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Scotland and Arbroath 1320 – 2020

700 Years of Fighting for Freedom, Sovereignty, and Independence


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 and Scottish Nationalist Constitutional Thought in the Twentieth Century (Richard J. Finlay (Strathclyde))


Richard J. Finlay (Strathclyde)

The Declaration of Arbroath and Scottish Nationalist Constitutional Thought in the Twentieth Century

Abstract: This chapter discusses the constitutional arguments used by Scottish nationalists in the 20th century. It covers the Declaration of Arbroath, the Scottish Conventions and the Treaty of Union in the construction of the idea of popular sovereignty as a means to counter the idea of the sovereignty of Westminster.

Keywords: History; Arbroath; Scotland; nationalism; constitution; independence; freedom; parliament; home rule; politics; sovereignty; people; state; England; contract; kingship; authority; Presbyterianism; Unionism; resistance; Covenant; SNP

The purpose of this chapter is to examine the ways that the Declaration of Arbroath has been used in the development of Scottish nationalist constitutional thought. At the outset it should be stated that what is meant by Scottish nationalist is someone who is committed to the re-adoption of Scottish statehood or independence. Having said that, in the days before the advent of the reopening of the Scottish parliament there had been an overlap between nationalists and those who might be described as home rulers. This is because they believed that having created a Scottish parliament, it would be up to the Scottish people as to whether devolution should then lead to independence and many argued that a devolved parliament was that first step on the road towards independence. One of the central claims to be made in Scottish politics regarding the constitutional question is the notion that sovereignty lies with...

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