Popular Opposition to the Ratification of the Treaty of Anglo-Scottish Union in 1706-7
This key topic has aimed to explain the nature of the opposition to the Union treaty in order to supplement older histories of the union which pay less attention to this subject. The latest research suggests that the opposition was vigorous and organised, with notable levels of public engagement and debate in a time when this was still unusual. Many Scots held strong opinions against incorporation which went beyond simple patriotism. There were also, however, real divisions among opponents which hampered their activities and the government took strong steps to neutralise resistance.
The impact of popular opposition can be debated. Did it backfire, leading to concessions on the treaty which, ironically, helped to reinforce the pro-treaty majority in Parliament and ensure the Union’s longevity as a negotiated settlement? Or did the vociferous and participatory nature of the opposition undermine the legitimacy of the treaty ratification? Either way, popular opposition must be considered in any analysis of the making of the Union.