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Jacobitism


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Was a series of political movements which supported the restoration of the exiled house of Stuart after James II had been ousted from the throne at the Glorious Revolution in 1688 and had fled to France. Jacobites continued to support the claims to the throne of James's son James Francis Edward Stuart (the Old Pretender or ‘James III’) and his two grandsons Charles Edward Stuart (the Young Pretender or ‘Charles III’) and Henry Stuart (the cardinal duke of York or ‘Henry IX’).

Jacobitism had a religious, as well as a political, dimension. James II and his son and grandsons were catholics, whose refusal to convert to protestantism made their restoration virtually impossible other than by armed invasion. However, most of their supporters were protestants, and a great many were non‐jurors, who had refused the oaths of loyalty to William and Mary, and consequently had lost their secular or religious offices. In Scotland, where Jacobitism was strongest, the episcopalian church had been disestablished at the Glorious Revolution, and subsequently many episcopalians became Jacobites. Jacobitism in Scotland also became a refuge for many who opposed the Union with England in 1707.

That Scotland was central to Jacobitism is shown by the two main risings which took place in 1715 and 1745. Many Highland chiefs and clansmen, who did battle for the Stuart cause, paid for their loyalty with their lives. Few English Jacobites came out in support of either rebellion. Jacobitism was largely crushed as a political force after the retreat from Derby by the forces of the Young Pretender and the defeat at Culloden in 1746. Thereafter the romantic and cultural aspect of the movement, which had always been a potent factor in attracting supporters, became dominant.

Subjects: British History.


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