship' and military duty during the late 18th century. This is illustrated by the legal conflict that erupted between the members of the Anjala Covenant and the Board of War in 1788. In a study of the records from the following court martial, the trial is viewed as a political discussion concerning the definition of the concept of the 'citizen'. The covenanters and the Board of War held different definitions of this concept, which had implications for when and how a military officer was allowed to act politically. According to the final verdict, a military officer was deemed not to be allowed to delve into politics during an ongoing war, even though he considered himself forced to do so by his duty as a citizen. Through a study of the covenanters' own writings and arguments, a new picture emerges of how their collective insubordination was motivated. According to the covenanters themselves, they wanted the Anjala Covenant to be seen as an attempt to reach a compromise in a moral dilemma, which would inevitably force them to abandon either their duties as 'citizens' or as 'soldiers'.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246-263
JournalScandinavian Journal of History
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • History


  • the Anjala Covenant
  • 'citizen'
  • military duty


Dive into the research topics of 'Soldiers and Citizens: The concept of citizenship and the Anjala Covenant, 1788-1790'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this