Scotland's History Debates The Importance of the Declaration


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The Importance of the Declaration

If Bannockburn rid Scotland of English armies but did not secure its liberation could the Declaration of Arbroath be Bruce's greatest legacy?

A history of Scotland's view of Bruce's victory at Bannockburn.

From A history of Scotland.

Professor Ted Cowan's opinion of the Declaration of Arbroath.

From Scotland's History Top Ten: The Declaration of Arbroath.


Lowland_Scot, Kilmarnock 2010-05-19

In the second paragraph of the declaration it clearly sets the Gaels out as ethnic cleansers of the original 'Scots' the Picts. This written statement by the self expressed conquerors of Scotland shows clearly that the Gaelic language is an invader language and that the Gaels are not the 'real Scots' either but usurpers and destroyers of Scotland.

Steve Martin, Arbroath 2010-04-07

The people of Arbroath haven't thought that much of the declaration over the years, or the place it was signed, they pulled down the Abbey to build their houses. In fact past generations couldn't of thought that much of it or they would have been up in arms over the destruction of the abbey. It's modern politician's using the well thought out emotive words to drum up support to get them into power and onto the gravy train.

anonymous 2009-12-19

I am, first and foremost, British however many would consider me to be English. Although it will be incredibly sad to lose the union (assuming that if Scotland goes, Wales and Northern Ireland will go too) however it is probably a good idea to let everyone go. I know I would ask for independence in the same situation if I were Scottish.
However, I feel that it is perhaps a good idea to keep the union, especially for things such as the British army, NHS and other territories (such as the falkland islands) in order to keep things together. But if you must go, you must.

george paterson, inverurie 2009-12-06

The Declaration of Arbroath defines the difference between subject and citizen. Thanks to Bruce's legacy I am a citizen of Scotland and not a subject of Great Britain. How can anyone support a hereditary monarch whose decendants are not elected by the people but depend on who the king or queen sleeps with and the successors implanted? The current lot are glowing examples of that!

Anonymous 2009-11-28

Is there an author, post-Sir Walter Scott, that I should read? I've gone through all of Scott's work, and have a high opinion of Scottish courage, but I don't want to read anything too disgustingly modern... ;)

Brian Ross, Glasgow. 2009-01-17

BBC Scotland Moderator:
Ha-ha, I'm sad laughin at ma own joke again ain't I. Thanks for printing it. On the 250th anniversary of Burns hope that plays a smile on a few faces after the blood & gore of tonight's episode. Thanks again m8. Brian Ross.

Colin Maclachlan, Edinburgh 2009-01-17

With the benefit of hindsight, its clear the declaration was a great piece of forward thinking however it should have been called the declaration of Newbattle as it was actually drafted at Newbattle Abbey near Dalkeith!

BBC Scotland Moderator 2009-01-17

Sorry, Brian. Take 2.

I'd like to share a story about Burns too. "The bard comin hame fi the pub one night sees two folk at it so he stops to watch. The police arrive & say 'Rabbie you'll have to testify'. At court judge asks what he seen, 'Saw two people sh*ggin', 'You can't use that word in court!' 'ok' says Rabbie, 'I wis comin hame fi Brigadoon when I saw twa people lying doon, her skirt was high his back was bare, her fingers runnin through his hair, their hips were movin to n fro & if that's no sh*ggin I don't know" ha ha!

Brian Ross, Townhead, Glasgow. 2009-01-17

re: BBC Scotland Moderator.
Hi there mate, thanks for trying to put the joke out, only a wee bit at the start got out then it just trailed off. Can we try it again? It's ok if there's technical glitches cos I have problems getting on sometime. But if it doesn't come out, thanks for trying anyway.
~Brian Ross~

-BBC Scotland Moderator-

I'll give it another go.

BBC Scotland Moderator 2009-01-17

For one night only! Brian's Burns joke: -

I'd like to share a story about Burns too. "The bard comin hame fi the pub one night sees two folk at it so he stops to watch. The police arrive

Brian Ross, Glasgow. 2009-01-17

I came on here as I'm interested in history, where I'm from & the story of the people I'm from, 'the Scots'. Also came on to give my tuppence worth, read the views of others & have the odd laugh. (Sent in a good rhyming joke about Burns that'd've gave folk a giggle but it wasnt printed, I'll ask the mods if I moderate it & put *'s in the suggestive word if they'll print it after 9pm tonite then rub it out again if they want).
** BBC mods can yous remember the Burns joke & would it be okay if I done that? **

-BBC Scotland Moderator-

Hi Brian, the boss ain't around so I'll put it up! I'll dig out the post.

Devorguila, in exile 2009-01-17

Brian in Gla, Tom in Edi - you both seem adjusted to the awful tweakings of misposted posts, so would you ask the Moderator to let some of my posts thru? I'm failing miserably... ... and since one should post constructively & on subj.: what is the greatest legacy of de Brus? I believe the Herschip o Buchan. After burning his way to the Comyn coast, there are fewer than 100 original Scots pines of the Caledonian Forest left today and how many of us Scots are replanting natives? aha - is this one of our future roles as guardians of our precious land? we can't leave it to the bureaucrats, agreed; so as we are historically a divided nation - E & W, toon & country- like our expatriate Scots cousins, I believe we just have to get out and do it ourselves: be the change we'd like to see... thank you for indulging me Moderator, et al

-BBC Scotland Moderator-

Hi Devorguila. I've only beeb rejecting duplicate/multiple postings. Apologies I've I've rejected any other of your post inadvertantly.

Tom Jackson, Edinburgh 2009-01-16

To Andy in Wigan, sorry the last effort got chopped!,

Yeah, good point. How do we know if a source is true or not? One of my major beefs with this series has been the absence of any mention of what academic historians call 'the problem of Scottish History'. That is, our National Chronicles and Records have been stolen, removed, destroyed and lost. If we had these documents, we might well have had a totally different view of our History. This should have been acknowledged and discussed. What is known of our History has been suppressed over the years. That also should have been discussed.

Tom Jackson, Edinburgh 2009-01-16

Andy in Wigan,

Excellent point. That's the problem with History

Andy, Wigan 2009-01-15

I agree with David Kay who says Walter Scott wrote "romantic historical fiction". We must be very careful who and what we believe regarding our past. There is no doubt Scott was a brilliant writer and was as far as im concerned played a major role in making Scotland "fashionable" in 19th century but was also often historically inaccurate.
John Barbour's "The Bruce" is another version of events I treat with scepticism as 3 versions of the battle of Bannockburn were written by people who may have been present
and are consistent with each other but all are contradictory to Barbours.
Another example is the man who gives us the basis for what we know about William Wallace. What do we really know about "Blind Harry"?

Tom Jackson, Edinburgh 2009-01-12

To Mike H,

Re the Declaration of Arbroath. Yes, it's a fascinating and complex document. It was designed to be, as it had to address the cold hard politics of the day. Popes were 'political', just as much as 'kings' were. Popes' had to judge whether it was 'politic' to declare for one side or the other. Not easy, not set in stone. Edward I was long dead when this question was addressed. Check the facts. The Declaration actually failed at the time, the Bruce was not forgiven by that particular pope. Politics moved on. Why do you think we remember the Declaration now?

Mike H, Mosstodloch 2009-01-10

I find it interesting that no one has picked up on the point of the Declaration of Arbroath. It was made at a time when the Scots nation (in the person of Robert Bruce) had been excommunicated by the Pope at the behest of Edward 1 (the so-called "Greatest Knight in Christendom"). Excommunication in the 14th century was a virtual death sentence and in this case made claims of nationhood invalid and the legitimacy of the monarchy impossible (annointed by holy church at coronation). Champoined by the church within Scotland, its purpose was to convince the Pope to revoke the excommunication and by so doing return Scotland to legitimacy. By leaving out the monarch and making a declaration to appear to be from the people, allowed the Pope to rescind the excommunication without loss of face. Not so much a declaration of independence as a political tool in which the really common Scot had little or no involvement, knowledge or understanding.

Brian Ross, Glasgow. 2009-01-06

Talking of our return to sovereign status after the feasibility of
the usefulness of this union with Scotland stuck in it becomes more 'bad business' (for Sco) by the day. I share your concerns about nepotism, it's been embedded in Sco for decades & it quickly latched onto Holyrood as soon as the door opened, you're right there. However
we need the structures & we have them, maybe the folk within the structures aint everyone's cup a tea but I think with the room to breath we'll evolve into something better.

David Kay, North Lanarkshire 2009-01-06

Re: Brian (Jonathan) Ross. Glasgow.

Hate to say it Brian, but you're right in just about everything you say.

Yes, I don't really know where I'm coming fae as regards the prospect of an independent Scottish Nation. Do any of us ? This is because no one seems able to give me (us if you like) a bit of direction as regards the way forward once the initial goal of independence has been achieved. I certainly do not want the Holyrood fatties in charge of my country, and I am a bit wary of the "wadical" like tone of the saoralba element. So who is going to lead us successfully to this promised land ? We've had opportunities to free ourselves before but blew them, so lets be sure we get it right next time !

And no you're not too "wadical" !

Tom Jackson, Edinburgh 2009-01-05

To David Kay,

David, we have ALWAYS been a Nation. The legacy of the Declaration puts it so well...'for as long as there are 100 of us..'. Truth is, there will always be at least 100 of us. We have been, we are, and we will be, a nation. The question is.. shall we resume full political control, and when will be this be. Many of us are working hard, now, to make this happen. Once we have got there, our children will be amazed that we tolerated the Union for so long. Our History continues to be written!

Brian (Johnathan) Ross, Glasgow. 2009-01-05

re: D.Kay. Don't be widiculous! I laughed out loud when I read that. Wish I had his dough mate. What do you mean you'd scoot to the loo if someone like me was running the country? ha ha. How am I too wadical fur yi? To be serious I wondered where you were coming fae, you seemed to laud the merits of running yir own shop then had a go at the free Scotland element then came back again tae say H/rood was a nepotistic joke! Of course it is & it's that & the lack of power to govern I'd like freed from. And you?

David Kay, North Lanarkshire 2009-01-05

Re. Brian Ross, Glasgow.

No, I am not related to Peter mate (whoever he is).
Yes we have always been a proud nation ( with a small 'n'), but we have never really been free for very long, and we have never ever been content.
And yes, I am Scottish, and I want Scotland to be a true Nation with all the trimmings of freedom, contentment, success and identity that has recently been achieved and enjoyed by countries like Estonia, Croatia, Bosnia, Belarus etc. etc..
This is what I mean by what we can be. We most certainly have not been such a Nation before.
What makes me bolt to the loo is the thought of people like you running my affairs.
Any relation to Jonathan mate ?

Brian Ross, Glasgow. 2008-12-22

David Kay. Any relation to Peter mate? You asked "What were we before, that we can become again?" That's easy:- "A proud, nation that has the contentment only a free, successful country in charge of it's own destiny can bring." If you're Scottish, you sound like the type of Scot that's been dependent on your European neighbour running your country for that long you'd need to bolt for the loo at the thought of having to run your own affairs! What an embarrasing state to get into! Any jokes about the Irish?

Brian Ross, Glasgow. 2008-12-22

Tom E/burgh. I admire your respect & confidence in your ain folk. I've read the quips of others saying: "I don't subscribe to the 'Wha's like us' mentality of others." Why not?! For goodness sake I can't speak for the diaspora but there are almost 5.million of us in this wee land & the world knows of our genius! I'll name just 3 Scots things the world would be a bigger, darker place without: Phone, TV & Football. "Wha's like us, eh?" And we're too dim to run our own place! They Irish canny be that daft eh!!

Tom Jackson, Edinburgh 2008-12-22

To Brian in Glasgow,

Well spoken sir. But then, here's the rub, this whole series has prompted us all to question what it is to be us? What is The Bruces' legacy? Is it not that we can and have, and continue to do, espouse and be: free, democratic, intelluctual, humane, romantic, humourous, fierce, passionate, musical, and everyman. Have Scots not travelled the world and not only 'blended in' in every culture, but added to every part of the world. We are the world. We are the template of the modern world. We are not a small nation, we are the world.



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