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Consultation and Consent under James VI

Consultation and Consent under James VI

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-306
Number of pages20
JournalHistorical Journal
Issue number2
Early online date11 May 2011
StatePublished - Jun 2011


Divisions in the Scottish political community that were evident by the end of the reign of James VI have been posited as roots of the Scottish revolution of 1638 and the wars of the three kingdoms. This article argues that the disengagement of central government from the political nation at large was a key factor in this development. By demonstrating the frequency of conventions of the estates, it highlights the intensity of consultation in James's Scottish government before 1603. A sudden decline in their frequency thereafter was symptomatic of a wider failure of government to adapt to the absence of the king in the context of a composite monarchy. While correspondence between the king and the privy council was copious, communication between the council and the political elites of Scotland withered. Without conventions of the estates as a vital point of contact in which new policies could be tested and negotiated, parliaments became more disagreeable. The crown's reliance on unprecedented levels of management and increased central direction alienated a significant proportion of the political elite, driving them into the oppositional stance which endured through the reign of Charles I.



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