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Jacobitism in Scotland: episodic cause or national movement

MacInnes, Allan I. (2007) Jacobitism in Scotland: episodic cause or national movement. Scottish Historical Review, 86 (2). pp. 225-252. ISSN 0036-9241

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Abstract

The primary purpose of this article is to examine the strength in depth of Jacobitism within Scotland and to reappraise its national impact. Notwith-standing disparaging Whig polemicists and their apologists in Anglo-British historiography, there was undoubted political substance to the appeal of Jacobitism in Scotland that stretched over seven decades. But the search for this substance raises a series of questions. Was Jacobitism anything more than an occasional interruption in the body politic? Can it be viewed as a patriotic agenda that engaged Scots politically and culturally as well as militarily and subversively? Above all, was Jacobitism a sustained political movement or merely an episodic cause in Scotland? Accordingly, the distinctiveness of Scottish Jacobitism is explored through fresh archival research and extensive polemical material prior to determining whether this distinctiveness found expression more as a movement than as a cause. The focus of debate is shifted away from the Stuart courts in exile, from dynastic identification, and from espionage and diplomacy towards Jacobite communities at home and abroad, towards patriotic identification with Scotland and towards issuesof po litical economy. In the process, a political culture of Scottish Jacobitism can be sustained in terms of its confessional and intellectual development, its organizational structure and its commercial and social networking. Nevertheless, the argument favouring a movement over a cause remains finely balanced but is shaded by the distinctive capacity of Scottish as against English or Irish Jacobitism to form alternative governments, nationally and locally in the course of major risings. More than an episodic cause, Jacobitism's persistence provoked a counter movement in Scotland, that of antiJacobitism, a wholly worthwhile area of study that has yet to be examined systematically and with intellectual rigour. It is hoped that this article will provoke such an examination.