1707 – The Act Of Union

Articles of Union 1707

Articles of Union 1707

The crowns of Scotland and England had become one in 1603 and Cromwell had tried to bind the countries’ political systems together fifty years later, but Scotland still wanted to govern its own religious, financial and political affairs.

The eighteenth century began for Scotland with financial ruin following the disastrous failure of the Darien Venture. Although England conspired towards its failure, it appeared to many that Scotland had little hope of successful international trade without England anyway. In London the English Parliament passed the Act of Succession. This offered Britain’s throne to the Hanovarians, declared war on France and chose who would be Scotland’s commissioners in Union treaties, all without proper consultation or representation of the Scottish Parliament.

When Scotland rejected English rulings further financial pressures were applied, and when compensation for shareholders hurt by the Darien collapse was offered in return for accepting Parliamentary Union, treaties began to be drawn up. To the powerful who would gain this was talked of as finance due to the country, but for the ordinary people this was simple political bribery to purchase their independence.

John Campbell, 2nd Duke of Argyll and James Douglas, 2nd Duke of Queensberry represented the government and manipulated parliamentary debates into an environment of Member’s personal interests.

The Union was agreed and the commissioners for Scotland chosen by the Queen. The resulting treaty of twenty five articles retained the independence of Scotland’s legal and religious systems, while systems of coinage, taxation, sovereignty, trade, parliament and flag would become one.

The first article was accepted in Edinburgh in November 1706 and the last in January 1707.

Scotland’s Parliament was dissolved in the April and independence was over.

The Union began in May 1707.

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