The Act of Union 1707

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Map Code: Ax01583

The accession of the Stuart King James I (1603) unified the monarchies but not the polities of England and Scotland. Following the Restoration, Scottish Presbyterian Covenanters considered themselves betrayed by Charles II’s disavowal of the Treaty of Breda (1650), which had guaranteed support for their religious objectives, and mounted a campaign of resistance against attempts to impose Episcopalianism. This flared into open rebellion in 1666 and 1679, and overt denunciation of Charles in the Sanquhar Declaration (1680). The ousting of the Stuarts in the Glorious Revolution brought about Jacobite rebellion (1689–92), which involved both Catholics and Episcopalians. Union was finally precipitated by the Darien investment scandal (1700), which ruined many in Scotland. Ninety-six petitions were presented against the Union: Daniel Defoe estimated that for ‘every Scot in favour, there are 99 against’. But the aristocracy, bribed with debt redemption, were in favour, or malleable, and the Act was passed.

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