Why was there no revolution in Scotland at the time of the French Revolution?

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  • Created on: 04-12-14 11:27
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  • Why did a revolution not happen in Scotland during the French Revolution?
    • POLITICAL
      • In a sense the ancien regime being attacked in France had already been destroyed in France
        • The Glorious Revolution in 1688-9 had destroyed the monarchy and left in its place a partnership between a constitutional monarch and the landowners
          • The resilience of the Scottish state therefore rested upon the power of the landowners. While they did come under attack by the radicals, it was unsuccessful as the landowners were at the zenith of their authority and power in Scotland in the eighteenth century.
            • The drastic alterations which took place in the Lowlands were met with only sporadic and isolated protest - demonstrates power of the landowners is widely accepted
              • The Union of 1707 did not threaten their power as it allowed for semi-independence. Furthermore, the decisive defeat of Jacobitism in 1745 meant there would be no threat of a return to absolute monarchy.
                • The emergence of political dominance of the Moderates in the church meant that the church's authority would not threaten the hegemony of the aristocrats as it had done a century before.
                  • The new published work during the Enlightenment helped to give a new intellectual credibility to the system of governance. All of the political thinkers in Scotland were conservative and supported the established order where as the philosophical thinkers in France supported the revolutionary fervour.
          • POLITICAL
            • In a sense the ancien regime being attacked in France had already been destroyed in France
              • The Glorious Revolution in 1688-9 had destroyed the monarchy and left in its place a partnership between a constitutional monarch and the landowners
                • The resilience of the Scottish state therefore rested upon the power of the landowners. While they did come under attack by the radicals, it was unsuccessful as the landowners were at the zenith of their authority and power in Scotland in the eighteenth century.
                  • The drastic alterations which took place in the Lowlands were met with only sporadic and isolated protest - demonstrates power of the landowners is widely accepted
                    • The Union of 1707 did not threaten their power as it allowed for semi-independence. Furthermore, the decisive defeat of Jacobitism in 1745 meant there would be no threat of a return to absolute monarchy.
                      • The emergence of political dominance of the Moderates in the church meant that the church's authority would not threaten the hegemony of the aristocrats as it had done a century before.
                        • The new published work during the Enlightenment helped to give a new intellectual credibility to the system of governance. All of the political thinkers in Scotland were conservative and supported the established order where as the philosophical thinkers in France supported the revolutionary fervour.
    • ECONOMIC
      • In France there was an economic crisis and this was at the heart of the revolution: harvest failure and huh train prices.
        • In Scotland too there was reason for unrest: food prices rose sharply in 1795, the Agricultural Revolution left people landless and as for towns people the rise and fall of the international markets were vital. Given the upheaval, the lack of unrest is surprising.
          • However, evidence suggests that amongst this upheaval, the lifestyle of most was actually improving - for example while food prices rose, wages rose quicker.
            • Boom in industrial and urban employment as well as during NapoleonicWars many men were enlisted as seamen and in the army.
              • Relatively slow population rise compared with England and Ireland
                • Potential unrest is diffused by migration and emigration opportunities - high population mobility.
                  • The legal right to govern also rested on the expectationfo th performance of traditional duties. Landowners intervened in two ways   - 1. Purchased grain during times of scarcity and made it available at subsidised prices and 2. allowed for a more responsive poor law - was not discriminating yet.
    • SUCCESSFUL DISINTEGRATION OF RADICALISM
      • French Revolution stimulated a short lived phase of radical activity in France
        • Number of newspapers increases as did their level of radicalism - Paine's 'Rights of Man' was read by all social levels.
          • But as quickly as they began the radical movement fell apart especially as leadership was subject to imprisonment.
            • This is WEIRD because it seems the county was ripe for reform for example: 1.Political system was notoriously unrepresentative and 2. could be argued that economic transformations would lead to social unrest.
              • This disintegration of radicalism has often been described for 2 reasons. First, 'inflammability of the scottish people' - BUT Scotland was not free from unrest. Year of the Sheep - 1792 riots in Rosshire and other ones mentioned. Second, government repression and intimidation.
                • Second is more plausible as there is a link between the demise of the 'Friends of the People' and government repression.
                  • HOWEVER,it was clear that the 18th century state did not possess the resources. The Jacobite rebellion highlight the state's military weakness, major towns had no police force and after 1793, Scotland's army and resources were even more stretched whilst in war with France.
                    • Third interpretation is most plausible. Government repression would have  hardened opposition - the demise of radical protests demonstrates that the right of the landowners to govern was widely accepted and people had no direct wish to challenge it.
                      • HISTORIOGRAPHY:
        • On the King's birthday in June 1792 there were riots with distinct political overtones.
          • But as quickly as they began the radical movement fell apart especially as leadership was subject to imprisonment.
            • This is WEIRD because it seems the county was ripe for reform for example: 1.Political system was notoriously unrepresentative and 2. could be argued that economic transformations would lead to social unrest.
              • This disintegration of radicalism has often been described for 2 reasons. First, 'inflammability of the scottish people' - BUT Scotland was not free from unrest. Year of the Sheep - 1792 riots in Rosshire and other ones mentioned. Second, government repression and intimidation.
                • Second is more plausible as there is a link between the demise of the 'Friends of the People' and government repression.
                  • HOWEVER,it was clear that the 18th century state did not possess the resources. The Jacobite rebellion highlight the state's military weakness, major towns had no police force and after 1793, Scotland's army and resources were even more stretched whilst in war with France.
                    • Third interpretation is most plausible. Government repression would have  hardened opposition - the demise of radical protests demonstrates that the right of the landowners to govern was widely accepted and people had no direct wish to challenge it.
                      • HISTORIOGRAPHY:
        • A number of radical local groups were formed - 3 'General Conventions met between 1792-3 in which manifestos of increased radicalism were discussed.

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