Prehistories (1290–1690, 1300–1782)

Alvin Jackson

in The Two Unions

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199593996
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731419 | DOI:
Prehistories (1290–1690, 1300–1782)

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This chapter explores the origins and meaning of ‘union’ within both a Scottish and Irish context. For both the Scots and the Irish, notions of union were tied to English dynastic and military ambition, whether in terms of the Geraldine Rebellion, the ‘Rough Wooing’, the Cromwellian project, or the continental wars of the 18th century. For both the Scots in the 17th century and for the Irish in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, the possibility of union had otherwise been smothered by English scepticism and opposition. Notions of union for both the Scots and Irish were shaped in quite different ways by their shared but distinctive experience of national parliaments. On the other hand, each parliament and political elite, Scots and Irish, was treated with a measure of disregard by English parliamentarians, conscious of their own historic, cultural, military, and economic pre-eminence, and suspicious of the apparently one-sided benefits of any possible union.

Keywords: unions; Scotland; Ireland; military ambition; national parliaments; England

Chapter.  11213 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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