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Remembering the Past in Nineteenth-Century Scotland

Commemoration, Nationality and Memory

James Coleman

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Exposes ever-changing attitudes to Scotland’s national heroes, from Wallace the unionist paragon to Knox the national hero

At a time when the Union between Scotland and England is once again under the spotlight, Remembering the Past in Nineteenth-Century Scotland examines the way in which Scotland’s national heroes were once remembered as champions of both Scottish and British patriotism.

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Introduction: The Valley Cemetery
Chapter 1: Nationality, Memory and Commemoration
Chapter 2: Scottish Nationality in the Nineteenth Century
Chapter 3: ‘Not Servile and Conquered, but Free and Independent’: Commemorating William Wallace and Robert the Bruce
Chapter 4: ‘The Highest Position in the Civilised World’: Commemorating John Knox and the Second Reformation
Chapter 5: ‘If They Were Rebels Then, We Are Rebels Now’: Commemorating the Covenanters and the Glorious Revolution
Chapter 6: ‘By the imprudence of his ancestors’: Commemorating Jacobitism and Mary Queen of Scots
Chapter 7: ‘Staunch Loyalty to the Flag that Stands for Union’

About the Author

James Coleman is a freelance historian, he is currently based at the University of Glasgow.


A salutary warning to today’s politicians and pundits. Even the recent past is too slippery to be invoked convincingly by either side in the referendum debate. Nineteenth-century Scots constructed a national mythology in which the ecclesiastical trumped the political, and where unionism and nationalism were complacently conjoined.

- Colin Kidd, University of St Andrews
'Coleman goes beyond a traditional historiographical study and lets the reader gain a remarkable insight into the cultural and ideological assumptions that lay at the heart of Victorian society in Scotland. It is a lively and well-written account that manages to avoid some of the dryer and dustier overtones that traditionally hangs over Victorian history and never fails to engage the reader’s imagination.'
- Richard J. Finlay, University of Strathclyde, Innes Review

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