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Scotland in Revolution, 1685–1690

Alasdair Raffe

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Explores the transformative reign of the Catholic King James VII and the revolution that brought about his fall

This illuminating book looks beyond the capital and political elites to examine religious and political change in communities across Scotland during a transformative period of the nation’s history. Providing a clear narrative of the period, the book draws on a wide range of sources to examine the relationship between central power and the Scottish localities, and to provide a thematic analysis of political and religious developments. James VII was a radically experimental ruler, who granted unprecedented religious toleration and intervened systematically in urban government. Here the sovereign’s reign is examined in the context of British and European developments, and in the light of current historical debates.

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List of Illustrations
Abbreviations and Conventions
Map: The Royal Burghs of Scotland in 1685
Introduction: Scotland in Revolution, 1685–1690
1. King James’s Scotland
2. James’s Religious Experiment 
3. Multiconfessional Scotland
4. James and the Royal Burghs
5. The Revolution in the Localities
6. The Revolution Settlement of 1688–1690
Conclusion: Revolutions, Settlements and Scotland’s Political Development
Notes on the Sources

About the Author

Alasdair Raffe is a Chancellor's Fellow in History at the University of Edinburgh. His research focuses on religion, politics and ideas in early modern Scotland, in particular the emergence of religious, intellectual and political pluralism in the 17th and 18th centuries. He is the author of The Culture of Controversy: Religious Arguments in Scotland, 1660-1714 (2012).


This deeply researched study sheds important new light on the reign of James VII in Scotland and the subsequent ‘Glorious Revolution’. The particular strength of this book lies in its extensive use of local records. Yet while this study takes us into the localities, it never loses sight of the central, important issues. This is a very impressive piece of scholarship.

- Tim Harris, Brown University
'Building on his earlier scholarship, Raffe here examines the brief but momentous reign of James VII of Scotland, from his accession to the throne in 1685 through the Glorious Revolution, which deposed him, and the subsequent revolution settlement of 1689–1690 . . . Through his extensive use of local church and municipal records, Raffe provides valuable insights into how events played out at the regional and local levels. An excellent contribution to a greater understanding of this important transitional period in both Scottish and British history.'
- R. P. Nash, University of Nebraska at Omaha, CHOICE

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