From the Wars of Independence and the exploits of William Wallace (and even before) to the debates about the Act of Union and the fierce opposition of Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun, it is needless to say that Scottish and English histories have been most closely linked. Though, their relationship, most confrontational for several centuries, had hardly ever been so close as from the time James VI of Scotland succeeded Elisabeth I on the throne of England onwards, or even more obviously from the time of the Union of Parliaments in 1707. Indeed, within a single century (1603-1707) Scotland lost both her distinct King and Parliament in an institutional and political union with her powerful southern neighbour. In this particular context, how could such a significant shift in the course of its history not affect the conscience Scottish society had of itself ? Far from experiencing an identity crisis, most eighteenth-century Scots positively welcomed the Anglicization of their institutions. Once the terms of the discussion have been laid down, it appears at first sight that the interrogation which stands behind this statement is twofold, the main two questions emerging being : Can we really talk about a crisis of identity to characterize best the state of post-Union Scottish society ? Did the latter accept with open arms the Anglicization of its own native institutions ? Make an attempt at answering such questions is a delicate yet crucial task for whoever wants to understand eighteenth-century Scotland in all its complexity. Indeed, from the second half of the XVIIth century onwards, the Northern Kingdom experienced a series of such tremendous changes on the political, social, economic as well as cultural levels that a reflection on the existence of an identity crisis within the Scottish people in that period is worth a try. Similarly, and in order to go further into the analysis, one must wonder how the Scots did react to their integration into what was from then on called Great Britain, and above all how they lived through the almost inevitable movement of Anglicization which deeply marked Scottish life throughout the XVIIIth century. It seems obvious to say that these two interrogations are highly interwoven. In the last analysis, these two questions merge to form the key-question which stands out as the ultimate one : did a brand new Scottish identity emerge within Great Britain in the course of the XVIIIth century ?
[...] In this particular context, how could such a significant shift in the course of its history not affect the conscience Scottish society had of itself? from experiencing an identity crisis, most eighteenth-century Scots positively welcomed the Anglicization of their institutions”. Once the terms of the discussion have been laid down, it appears at first sight that the interrogation which stands behind this statement is twofold, the main two questions emerging being: Can we really talk about a crisis of identity to characterize best the state of post-Union Scottish society ? Did the latter accept with open arms the Anglicization of its own native institutions? [...]
[...] In that period, the eloquence of a figure like Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun did play a great part in this condemnation of the Union in the first years of the XVIIIth century. After the abolition of the Scottish Parliament in 1707 came the turn of the Scottish Privy Council, i.e the Chief Executive organ of Government in Scotland, to be suppressed in 1708: it was to have significant consequences for it weakened the ability of the Government to react effectively in a context of permanent Jacobite threat (rebellions of 1708 and 1715). [...]
[...] Smout points it out. In order to deal with this problem, the “Select Society” proposed to import qualified English elocution teachers to provide instruction the ultimate goal of such an approach was the ironing out of the barbarous Scotticisms, as they called it, that might have betrayed a provincial origin. What was at stake for these upper and middle class Scots is crystal clear: it deals with the lucrative career opportunities the integration of Scotland into Great Britain and its vast Empire had brought. [...]
[...] Smout finally suggests, they were rather of the “concentric loyalty” type, the one put forward by Anthony Smith: most Scots were at the same time loyal to and proud of their own ethnic community but also loyal and attached to the new state in which they had been incorporated, i.e Great Britain. References T.C. Smout, A History of the Scottish People 1560-1830, Fontana T.M. Devine, The Scottish Nation 1700-2000, Penguin T.M. Devine, The Scottish Nation 1700-2000, Penguin Rosalind Mitchinson is quoted in T.M. Devine, The Scottish Nation 1700- 2000, Penguin T.M. Devine, The Scottish Nation 1700-2000, Penguin T.M. [...]
[...] The backwardness which characterized Scottish agriculture for instance was a major concern in eighteenth-century Scotland. The new philosophical ideas which emerged at that time legitimized the fact that England, seen as a “more opulent and perhaps more mature sister kingdom was the next step in the necessary evolution of Scottish society. In the same way, historical scholars such as William Robertson began to denigrate the Scottish past before the Glorious Revolution of 1688-9 as barbarian “feudal darkness and anarchy as well as on the economic level, England was considered as the example Scotland had to follow as far as history and politics were concerned. [...]
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