Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Paul D. Lockhart, Ph.D. (Advisor); Kathryn B. Meyer, Ph.D. (Committee Member); Jonathan R. Winkler, Ph.D. (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


The failures of the Scanian War of 1675-1679 revealed to a young Karl XI that Sweden's military was in dire need of reform. This thesis follows the king's process of negotiating with the peasantry over the implementation of one of these new reforms, the knekthåll system for recruiting infantry. It argues that Karl XI intentionally used negotiation as an instrument to build a more efficient method of military recruitment and maintenance. That he used negotiation as a tool to adapt to diverse localities and align the requirements of the knekthåll system with the real resources of an area. Negotiation legitimized the king's resource extraction even as it provided him with information on the resources of a locality and the peasant's willingness to part with them. Through this alignment the system gained stability, and with that long-term efficiency. Negotiation was not the last recourse of a king not powerful enough to enforce his will, but a tool with unique properties utilized to achieve the state's goals in a manner unattainable with coercion.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of History

Year Degree Awarded


Included in

History Commons