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Scotland and Arbroath 1320 – 2020

700 Years of Fighting for Freedom, Sovereignty, and Independence

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Edited By Klaus Peter Müller

700 years of people in Scotland, England, Europe, and the world fighting for freedom, sovereignty, independence and justice are investigated in the essential periods and cultures since the 1320 Declaration of Arbroath: the Middle Ages, the Reformation and Early Modern Age, the English Revolution, the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution, the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. Cultural, media, political, and social studies, history, the law, art, philosophy, and literature are used for an analysis of the evolution of human rights, democracy, freedom, individual as well as national independence and justice in connection with past and present threats to them. Threats from politics, the economy, digitalisation, artificial intelligence, people's ignorance.

 

With contributions by Alasdair Allan MSP, Christopher J. Berry, Neil Blain, Alexander Broadie FRSE, Dauvit Broun, Mark P. Bruce, Ewen A. Cameron, Robert Crawford, Ian Duncan, Richard J. Finlay, David Forrest, Edouard Gaudot, Marjory Harper, Sarah Longlands, Ben McConville, David McCrone, Aileen McHarg, John Morrison, Klaus Peter Müller, Hugh O’Donnell, Murray Pittock, Anthony Salamone, David R. Sorensen, Silke Stroh, Christopher A. Whatley and Ben Wray.

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The Declaration of Arbroath in Scottish Political Thought, 1689–1789 (Murray Pittock (Glasgow))

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Murray Pittock (Glasgow)

The Declaration of Arbroath in Scottish Political Thought, 1689–1789

Abstract: The Declaration of Arbroath is a groundbreaking historic document of international significance in Scotland’s history. This essay examines the nature of its role in Scottish political thought in the century after its first publication in English in 1689, focusing on the Declaration’s use by Whigs and Jacobites alike and the resonance its allusions to the politics of ancient Rome had for its interpreters.

Keywords: Arbroath; Whigs; history; Jacobitism; ancient Rome; nationalism; Claim of Right; elective monarchy; republicanism

The Declaration of Arbroath is a groundbreaking historic document of international significance in Scotland’s history, but the question that significance often faces is how true has that been throughout that history, or is the Declaration rather a convenient revisitation of a mediaeval document by a more contemporary generation of Scottish nationalism? Certainly the relatively limited contemporary historical literature on the Declaration suggests a degree of embarrassment with its contemporary politicisation, while even in the Scottish Parliament, with a majority of MSPs committed to end the Union, Alasdair Allan’s recent motion supportive of the 700th anniversary celebrations of the Declaration received only fourteen signatures in support.1 The platform party of the great and the good who attended Arbroath Abbey for the commemoration of the 600th anniversary of the Declaration in 1920 did not share these difficulties: for them, Arbroath was very much a document of the past. Like Scottish history itself, it...

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