Voting in the Scottish Parliament Before 1639
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Traditionally, historians have been dismissive of the significance of voting in the Scottish parliament before the Covenanting revolution of 1638 and its first parliament in 1639-41. Recent, more detailed research has undermined many previous assumptions about the nature and procedures of parliament. Drawing upon local and national records, this article explores the evidence for the incidence of enumerated divisions as part of the decision-making process. It demonstrates that there is evidence for voting from as early as the fourteenth century, albeit that it is not unambiguous before the sixteenth century. As in the English House of Commons, enumerated divisions may have become more firmly established as a normal part of parliament's procedures during that century. The impact of the regal union is also analysed, although it is not clear that it had a significant impact upon this particular aspect of parliamentary procedure. It also examines the use of the word 'vote' in the Scots language, and its relationship to 'voice'. It is argued that 'vote' was exported to England after 1603 and, as a consequence, it questions the view that the appearance of the word in England has significance for the emergence of contested elections there. © 2010 International Commission for the History of Representative and Parliamentary Institutions/Commission Internationale pour l'Histoire des Assemblées d' États.