The first president of Finland.
In office from 1919 to 1925.
Kaarlo Juho Ståhlberg was born on January 28, 1865 in Suomussalmi. Working as a lawyer, he became involved in politics and active in the Finnish nationality movement. He was a supporter of the liberal Nuorsuomalaiset (Young Finns) party, and later on a member of the Edistyspuolue (Progressive party). Ståhlberg believed in passive resistance in defending Finnish laws.
K.J. Ståhlberg worked for three terms as a representative in Finland's parliament, between the years 1908 and 1918. After the March revolution in 1917, he became the president of the constitutional law committee. On the issue of declaring independence Ståhlberg wanted to take on a very cautious course, and come up with a solution which all the parties could accept unanimously. His pleads were ignored by the senate, which issued the declaration on December 4, 1917.
After the civil war ended in 1918, Ståhlberg worked on supporting the republic side of the argument about the new goverment. After the plans for a monarchy were destroyed, Ståhlberg was offered the position of prime minister, but he turned it down. He continued to work as an intrigual part of creating the new form of governing, until it was passed as a law. The parliament elected Ståhlberg as the first Finnish president in July 1919, him gaining almost 100 more votes than the runner-up, C.G.E. Mannerheim.
After his first term as president ended, K.J. Ståhlberg refused to run for office. On the next two elections he was a worthy candidate, but didn't manage to win. Ståhlberg continued to work for 20 years on a law preparation committee in the justice department.
Despite being regarded as one of the fathers of Finland's govermental shape, Ståhlberg also worked on clearing up the dirty laundry left by the civil war, negotiating the Tartto peace agreement and resolving the conflict on Ahvenanmaa between Sweden and Finland.
Sources include materials from The University of Tampere and the book Mitä Missä Milloin 2001.