Persistence, Principle and Patriotism in the Making of the Union of 1707: the Revolution, Scottish Parliament and the squadrone volante

Derek J. Patrick, Christopher A. Whatley

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    12 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Since the 1960s most historians of the Union of 1707 have considered it a less than glorious chapter in Scotland's history. Driven by ambition and greed, Scots politicians, covetous of English wealth and swayed by promises and bribes, bartered their nation's independence for personal gain. Those genuinely committed to political union were in a minority. The following article maintains that this interpretation is based on an essentially short-term approach to the subject. Concentrating on the worsening relations between Scotland and England in the years immediately preceding the Union gives a distorted impression of what was a more enduring concern. It suggests the Revolution of 1688–9 had a far greater impact on the politics of union than previously anticipated, with the religious and political freedoms it guaranteed shaping the beliefs of a large number of Scots MPs who sat in Parliament 1706–7, almost half of whom had been members of King William's Convention Parliament with a majority supporting union. Focusing on the squadrone volante– one of the two much-maligned Scots unionist parties – the article traces the ideological roots of its key members and illustrates the various factors that led them to endorse an incorporating union which offered security for presbyterianism and a solution to Scotland's economic underdevelopment. Not denying that management and ambition played a significant part in securing the Union, it highlights the fact that amongst the Scottish political elite there was also a degree of genuine commitment and principled support.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)162-186
    Number of pages25
    JournalHistory
    Volume92
    Issue number306
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2007

    Keywords

    • History
    • Politics and government
    • Local government
    • Scotland
    • Church history

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