Anders Sandøe Ørsted

Anders Sandøe Ørsted (21 December 1778 – 1 May 1860) was a Danish lawyer, politician and jurist. He served as the Prime Minister of Denmark in 1853–1854.[1]

Anders Sandøe Ørsted
Ørsted, Anders Sandøe (av Christian Albrecht Jensen cirka 1840).jpg
Portrait by Christian Albrecht Jensen, dated circa 1840
3rd Prime Minister of Denmark
In office
21 April 1853 – 12 December 1854
MonarchFrederick VII
Preceded byChristian Albrecht Bluhme
Succeeded byPeter Georg Bang
Personal details
Born(1778-12-21)21 December 1778
Rudkøbing, Denmark
Died1 May 1860(1860-05-01) (aged 81)
Copenhagen, Denmark
Political partyHøjre
Alma materUniversity of Copenhagen


He studied philosophy and law at the University of Copenhagen and was admitted to the bar in 1799. He became a noted jurist. An early case overseen by him was that of Hans Jonatan, an escaped slave, which was (at least viewed retrospectively) a major test case in Danish law on slavery; Anders condemned Hans to be returned to the West Indies, where he had been purchased (Hof-og Stadsret: Generalmajorinde Henriette de Schimmelmann contra mulatten Hans Jonathan 1802).[2]

Relatively early, he was connected to the national administration, and from 1825 to 1848, he was “generalprokurør” (juridical adviser of the government). He drew up the constitution which was granted in 1831. He was cabinet minister 1842–48, and from October 1853 to December 1854 was prime minister. He was forced to resign from his office as prime minister by his unpopular conservatism, a distinct departure from his earlier politics. In 1855, he was impeached on the charge of breaking the constitution, but he was acquitted and retired to private life.


He is considered one of the most important jurists in 19th century Danish legal history. He was a pioneer of connecting jurisprudence and practice, and both as a judge and as an author, he successfully worked on making practice the foundation of legislation.

His political career was one of paradoxes. As a royal councillor of the absolute monarchy, he was rather liberal and tolerant and therefore often unpopular with the more conservative elements. As the opposition grew stronger however, he became more conservative and as prime minister, he was considered a full-blood reactionary. His attempt to charter a very conservative constitution led to cooperation between the king and the liberals that forced him to resign.

Literary worksEdit

Throughout his career Ørsted was a prolific writer. Among other things he wrote on Kantian and Hegelian philosophy, on Danish and Norwegian law, on Scandinavian politics (1857) and left an autobiography (1856). He was also the editor of several journals, most notable Juridisk Arkiv (1804-1812), Nyt Juridisk Arkiv (1812-1830) and Juridisk Tidsskrift (1820-1840), as well as the official government periodical publication Collegial-Tidende (1815-34 co-edited with Peter Johan Monrad, and exclusively by Ørsted 1834–1848).


He was the brother of noted physicist Hans Christian Ørsted (1777–1851), and uncle of the botanist Anders Sandøe Ørsted (1816–1872). He was married to Sophie Ørsted née Oehlenschläger (1782–1818) and was the brother-in-law of Adam Oehlenschläger. [3][4][5]


  1. ^ "Anders Sandøe Ørsted". Den Store Danske. Retrieved August 1, 2020.
  2. ^ Kristín Loftsdóttir and Gísli Pálsson, 'Black on White: Danish Colonialism, Iceland and the Caribbean', in Scandinavian Colonialism and the Rise of Modernity: Small Time Agents in a Global Arena, ed. by Magdalena Naum and Jonas M. Nordin, Contributions To Global Historical Archaeology Volume, 37 (New York: Springer, 2013), pp. 37--52 (p. 45). doi:10.1007/978-1-4614-6202-6_3
  3. ^ "Ørsted, Hans Christian 1777-1851". Dansk biografisk Lexikon. Retrieved August 1, 2020.
  4. ^ "Ørsted, Sophie Wilhelmine Bertha". Dansk Kvindebiografisk Leksikon. Retrieved August 1, 2020.
  5. ^ "Adam Oehlenschläger". Den Store Danske. Retrieved August 1, 2020.

Other sourcesEdit

Political offices
Preceded by Prime Minister of Denmark
21 April 1853 – 12 December 1854
Succeeded by
Preceded by Interior Minister of Denmark
21 April 1853 – 29 April 1854
Succeeded by
Preceded by Kultus Minister of Denmark
21 April 1853 – 12 December 1854
Succeeded by