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Chapter 6 - The Sense of the Nation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 December 2020

Karin Bowie
Affiliation:
University of Glasgow
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Summary

Capturing the cumulative effect of the innovative modes of engagement outlined in previous chapters, this chapter examines a term for Scottish public opinion that had become current by the end of the seventeenth century: the sense of the nation. This phrase (and its variants, the sentiments or mind of the nation) suggested the thoughtful conclusions of a national political community. Attention was drawn to these extra-institutional opinions by changes arising from the 1688-90 Revolution, including greater freedom of debate in parliament, the confirmation of a right to petition the crown and weaker monarchical oversight of Scottish politics from London. As a series of scandals created discontent in Scotland, a ‘Country’ opposition re-energised adversarial petitioning alongside political pamphleteering. In 1706-7, opponents of proposals for an incorporating Anglo–Scottish union asserted collective objections in petitions, pamphlets, speeches and street protests, securing some treaty amendments alongside measures to safeguard parliament from violent resistance. Though the stature of extra-institutional opinion was still contested, these efforts to defuse its force indicate its contemporary profile in Scottish political culture.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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  • The Sense of the Nation
  • Karin Bowie, University of Glasgow
  • Book: Public Opinion in Early Modern Scotland, c.1560–1707
  • Online publication: 21 December 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108918787.007
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  • The Sense of the Nation
  • Karin Bowie, University of Glasgow
  • Book: Public Opinion in Early Modern Scotland, c.1560–1707
  • Online publication: 21 December 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108918787.007
Available formats
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To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • The Sense of the Nation
  • Karin Bowie, University of Glasgow
  • Book: Public Opinion in Early Modern Scotland, c.1560–1707
  • Online publication: 21 December 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108918787.007
Available formats
×