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By Susanne Wiborg (auth.)

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Countries that underwent periods of intensive state building, usually caused by revolution, war, occupation (real or threatened), or by the desire to catch up with other more advanced states, were also the ones that most quickly established national education systems. By contrast, those countries that were more quiescent in state building during this period, either because of the precociousness of their early state formation (like England) or because of major barriers to state unification (as in Italy and the German Länder), established education systems at a later time.

Children transferred gradually from private schools to state schools as the quality of the latter had improved to such an extent that they could compete with the former. The Latin school, in parallel with the elementary school, underwent reformation throughout the nineteenth century. With the laws of 1809, 1850, and 1971, the curriculum and examination in these schools were further expanded and developed. A number of private Latin schools existed, but these were not entirely independent as they were under the aegis of the state, received state grants, and were subject to inspection.

In Sweden, the loyalty of the nobility was secured by means of mass ennoblement and creation of a close relationship between the nobility and the other estates. In Denmark, by contrast, the power of the nobility was deliberately restricted via the introduction of absolutism in 1660. The long-term historical impact of this was, according to Knudsen and Rothstein (1994), that in Sweden the nobility, in spite of its relatively small 26 Education and Social Integration size, maintained power in military and civil administrations, enabling them to exert great influence over policymaking.

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