Attitudes towards union in Scotland

In Scotland people were discussing the arguments for and against union with England.

Religion

Religion was significant in the minds of many people. The future of the Scottish Church and the issue of Presbyterianism versus Episcopalianism were fiercely debated.

Economy

For some, the issues of money and trade were important, with merchants and town councillors debating about the possible benefit from union. Ship owners looked forward to increased business with English colonies in India and the Caribbean.

MPs and bankers considered the economy to be the main issue, with everyone keen for Scotland to move further towards being a modern European nation, capable of supporting itself as it established links with colonies worldwide. Despite many people in government positions being capable of understanding the arguments for union, in 1707 public opinion was very much against union.

Mobs in Edinburgh and Glasgow protested against closer links with England because of what they saw as the disadvantages it would bring to ordinary people, in the form of higher taxation and competition from English industry.

Therefore, in Parliament, MPs had to not only weigh up the arguments for and against, but also consider popular feeling throughout Scotland.

Move on to Test
next