Did the Rich Lead the Poor to Rebel in the Finnish Peasant Revolts of the 15th–17th –Centuries?
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In his seminal work about the social background to the Finnish Civil War of 1918, Viljo Rasila has found that there were three factors behind the overall increase in political activity. First, it was a period when there were more opportunities to improve one’s social status; second, people could migrate more easily; and third, there was a relatively high level of welfare. According to Rasila, political agitation was highest among those who enjoyed higher levels of economic and social welfare; and this applied equally to people on both the ‘red’ and ‘white’ sides of the Civil War.1 In his opinion, those who were the most impoverished did not rise up in revolt.