In reading Isabel de Madariaga’s Russia in the Age of Catherine the Great (heavy going at times, but much more informative than the many lurid biographies of Catherine) I discovered to my delight that the two main parties in mid-eighteenth-century Sweden were the Hat Party and the Cap Party. Here’s a quotation from an online biography of Gustavus III:

To the conflicting interests of peasants, nobles, priests, and officials was added the struggle between the aggressive, pro-French, and aristocratic Hat party and the more conservative, pro-Russian Cap party.

I don’t know which I would have supported, but the choice would have been more entertaining than Republican vs. Democrat.


  1. Jed Keenan says

    In a tradition of plain talking the hat & cap do not need to be explained. The Cap is a tradition similar to a British Whig. Uses of the name Democrat as a political party in a democratic political system seems to point to the undemocratic nature of their opponents. Movement for Democratic Change in Zimbabwe for example. Similarly Republican points towards a Royalist or Federal policy. Neither are true in the US but the alternative are to terrible to contemplate. Say a British system of naming a party clearly were to be established. Labour, Liberal, Conservative. Yeah three party system, very liberal, what would the US parties be called? I can’t think! In the UK the Conservatives have to wings, the left are called Wets or One Nation Tories and the right Eurosceptics or Thatcherites.
    Maybe with the EU’s present relation with the Republican party maybe Eurosceptic works! While the Democrats promises to involve the UN more often One United Nation Tories would work. Silly but all I can think of. Any good names, maybe could help distinguish the parties better for the world making the US less of a target.

  2. Jed Keenan says

    Two, to preview next time.

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