Public, People and Nation in Early Modern Scotland

Bowie, K. (2016) Public, People and Nation in Early Modern Scotland. Royal Historical Society 2016 David Berry Prize, (Unpublished)

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The emergence of modern publics as national bodies with opinions expressed in print has been described by historians focusing on early modern England, France, Germany and America. These histories have highlighted the seventeenth century as a key period for the development of the concept of a textual ‘public’, with public opinion being seen as authoritative by the eighteenth century. This paper considers the development of textual publics and the language of ‘the public’ in Scotland alongside alternative concepts of collective opinion expressed in terms of ‘the people’ and ‘the nation. It argues that forms of public opinion were becoming more prominent in Scottish political culture across the seventeenth century as political conflict led dissidents to challenge the judgement of the monarch and the representativeness of national assemblies. Though print markets remained restricted in Scotland, expressions of extra-parliamentary opinion developed through petitioning and other forms of direct engagement, employing the language of people and nation rather than the public.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Public sphere, public opinion, popular politics, petitioning, early modern Scotland.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Bowie, Professor Karin
Authors: Bowie, K.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > History
Journal Name:Royal Historical Society 2016 David Berry Prize
Publisher:Royal Historical Society
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 The Author
Publisher Policy:Reproduced with the permission of the Author

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