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The Scots and the Union Paperback – 11 Jul 2007


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Product details

  • Paperback: 440 pages
  • Publisher: Edinburgh University Press (11 July 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0748634703
  • ISBN-13: 978-0748634705
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 2.5 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 704,122 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

Whatley's careful research, spliced with fascinating detail, reveals the sophisticated politics used by these Scots and reclaims them as patriots. It is a magnificent study of the politics of the time ! Whatley has done the history of the period a great service. -- Ruaridh Nicoll The publication of this book marks an important historiographical development for a mature understanding and appreciation of the events and issues relating to the 1707 union. It can now be regarded as the leading work on 1707 ! Whatley's book should be compulsory reading for all MSPs and media commentators, irrespective of their own political party allegiances and viewpoints, and for anyone who has an interest in Scottish history. -- John R. Young The Scots and the Union is the most substantial work of scholarship in modern Scottish history published in the last decade. -- Colin Kidd The book's careful weighing of the evidence, standing back and thinking about the silences and the biases of the past, pays dividends. The Scots and the Union offers the most complete and nuanced account of the state of the Scottish economy in the period between the Revolution of 1688 and the Union of 1707 ! -- John Morrill FBA This remarkable and deeply researched book. -- Will Podmore Tribune Never before has the theory, [bought and sold for English gold] been subjected to such a barrage of scholarly artillery. -- Davie Laing Perspectives - the magazine of Scotland's Democratic Left Not a quick read, but a magnificently worthwhile one. The Herald Agree or disagree, this book is an important contribution to an ongoing debate. -- Ronnie McOwan The Scots Magazine It is an impressive achievement, which sets the agenda for discussions of the Union then, and the Union now -- Iain Maclean, University of Oxford Scottish Historical Review With this volume, Whatley has achieved an important revision of what has been, for too long, an unsatisfactory, politically motivated account... Whatley's conclusions are derived from meticulous scholarship and should reset the historiography of Scotland and Great Britain regardless of its political implications. -- Alan H. Singer, Honors College, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee H-Net Whatley's careful research, spliced with fascinating detail, reveals the sophisticated politics used by these Scots and reclaims them as patriots. It is a magnificent study of the politics of the time ! Whatley has done the history of the period a great service. The publication of this book marks an important historiographical development for a mature understanding and appreciation of the events and issues relating to the 1707 union. It can now be regarded as the leading work on 1707 ! Whatley's book should be compulsory reading for all MSPs and media commentators, irrespective of their own political party allegiances and viewpoints, and for anyone who has an interest in Scottish history. The Scots and the Union is the most substantial work of scholarship in modern Scottish history published in the last decade. The book's careful weighing of the evidence, standing back and thinking about the silences and the biases of the past, pays dividends. The Scots and the Union offers the most complete and nuanced account of the state of the Scottish economy in the period between the Revolution of 1688 and the Union of 1707 ! This remarkable and deeply researched book. Never before has the theory, [bought and sold for English gold] been subjected to such a barrage of scholarly artillery. Not a quick read, but a magnificently worthwhile one. Agree or disagree, this book is an important contribution to an ongoing debate. It is an impressive achievement, which sets the agenda for discussions of the Union then, and the Union now With this volume, Whatley has achieved an important revision of what has been, for too long, an unsatisfactory, politically motivated account... Whatley's conclusions are derived from meticulous scholarship and should reset the historiography of Scotland and Great Britain regardless of its political implications.

About the Author

Christopher A. Whatley is Professor of Scottish History, Vice-Principal and Head of the College of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Dundee. A Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, he is currently co-editor of the four-volume History of Everyday Life in Scotland series (to be published by Edinburgh University Press).

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First Sentence
What should have become clear already is how much the union mattered to contemporaries, notwithstanding the sharp contrast in the way it was received north and south of the border in 1707. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Samuel Romilly on 27 Sept. 2014
Format: Paperback
This is easily the best as well as the definitive account of the Union and its aftermath. This new edition is timely as the Scots (and I am one but outrageously disenfranchised as I live in England) are to embark on a make or break referendum which could easily relegate us to the status of poor relation if that. The Union was seen as a good and even inevitable thing by many and has proved itself a magnificent achievement over the years. Scotland has benefited from it enormously, but will quite likely throw it all away in rush of naïve nationalism.

While very much an academic tome it is well-written and easily comprehensible. It is certainly comprehensive as well as being nuanced. It is not a partisan work, nor was it written as part of the 'No' campaign.Its power is in its persuasiveness, its cool scholarship, its independence of mind. You are brought by the weight of its scholarship and its nuanced approach irresistibly to agree with its conclusion. The union began as a marriage of mutual convenience and became an intimate relationship.

This deeply researched work destroys the myth-making of the nationalists, whose concept of history induces them to consider Braveheart not only accurate history but a great film, when in fact it is tosh in both regards. Most of all the old lie of 'Scotland bought and sold for English gold' is demolished. Anyone pontificating on the Union must read this book or not be taken seriously. The fact that Alec Salmond denounced the first edition (almost certainly without reading it - riposte Mr Salmond?) is commendation enough for me. Attack its historical scholarship if you can, but do not denounce what you have not read. Even if he had read it, he could disagree with it argument (though I suspect not refute it) but should not denounce it as though it were hollow propaganda.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By William Podmore on 3 Oct. 2007
Format: Paperback
In this remarkable, deeply-researched book, Christopher Whatley and Derek Patrick, of the University of Dundee, try to understand why the majority of members of the Scottish Parliament voted for union in 1706-7. To do so, they constructed a database, derived from years of research into primary sources, of each member of the Scottish Parliament from 1689 to 1707. "This identified a remarkable, and hitherto unnoticed, degree of consistency, and persistence in search of a union that would serve to secure certain political principles articulated during the years - sometimes spent in exile - that culminated in the Revolution."

The economic arguments for union were strong. As they write, "the English commissioners conceded the Scots' request that in return for agreeing to incorporation and the adoption of a single British Parliament, and to the Hanoverian succession, they should have `full freedom and intercourse of Trade and Navigation within the ... United Kingdom and Plantations thereunto belonging'. This was the `secret' of the union."

Before the union, manufacturing was weak, agriculture backward and trade scanty, all restricted by the stifling effects of mercantilism. By insisting that the union should work to the advantage of Scotland, the Scottish Parliament provided Scots with opportunities for personal and national achievement.

But there were other good reasons for union. Many lay Presbyterians in Scotland urged their countrymen to support the union to unite Britain against the threats of the allied absolutist monarchies of Catholic France and the deposed Stuarts. "In Scotland, no less than England, political liberties were at stake." Englishmen, Welshmen and Scots united against `Popish Bigotry and French Tyranny'.
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6 of 12 people found the following review helpful By B. Fenning on 5 Dec. 2010
Format: Paperback
Now, to be fair this is a beefy book. If you're a history student and need a resource on Union, this charts the major events and will give you all the background knowledge you'll need. It's pretty comprehensive. It does, however, suffer from two main issues. The first is that Whatley (in line with his other books) has his mind made up regarding what took place and tries to fit his shakey arguments around it. It's the usual Unionist establishment position you've read a million times before with very little persuasion or - and here comes the second issue - style. The book is an alright reference book, but that's about it. Outside of academia, if you're looking for the Union story to be told with any passion or intrigue, avoid this book as there are far better books out there.
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mattew O'Connor on 14 Dec. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Not finished the book yet. This is a book to keep dipping into but I have learned a lot about history I am glad to of bought this book
as it is one book I will keep worth the money
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 1 review
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Superb account of the making of the Act of Union 3 Oct. 2007
By William Podmore - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In this remarkable, deeply-researched book, Christopher Whatley and Derek Patrick, of the University of Dundee, try to understand why the majority of members of the Scottish Parliament voted for union in 1706-7. To do so, they constructed a database, derived from years of research into primary sources, of each member of the Scottish Parliament from 1689 to 1707. "This identified a remarkable, and hitherto unnoticed, degree of consistency, and persistence in search of a union that would serve to secure certain political principles articulated during the years - sometimes spent in exile - that culminated in the Revolution."

The economic arguments for union were strong. As they write, "the English commissioners conceded the Scots' request that in return for agreeing to incorporation and the adoption of a single British Parliament, and to the Hanoverian succession, they should have `full freedom and intercourse of Trade and Navigation within the ... United Kingdom and Plantations thereunto belonging'. This was the `secret' of the union."

Before the union, manufacturing was weak, agriculture backward and trade scanty, all restricted by the stifling effects of mercantilism. By insisting that the union should work to the advantage of Scotland, the Scottish Parliament provided Scots with opportunities for personal and national achievement.

But there were other good reasons for union. Many lay Presbyterians in Scotland urged their countrymen to support the union to unite Britain against the threats of the allied absolutist monarchies of Catholic France and the deposed Stuarts. "In Scotland, no less than England, political liberties were at stake." Englishmen, Welshmen and Scots united against `Popish Bigotry and French Tyranny'. Pope Innocent XII had prayed for a Stuart restoration. Britain was at war with France from 1701 to 1713.

In 1706, King Louis XIV of France sent funds "to brib our Parliament ... as to hinder the two nations from being united." As an English MP warned, without union, "You will always find a Popish Pretender intriguing amongst you ... Embarrassing your Affairs ... Jumbling you into Confusion [to] open a door to his own designes upon you." There was a failed French invasion in 1708. After the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht, the pretender James Stuart signed a secret treaty with Philip V of Spain in which he agreed to restore the Catholic Church in Britain.

Whatley and Patrick's research refutes the simplistic and insulting view that "the Scots were bought and sold for English gold."
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