MO3166 Debating Britain: Anglo-Scottish Unionism, 1521-1707
Lecturer Professor Roger Mason
Credits 30
Availability Semester 1, 2017-18
Class Hour view timetable


This module examines the idea of Britain as it was discussed and debated in the century between the union of the Anglo-Scottish crowns in 1603 and the union of the Scottish and English parliaments in 1707. In many respects the political and religious history of 17th century Britain can be understood as a series of attempts to make the fortuitous dynastic union of 1603 work in a way that would accommodate the interests and aspirations of the constituent parts of the multiple monarchy that the Stuart dynasty now presided over.  Despite the often tumultuous events of the period, including civil war, regicide and revolution, there was little or no interest in dissolving the union.  The union of parliaments of 1707, therefore, needs to be placed in the context, not just of immediate circumstances, but of a much longer series of attempts to fashion a workable British union.

Basic Reading

Course Structure

  1. Introduction: perspectives on Anglo-Scottish union
  2. Unionism before union
  3. 1603: Visions of Britain
  4. Multiple monarchy under James VI and Charles I
  5. Imperial Britain, the National Covenant and Scottish Constitutionalism
  6. Protestant Britain? the Solemn League and Covenant
  7. Cromwellian Britain
  8. Restoration, Revolution and the emergence of political economy
  9. 1707:  the economic debate
  10. 1707: the political debate
  11. Dynasticism, union and the Jacobite aftermath


Assessment 60% examination: 3-hour paper
40% coursework: Two essays and one presentation

Learning Outcomes