Braveheart: The Spiritual & Intellectual Revolution
Behind William Wallace & The Scottish & American Revolutions.
William Wallace (c.1270-1305) played by Mel Gibson in the movie, Braveheart, is often seen as an isolated rebel or even a fictional character. Yet, the historical William Wallace was a representative of the spiritual and intellectual forces of Scotland, particularly the writings of John Duns Scotus (c.1265/66-1308) and the radical political thought of the ancient Celts and the individualism of Celtic Christianity. Scotus was the first to write of the “consent of the governed” in his Ordinatio (c.1290s) that quickly became known in Scotland and was the intellectual and spiritual foundation of Wallace’s rebellion (c.1297-1305) and the Scottish Declaration of Independence (1320). Scotus’ theory of human society, grounded in ancient Celtic traditions, was to revolutionize the thought and practice of the Western world. The democratic revolution that began in Celtic Europe and Scotland was the mightiest revolution in the history of the world.
Our book, The Scottish Invention of America, Democracy & Human Rights, 2004, is a revolutionary work not only for its explanation of the origin of democracy but, secondly, for its explanation of the radicalism of the American revolution. Anglocentric historians failed to realize that the liberty of John Locke and the English Whigs (1660s) descended from the ancient Celts and Scotus through the Scots, Mair, Buchanan, Knox and Hutcheson and then spread through the Scottish Enlightenment thinkers to the American founding fathers. Thus, they were not able to explain the Celtic-Scottish “revolution principles” of the founding fathers by references to the theory of Locke and the Whigs which was fundamentally a conservative, “evolutionary” philosophy. Scotus’s theory as expressed in the Scottish Declaration of Independence of 1320 was the intellectual foundation of the American Revolution and the Declaration of Independence of 1776.
Thirdly, the book’s uniqueness is found in its panoramic view of the history of freedom & human rights from 1300BC to 2004AD. The authors trace the philosophy and fight for freedom from the ancient Celts to the medieval Scots to the Scottish Enlightenment to the creation of America to the modern human rights struggle. The book also locates the origin of human rights not in Locke but in the ancient Celts and the Irish-Scottish human rights treaty, Cain Adomnain, The Law of Innocents 697 AD.
Related Books & Authors: Gary Wills Inventing America (1978) did locate the recent source of some of the intellectual thought of Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence in the Scottish Enlightenment of the 1700s. Wills failed to place this historical connection in the larger context of ancient Celtic and medieval Scottish history and to mention the Declaration of Arbroath and the critical role of Scotus. A broader view of history found in Duncan Bruce’s The Mark of the Scots (1996) does relate the Declaration of Independence and the Scottish Enlightenment to the Declaration of Arbroath but not to the ancient Celts, Irish and Scots. Neither work relates the ancient and medieval periods, Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence to the historical development of human rights that followed the creation of the American Republic. Arthur Herman’s How the Scots Invented the Modern World (2001) incorrectly located the origin of the doctrine of the “consent of the governed” in George Buchanan. Herman’s error was the result of not grounding his research in ancient Celtic and Scottish history and medieval Scottish history. His erroneous comments about the Declaration of Arbroath, the National Covenant, Scottish religion and Celtic culture originate as well in focusing on the Scottish Enlightenment as if it appeared “presto.” Edward Cowan’s book, ‘For Freedom Alone,’ The Declaration of Arbroath, 1320 (2003), made excellent contributions to the specific history of the Arbroath Declaration but erred in failing to mention John Duns Scotus and finding the origin of Scottish liberty in the Scottish Wars of Independence rather than in ancient Celtic and Scottish history.
This website is dedicated to the spirit of William Wallace and his spiritual mentor, John Duns Scotus, and their Celtic ancestors who laid the foundation for much of Western civilization.
Copyright, Dr. Robert John Munro, 2005.