Debating Britain in seventeenth-century Scotland: multiple monarchy and Scottish sovereignty

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This article deploys the concept of multiple monarchy as a means of reassessing the constitutional relationship between Scotland and England from the union of the crowns in 1603 to the union of parliaments in 1707. It argues that the Scots’ belief in their kingdom’s historic independence, symbolised by the Stuart dynasty itself, led them to conceive of the union with England as one of equals, but that such parity of status and esteem was rendered unsustainable by inequalities of population and resources that became more marked as the century progressed. Reviewing the implications of a century of religious and constitutional upheaval, it argues that the Revolution of 1689-90 created an unworkable constitutional settlement founded on the sovereignty of the crown in two parliaments rather than one and that this was resolved in 1707 by the creation of a unitary British state, built on the illusion of equality and partnership, but enshrining English dominance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-24
JournalJournal of Scottish Historical Studies
Issue number1
Early online date1 Apr 2015
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015


  • Multiple monarchy
  • Britain
  • Scotland
  • Union
  • Sovereignty
  • Seventeenth century
  • Constitutionalism


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