Boström’s governmental policy was marked by its pragmatism. Over time, Boström gained a good reputation as being a rallying national icon despite being the first prime minister to have neither an academic education nor experience with upper governmental positions. He was also quite popular with King Oscar II. Boström’s eventual downfall was caused by his refusal to budge on the issue of Norway.
Erik Gustaf Boström was born in Stockholm, the son of Eric Samuel Boström, chief judge of the district court and his wife Elisabet Gustava Fredenheim. The family was one branch of the Laestadius family of priests from Norrland. His paternal grandfather Christopher Laestander, a townsman and ship carpenter in the city of Piteå, took the surname Boström.
He was tutored by Kristian Claëson, whose first cousin served as the Minister of Ecclesiastical Affairs under Boström in 1898. In 1854, he became a student at the Uppsala Cathedral School, which was also the year his father died. It is worth noting that five of his fellow cabinet members during his first term attended the same school: Axel Rappe, Edvard von Krusenstjerna, Ludvig Annerstedt, Gustaf Gilljam and Lars Åkerhielm. In 1861, he transferred to Uppsala University, where he studied until 1863 when his mother died and he had to take over her manor at Östanå Castle.
It is interesting to note that as a youth he availed himself of the opportunity to pay to avoid conscription, which was last possible in 1872.