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-Ian McKay

adopt an English political and economic identity.57 The elites rejected the Scottish political and economic institutions and values for having failed them, and instead adopted a English identity. Yet at the same time they held on intensely to their Scottish cultural, linguistic, and religious identity.58


It is easy to overemphasize the feelings of self-doubt in the national psyche, because it provides a convenient reason for why Scotland accepted union. But if one is looking for the causes of union they would be better served by looking at other parts of the larger picture such as the political and economic factors. Self-doubt was eclipsed by feelings of national pride in most of Scotland. This era was characterized far more by a fierce sense of nationhood, as the failures sparked a sense of defiance more than a sense of downfall. The facts bear this out as much of Scotland's institutions, such as the justice system and education system, remained unique to Scotland under the political union. It seems unlikely such governance would stay in Scottish hands if Scotland had whole-heartedly accepted the English political and economic identity.


Union remained very unpopular in Scotland for several years after 1707. In fact the British Parliament, dominated of course by representation from a more populous England, came within four votes of repealing union in 1713 because the Scots remained so adverse to the idea.59 It was not until Scotland began to prosper, several decades after union that the idea became more popular. As for most Scots in the years 1688 to 1707, union was an unquestionably catastrophic idea.

57. Kidd, The Historical Journal, 359.
58. Ibid.
59. Pittock, Scottish Nationality, 53.