Leo Mechelin
Humanist of the day

Leo Mechelin

Leo Mechelin is best remembered as a staunch defender of Finnish autonomy. He diligently participated in the activities of the Diet of Finland as a representative of two estates and continued his work in the Finnish Parliament. For his first university degree, Mechelin studied aesthetics and literature. Later, he changed to jurisprudence, a field in which he was to work as a professor. With a keen interest in economics, Mechelin strove to improve the foundations of the Finnish economy by developing the tax base and improving winter seafaring.

Leo Mechelin

Leopold Henrik Stanislaus Mechelin
Born November 24, 1839, Hamina. Died January 26, 1914, Helsinki

Master of Arts (aesthetics, literature) 1860, Imperial Alexander University
Iuris Utruique Candidatus, 1864 licentiate, PhD 1873, Imperial Alexander University

Professor of Public Administration and Constitutional Law 1874–82, Acting professor of Financial Law and National Economics 1877-82, Imperial Alexander University
Deputy head of the State Treasury Committee 1882-88
Head of the Trade and Industry Committee 1888-90
Vice-chairman of the Senate Finance Department 1905-08

Member of Parliament for the Swedish People’s Party (constituency of Uusimaa) 1910-13
Chairman of the Constitutional Law Committee 1910, 1931
Member of Helsinki City Council 1875-78, 1891-99; Chairman 1875, 1876, 1878, 1892-99

Executive Committee of the bank Suomen Yhydyspankki 1867-72; Board of Governors, deputy member 1874-78; Chairman 1898-1903
Board of Nokia Ab, 1871-82, 1913-14; Chairman 1898-1903
Finnish Association of Applied Arts, Chairman 1882-83
Ekonomiska samfundet, Chairman 1894
Finnish Economics Society, Chairman 1896-99
Finnish Art Society, Chairman 1896-1903

Photo: Helsinki City Museum, Riis Charles & co. CC BY-ND 4.0
Written by Tero Juutilainen
Translated by Matthew Billington

Leo Mechelin enrolled at the University of Helsinki immediately after completing his matriculation examination. He was interested in the humanities, particularly aesthetics and literature, but decided on the same course that J.K. Paasikivi and P.E: Svhinhufvud were to take slightly later: after his first degree he changed to law in the hope of a career in the civil service.

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