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About this book

This illuminating and insightful guide offers a comprehensive overview of Scottish history, from the kingdom’s genesis in the ninth century to the independence debates of the present day. Considering both internal dynamics and international horizons, Allan Macinnes asserts Scotland’s heritage as significant and compelling in its own right, rather than reducing it to an offshoot of England’s past.

Rigorous and wide-ranging, this textbook is an essential companion for undergraduate and postgraduate students of History. Its lively and accessible style makes it suitable for anyone with an interest in Scotland’s national development.

Table of Contents

1. Shaping a Mongrel Nation, 832–1214

Abstract
According to legend, sometime in 832 at Athelstaneford, the Picts under their king, Aengus II, were preparing to fight a force of Angles from Northumbria, when the ominous formation of white clouds against a blue sky signified the Cross of St Andrew. With this heavenly blessing, the Picts were inspired to secure victory in the contested territories of the Lothians. Eleven years later, the Picts, who held east-central and northern districts over the Firth of Forth, were instrumental in promoting union with the Gaels of the western and central Highlands in the kingdom of Alba. This was a Celtic union of ancient migrant peoples, confederated under warlords, with more recent incomers who had established themselves in Argyll by the outset of the sixth century in the kingdom of Dalriada. Although they spoke different Celtic languages, the Picts and the Gaels shared a common Celtic Christianity that was spread by holy men from Dalriada. Christianity was also influenced by the legacy of the Roman occupation of Britain, which lasted until the outset of the fifth century but rarely advanced beyond the Firths of Forth and Clyde. The Britons, as the Celts most closely associated with the Romans, shared a similar if not the same language as the Picts that has been transmitted as Cumbric or Welsh. The Romano-British Church had already established a religious presence among the Britons through the influence of holy men in Galloway at the end of the fourth century, whose mission had reached Glasgow by the mid-sixth century. As part of the accord between the Romano-British and the Celtic Churches, some reputed relics of St Andrew, one of the original disciples of Jesus Christ who travelled great distances to spread the Christian message before his crucifixion on a cross at Paras in Greece in AD 60, had arrived in Kilrymont in Fife via Hexham in Northumbria in the mid-eighth century. Kilrymont became known as St Andrews.
Allan I. Macinnes

2. Wars of Independence, 1214–1424

Abstract
The Anglo-Norman monarchy that controlled England was intent on subjugating Celtic lordships in Ireland and Wales and on expanding its territorial influence in France. Such a territorially acquisitive power was rarely averse to enforcing overlordship on Scottish kings, nobles and kindreds prone to cross-Border raiding. Primogeniture also opened up the prospect of royal minorities, as occurred after the deaths of Alexander II in 1249, Alexander III in 1286 and Robert I in 1329, which threatened not only the integrity but the independence of the kingdom of Scotland. Independence, which was consistently supported by the Catholic Church within Scotland, if not the papacy at Rome, rested primarily on the cohesion of diverse kindreds into one community of the realm. Its concern for the ‘common weal’ was upheld by the estates of the nobility, clergy and burgesses assembled in the parliaments from the late thirteenth century and was given a distinctive flavour by the Declaration of Arbroath in which the magnates as leading nobles pledged conditional allegiance to Robert the Bruce as king of Scots in 1320. The common weal duly found expression as the Scottish commonwealth that was prepared to stand out against the Crown if the independence of the kingdom was compromised. However, the standards for the common weal established by the Declaration were severely undermined by subsequent political adventuring, most notably under David I and the early Stewarts prior to 1424. Threatened, compromised and subverted, Scottish independence ultimately prevailed due in no large measure to English overcommitment to war. From the mid-fourteenth century, England became embroiled in the Hundred Years War with France. The French connection through the ‘auld alliance’ remained pre-eminent for Scotland.
Allan I. Macinnes

3. Renaissance and Reformation, 1424–1625

Abstract
Renaissance influences were particularly evident at the Scottish court in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries as monarchy became more acquisitive and demonstrative. While the great age of building monasteries and cathedrals was coming to a close, there was a proliferation of collegiate kirks that was matched by the growth and embellishment of tower houses as prosperity accompanied growing civility. However, minorities in Scotland, which afflicted all monarchs from James I to James VI, were invariably polarised by English and French interests that were sustained by pensions to leading politicians, but also by ideological differences on the future direction of the kingdom, a direction further complicated by the rise of Protestantism. The rule of Queen Mary from 1561 raised prospects of a Roman Catholic revival that were dashed by her deposition in 1567. James VI, like his mother, became fixated on succeeding to the English throne, which was duly accomplished in 1603. As James VI & I promoted British monarchy through religious uniformity, war and diplomacy, colonies and plantations, the influx of gold and silver from Spanish colonies in America brought price instability and inflation to Europe. Urban growth and rural transformation along with the recurrence of territorial and religious disputes created opportunities for Scots as merchants and mercenaries.
Allan I. Macinnes

4. Covenanters and Jacobites, 1625–1753

Abstract
Charles I’s British agenda, especially his pursuit of economic and religious uniformity, provoked revolution in Scotland by 1638. Scottish endeavours to impose contractual limitations on monarchy led to the wars for the three kingdoms in the 1640s. Scottish setting of the British political agenda was abruptly terminated by English republicans, led by Oliver Cromwell, who followed up their trial and execution of Charles I at the outset of 1649 with the occupation of Scotland during the 1650s. The Restoration of Charles II in 1660, which not only brought back the monarchy but also aristocratic power and Episcopalianism, was vigorously resisted in Scotland. Covenanting was recast as a subversive cause that activated both women and men to exercise their rights of resistance. Yet the removal of the Catholic James VII & II at the Revolution of 1688–91 and his replacement by his staunchly Protestant daughter, Mary, and her Dutch husband, William of Orange, was not readily accepted in Scotland. To curtail widespread opposition to his disaster-prone reign, William promoted political incorporation, a policy continued by his sister-in-law and successor, Anne, under whom the Treaty of Union was duly engineered in 1706–7. The Hanoverian Succession of 1714 confirmed the continental exile of the Stuarts whose cause met with little success in a series of risings and plots up to 1753. In the interim, Scots grasped opportunities in Empire that spread in the wake of Union.
Allan I. Macinnes

5. Enlightenment and Enterprise, 1753–1884

Abstract
Scotland emerged from the civil war between Jacobites and Whigs into an era of Enlightenment in the arts, law, medicine, science and technology. Scotland prospered within a United Kingdom, expanded to include Ireland in 1801, and as a key imperial partner in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean, notwithstanding the loss of the American colonies by 1783. The application of science and technology, the most enduring legacy of the Enlightenment, promoted enterprise which took Scotland through two stages of industrialisation, the first marked by textiles and chemicals from the 1770s and the second by coal, iron and steel, railways and shipbuilding from the 1820s. With agricultural improvements leading to removals and relocations, population drifted irrevocably away from the countryside to the towns. Despite extensive emigration overseas as well as to the rest of the United Kingdom, population levels continued to grow, with improved nutrition and large-scale immigration, particularly from Ireland. Urbanisation aggravated religious issues with the growth of dissent, non-churchgoing and sectarian discrimination and heightened political awareness through class divisions, electoral reforms and growing pressure for state intervention on social matters.
Allan I. Macinnes

6. Unionists, Civic Patriots and Nationalists, 1884–1999

Abstract
Between 1884 and 1999 Scotland underwent relentless change. War, environmental degradation, depopulation and deindustrialisation were largely negative, while expanded leisure opportunities, urban renewal, air transport and information technology have tended to be positive. Unionism bolstered by British nationalism based variably on the monarchy, Protestantism, social privilege, class solidarity and the welfare state retains a powerful presence in Scotland. Scottish distinctiveness within the United Kingdom continues to find expression through law and education and more emotively through civic patriotism, broadcasting, organised sports and army regiments. In contrast to regressive variants based on race, religion or language, nationalism in Scotland is inclusive, peaceful and progressive. It welcomes migration from the former Empire as from the European Union (EU) which has offered a wider context for the free movement of people, goods and ideas than the United Kingdom. The rise of Scottish nationalism has coincided with decolonisation, the discovery of North Sea Oil and growing disillusionment with centralised decision making in London since 1945. The creation of a Scottish Parliament in 1999 adjusted rather than dismantled the United Kingdom as a unitary state: a limited measure of home rule does not equate to independence.
Allan I. Macinnes

7. 1999–2018: The Road to Independence?

Abstract
The creation of a Scottish Parliament in 1999 instigated a process of devolution that has provided an innovative measure of home rule. Devolution remains a process that is shaped as much by forces beyond as within Scotland. Labour under Prime Minister Tony Blair, educated privately in Edinburgh, established a cross-party consensus in favour of the privatisation policies initiated by Margaret Thatcher. He and his Chancellor of Exchequer, Gordon Brown from Fife, vastly extended the public finance initiative begun under the Conservatives, to construct schools, hospitals and other public buildings. Rather than charge these buildings to the public accounts, they were built and maintained by private contractors at rates of interest extortable for up to 40 years from local authorities. Unlike Thatcher, Blair and Brown made serious efforts to improve welfare services, particularly to lift children out of poverty. But like Thatcher, Blair was given to foreign adventuring. Ever in thrall to the United States, Blair committed British forces to military engagements in Kosovo (1999), in Afghanistan (2001–14) and in Iraq (2003–09), where regime change put him on the margins of international law.
Allan I. Macinnes
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