Wednesday, June 16, 2010


The wise fellow above is one Axel Oxenstierna, born this day 1583 in Fano, Sweden. After the death of his father, his mother decided that young Axel needed to broaden his horizons, and he was sent abroad to further his studies. He entered the diplomatic service, and rose quite quickly, becoming a member of the Privy Council in 1609, and becoming Lord High Chancellor in 1612. It was during these and the following years that he was to bring about sweeping changes to the Swedish administrative system. Making it more uniform, and effective, and even today those tricky Swedes are pretty organized. His reforms helped make it possible for Sweden's warrior-king Gustavus Adolphus to build the "Swedish Empire." The partnership between the two men was crucial to Sweden's rise. The King was the heat and Oxenstierna provided the coolness that kept the king from making some extremely rash decisions. After the king's death, he led the regency that took over while the heir (who was only 6 at the time) reached her majority. He would go on to serve Queen Christinia as well as he had her father. Many other "great" men of the day expressed deep respect and admiration of him. Hugo Grotius considered him to be "the greatest man of the century" and Cardinal Richelieu considered him "an inexhaustible source of fine advice." Perhaps his best know quote was given in a letter written to his son, he wrote "Do you not know, my son, with how little wisdom the world is governed?" And when you think about it, no truer words have ever been spoken. Take a look around at the world's "leader" and you will see some true fools. Even in our day to day lives, most of us know or have someone who is their boss. A lot of us wonder how our boss, or someone higher up in the food chain got to where they are considering that (in our opinion) they are depriving a village of an idiot. Luckily for Sweden, and the rest of the world at the time Oxenstierna was quite wise, and used that wisdom well to govern. So, it is for that wisdom that helped to make Sweden (for a time at least) an empire that Axel Oxenstierna (June 16th, 1583-August 28th, 1654, at the age of 71) you are my (295th) hero of the day.

No comments: