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The Scots and the Union

Then and Now

Christopher A Whatley

Edition: 2

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The cornerstone text on the Union between Scotland and England, brought up-to-date in the face of debates on present-day independence

This book traces the background to the Treaty of Union of 1707, explains why it happened and assesses its impact on Scottish society, including the bitter struggle with the Jacobites for acceptance of the union in the two decades that followed its inauguration. The first edition was radical in reinterpreting the causes of union, rejecting the widely held notion that the Scots were bought and sold for English gold and instead placing emphasis on the international, dynastic and religious contexts of the union negotiations.

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Note on style and abbreviations
Introduction: contrasting and changing receptions of the union of 1707
1. Issues, debates and aims
2. Scotland under the union of the crowns to the Revolution of 1688–9: searching for the roots of union
3. Roots of union: ambition and achievement and the aftermath of the Revolution
4. The 1690s: a nation in crisis
5.‘The most neglected if not opprest State in Europe’? Confrontations 
and the search for compromise, 1700–5
6. Digging Scotland out: Parliament and the reconstruction of the pathway towards union, 1705–6
7. Paving the way: the union commissioners and the hearts and minds of the people
8. ‘An affair of the greatest concern and import’: the union Parliament and the Scottish nation
9. Union in the balance, union accomplished
10. Union now
Select Bibliography

About the Author

Christopher Whatley is Professor of Scottish History at the University of Dundee where until recently he was also a Vice Principal and Head of the College of Arts and Social Sciences. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.


An important and finely argued book. Everyone who seriously wants to understand how and why modern Scotland came into being should read it.

- T. C. Smout, Historiographer Royal in Scotland

Chris Whatley has changed the terms of debate on the making of the Union. Updated to take account of the forthcoming referendum on independence, Whatley’s classic is a vital corrective to the enduring myths associated with 1707.

- Colin Kidd, University of St Andrews

A masterly study, distinguished by painstaking research, broad and deep contextualisation, careful analysis and pellucid argument.

- Alvin Jackson, University of Edinburgh

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