Discovering the Scottish Revolution 1692-1746 by Neil Davidson

By Neil Davidson

This significant new paintings of ancient scholarship deals a groundbreaking reassessment of Scottish politics and society within the overdue 17th and early eighteenth century that's set to develop into a customary paintings at the topic. Neil Davidson argues that Scotland skilled a revolution in this interval that has hardly ever been known within the current historiography. Davidson explores the political and financial adjustments of those years, revealing how social and monetary strength used to be transferred from one type to a different. He describes how Scotland was once remodeled from a backward and feudal financial system to a brand new centre of emergent capitalism. He strains the industrial and social concern that ended in Scotland's incorporation into the Union in 1707, yet argues that the Union didn't bring about the transformation of Scottish society. The decisive interval was once as an alternative the aftermath of the final Jacobite riot in 1746, whose failure used to be essential to the survival and consolidation of British, and finally worldwide capitalism. 'His critiques are guaranteed to reason controversy and dialogue . . . an excellent factor as Scottish heritage desperately wishes the displaying and voicing of recent approaches.' John R younger, Albion. 'What is so stable approximately Neil Davidson's courageous learn is that he brings a Marxist point of view to undergo on Scottish historical past in very transparent and readable prose. Quotations and statistics drawn from uncannily large studying will make this publication of significant worth even to people who disagree with it.' Angus Calder, writer of progressive Empire and Revolving tradition: Notes from the Scottish Republic

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Large parts of the area were pastoral, and because of the impossibility of self-sufficiency in these areas, rents were typically paid in cash raised from the sale of cattle and sheep in the markets of the east. On the Hamilton estates in Clydesdale the price of essential items of food had increased between 9 and 10 times in the 100 years preceding the Battle of Mauchline Moor in 1648. In the arable east, where rents tended to be paid in kind, they rose as prices rose, relatively steadily through the great inflation of the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.

27 It might be objected that this is a literary invention, and one written 140 years before the opening of our period at that. ’28 By the late seventeenth century some commentators had begun to analyse the dilemmas of the tenants and those below them. Two writers in particular, Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun and Sir William Seton of Pitmedden, despite taking very different positions over the Union of 1707, came to virtually identical conclusions on this question. Fletcher was himself a baronial laird and consequently a lesser member of the ruling class.

The rural population below the ruling class can be usefully, if inadequately, described as the Scottish peasantry. The most independent were a group, without jurisdictions or separate legal status, who have come to be known, after Sir Walter Scott, as the bonnet lairds. They farmed the land themselves with their servants and SCOTLAND IN THE LATE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY 23 families, and were often little better off than the tenant farmers who stood directly below them in the social structure. What distinguished the bonnet lairds was that they held their land, either directly or indirectly from the Crown, under a distinct form of tenure known as feuferme.

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