The Challenge of Radicalism to 1832

Gordon Pentland

in The Oxford Handbook of Modern Scottish History

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199563692
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History

The Challenge of Radicalism to 1832


Principally, Scottish historians have been concerned with three groups of questions. First, they have been exercised by the question of class: to what extent were popular politics, and radicalism in particular, a reflection of Scotland's experiences of industrialization and demographic expansion across this period; and how far do they provide a key to the exploration of class formation and inter-class relations? A second and related set of questions revolves around the issue of ‘stability’: was Scotland relatively more stable a society across this period, especially in comparison to England and Ireland; and, if so, what factors would explain this? A final set of questions runs throughout modern Scottish historiography: what do the politics of the period reveal about the relationship between England and Scotland, and the position of Scotland within the imperial state? This article examines the ‘Age of Reform’ along the line provided by the Napoleonic Wars and suggests what was distinctive about popular political developments in Scotland in each of these periods.

Keywords: Scotland; radicalism; historiography; politics; class; England; Age of Reform; Napoleonic Wars; industrialization; society

Article.  8394 words. 

Subjects: History ; British History

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