The common perception of the Anglo-Scottish Union of 1707 as a "political job", stitched up by a corrupt Scottish elite behind closed doors, is robustly challenged in this study, which shows how public debate and the mobilisation of popular opinion shaped the union crisis from beginning to end.
It considers how the Country party sought to influence political outcomes by aggressively encouraging the public expression of oppositional opinion in pamphlets, petitions and crowds, from the Darien crisis of 1699-1701 to the parliamentary debates on incorporation in 1706-7.
It also examines the government's changing response to these adversarial activities and its growing acceptance of the need to court Scottish public opinion.
This book explores the meaning, legitimacy and power of public opinion in early modern politics and revises our understanding of how an incorporating British union came to be made in 1707.
It is a significant contribution to the political, social and cultural history of a period and an event that remains contentious to this day. Dr KARIN BOWIE lectures in History at the University of Glasgow.