The Scottish Invention or America, Democracy and Human Rights
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The Scottish Invention or America, Democracy and Human Rights

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Excerpts & Quotations from
The Scottish Invention of America, Democracy and Human Rights
  1. William Wallace
  2. The Declaration of Arbroath
  3. John Duns Scotus
  4. The Celts and Their High Regard for the Individual, Freedom & Democracy
  5. The Scottish Genius in the Art of Democratic Government
  6. The Irish-Scottish Origin of Human Rights
  7. Celtic Christianity
  8. Thomas Jefferson, William Small and the Scots
  9. Errors of Historians on the American Revolution
  10. Errors of the Historians on Feudalism in Scotland and the Declaration of Arbroath
  11. Errors of the Anglo-centric Historians
  12. Errors of Arthur Herman’s How the Scots Invented the Modern World (2001)
  1. William Wallace:

    The chronicler John of Fordun in his Annals wrote one of the most dramatic lines in Scottish history: “In 1297, William Wallace lifted up his head.” Gray, 155.

    Sir William Wallace had the following motto: Libertas optima rerum (“freedom is the best of all things”). This was the key to the Scottish attitude. The desire for independence had always been a main element in the character of the Scots. History had not destined them to be a servile people. The formulator and protagonist of the new revolutionary concepts of freedom, “consent of the governed,” statehood and government, which found expression in 1320, was the great Scottish moral philosopher, John Duns Scotus. 163-64.

    The action of the English Law Courts in condemning Wallace points to the crude state of English law at this time. To drag a Scotsman to England and to execute him there for an offence committed in Scotland can be justified to the same extent as can be justified the action of a Chinese bandit who carries a victim to a mountain fastness, there to cut his throat even with the approval of a “jury” of brother bandits. English law has not even today quite rid itself of this tinge of barbarity, e.g., the Jacobite prisoners; Sir Roger Casement; and the Welsh Nationalists. MacNeill, 163

  2. The Declaration of Arbroath:

    Four hundred and fifty-six years before the Declaration of Independence, the Arbroath Declaration made an explicit statement about life, liberty and the rights of a people to choose who will govern them. The Declaration of Arbroath, the noblest statement in the constitutional history of Scotland, was a direct source of the 1776 American Declaration of Independence. 263-64.

    The letter sent from Arboath to the Pope in 1320 … not merely shows the retention of freedom by the people of Scotland, it shows their fundamental political and religious instincts as well as their military achievements. Their king has a duty to perform, a duty which he neglects at his peril; the kingdom is “our” not “his” kingdom; and even the Pope himself is enjoined to remember that he, like every other human being, is answerable for his actions. The spirit which animates it from first to last is a spirit which has none of the arrogance of a feudal superior, none of the servility of a feudal slave; it is the spirit of a nation purified and strengthened by a prolonged struggle against almost overwhelming odds, but which had culminated in victory. It is the spirit of Wallace. It is the spirit of Scotland set free. MacNeill, 94-95.

    John, King of England, was still an alien conqueror, ruling or attempting to rule, England by force. He was forced to concede Magna Carta. Edward II, attempting to subdue Scotland was forced to concede the laurels of Bannockburn. Magna Carta was the Englishman’s first step, in medieval times, towards freedom. Bannockburn was the Scotman’s retention of it. It was the climax of a succession of national victories, and how much it meant to the people of Scotland is revealed in the famous Letter of 1320 sent by communitas of Scotland to the Pope. MacNeill, 174.

    There is still much to be learned from that remarkable manifesto. Read it again, and judge for yourselves whether it does not deserve on its merits to be ranked as one of the masterpieces of political rhetoric of all time. Lord Cooper, 185.

    One of the standard criticisms of the Declaration of Arbroath as a statement of early democracy, particularly by Anglo-centric historians, was that the Arbroath Declaration was a feudal document, a criticism that ignored the ancient and medieval history of first the Celts and later the Scots. 376. … This modified Scottish feudalism was different from the complete and exhaustive feudalization of England, a fact that has been misunderstood or ignored by Anglo-centric historians, thus causing serious misinterpretations of Scottish history and the Declaration. In spite of claims by many historians that Scotland had been feudalized by the end of the twelfth century, it is certain that the feudalism was of only a superficial nature, applying mainly to the king and nobles among themselves; the people at large had adopted little or none of the feudal social caste and privilege, as this Act 1425 c 48 shows: “It is ordained by the king, by consent and deliverance of the three Estates, that all and sundry the King’s lieges of the realm live and be governed under the King’s law and statutes of the realm alone, and under no particular nor special privilege, nor by no laws of other countries nor realm. MacNeill, 138. In contrast to English feudalism, the growth of feudal Norman elements in Scotland was by invitation and selective acceptance. The Scots accepted those positive contributions of Norman culture, particularly efficient government and administration, and rejected other elements. 138.

  3. John Duns Scotus:

    John Duns ScotusIn a very few sentences (Scotus) has stated very clearly the essential elements of a theory of human society which was to revolutionize not only the thought but the practice of the Western world, and it is to him that we can trace in a very real sense the beginnings of modern political science.” Harris, 183. “Dun Scotus’ teachings are considered to be of such significance to make him one of the pioneers of contemporary social theory, and his doctrines bear a close resemblance to the later teachings of Scottish theorists John Major, George Buchanan, John Knox, the English philosopher John Locke (1632-1704) and Francis Hutcheson who influenced the Founding Fathers of the American Republic. 183.

    Concerning legislation and law, Duns Scotus regarded law as the expression of the will of the people and the basis for the political authority of a ruler, who, not being above the law must do so in accord with the will of the community, governed by him for them. Pope and Allan Wolter A king may not even appoint his successor without the consent of the community of the people. Duns Scotus also emphasized the consent of the whole community is implicit in the acceptance of just laws promulgated by the ruler. 183.

    For John Duns Scotus, Bernard de Linton, John Major, John Knox, George Buchanan, Andrew Melville and the Scots, their government was an elective monarchy, the choice of “the community of the realm of Scotland.” Buchanan’s belief in the government as the will of the people continued into eighteenth-century Scotland and the Scottish Enlightenment, particularly as seen in the writings of Lord Kames, Francis Hutcheson, and the English Whig theorists, who had tremendous effects on Jefferson and the other founding fathers. 210.

    Allan WolterI believe him [John Duns Scotus] to be Scotland’s greatest philosopher, yet, as I have indicated, there are also other philosophers from Pre-Reformation Scotland, and very few know of their existence. I am speaking here of one of the best-kept secrets of Scottish culture. 382.

    Father Allan B. Wolter, O.F.M., is the world's foremost authority on John Duns Scotus. Father Wolter's expert opinions on research sources and interpretations of Scotus were invaluable to us in our understanding of the medieval theologian and the preparation of our book. We are greatly indebted to him. Father Wolter appeared with Pope John Paul II at the Beatification of John Duns Scotus (see photos).

    Image of John Duns Scotus provided under a license from the National Portrait Gallery, London.

  4. The Celts and Their High Regard for the Individual, Freedom and Democracy:

    Greater than the Chief are the Clansmen. Gaelic saying. 197

    Their political rights were exercised through the small unit, sufficiently small to make the vote of the individual of some importance. … The small units combined to deal with questions too large in scope for the small unit … yet the individual Celt never lost sight of his right and his power to differ. A community in which a man is permitted to sacrifice himself voluntarily for the welfare of the group is more highly civilized than one in which he is forced to die for his country. … So the Celts voluntarily grouped themselves under a chosen general to defend their country, and the military history of Scotland vindicates them. A strong central government under a warrior king has the great weakness that if and when that king is killed, the conqueror becomes king with or without the consent of the people. The history of England is full of such instances … As Scotland coalesced into a nation, the citizens never lost their belief in the supreme importance of the individual. 208

    The form of government described by Strabo as existing among the Celts of Galatia is paralleled by the assembly of Gaul, which met at Lugdunum (Lyons). The Greeks referred to the state as Koinon Galaton, the Commonwealth of Galatians, and it is true that the name of no particular overall leader emerges for a long time. This form of government accords with everything we know of later social and political structures among the Celts, with the electoral system ensuring that no despot could exert supreme sovereignty. 208

    It was difficult for a chief to usurp power, for he was limited and hemmed in by the democratic process of his tribal assembly and dependent on his tribe for support so that it was easier for him to promote their welfare and safety and for him to conform to the intention of the law than to become either negligent or despotic in office. When chieftains or kings betrayed their office they were thrown out and a new chieftain or king elected. Thus did MacBeth become High King of Scotland in 1040 in the stead of the despotic Duncan. But in English eyes, viewed by the standards of primogeniture and the philosophy of the divine rights of kings, MacBeth was an usurper and it has been the English concept of MacBeth which has made him an immoral character in literature. Ellis, 209.

    Theirs [the ancient Celts] was a country and a people of individual, autonomous units. Placing great emphasis on freedom, they constituted no state or nation, but, as it were, a free federation of tribes. There were the tribal chiefs and, serving them, warriors, and of equal status with these, the aes dama, “the men of special gifts” - Druids, bards, prophets and visionaries, healers and historians, often in one. Believing in reincarnation, without fear of death, these Celtic people lived a life … of spiritual freedom verging on anarchy. Bamford, 381.

  5. The Scottish Genius in the Art of Democratic Government:

    In contrast to the conquered English people who spent centuries trying to free themselves from the Norman yoke, the Scots “had no conquerors to rid of, apart from the invaders who were repelled by the sword. Scotland’s need was therefore to devise a means of controlling her governors …” MacNeill, 200. The method of control adopted was to have several ways of voicing the will of the people – through the king, the Privy Council, the Great Council …, the Church and, in later days, the Justiciary… the keynote which preserved order was the simple fact that the real power – the power of the sword and taxation – rested with the people. If there was fighting to be done, the people unsheathed the sword; when money was needed, the people gave voluntarily. … the three Estates … were continually active within their respective spheres… All three Estates functioned with the minimum of political interference other than what they asked for, and the great function of the politician was to keep these three in balance for the overall good of the country.

    The people had the very real power of accepting or rejecting the recommendations of king, parliament, convention or chuch assembly. ... the common people in most of the European states had neither the tradition nor the education and understanding to put such a system into operations. MacNeill, 200-01.

    Thus, the men of a district were regarded as equal in blood; thus, too, the social divisions of the Scots Nation were vertical as between groups or clans, instead of horizontal, as in England, between castes... The difference between the Scots and the English social structures can be seen if we try to imagine a group of Englishmen, nobles, merchants and tinkers, all bearing the name of de Vere and entitled to sport, of right, the crest of de Vere. MacNeill, 391.

    Duncan MacNeillDuncan Harald MacNeill was born in Orkney, Scotland and was the son of the Manse. He was educated at Kirkwall Grammar School and at the University of Glasgow. After serving in the First World War, he graduated M.A., Glasgow University, specialising in Constitutional Law, and later obtained his LL.B. at Edinburgh University, with distinction in Public International Law and Jurisprudence. He qualified as a solicitor and settled in Inverness, Scotland. He is the author of The Art and Science of Government Among the Scots. Being George Buchanan's "De Jure Regni Apud Scotos," Translation and Commentary by MacNeill, Glasgow: William Maclellan (1964), The Historical Scottish Constitution, Edinburgh: The Albyn Press (1971) and The Scottish Realm: An Approach to the Political and Constitutional History of Scotland, Glasgow: A & J Donaldson (1947).

  6. The Irish-Scottish Origin of Human Rights:

    The Scots were undoubtedly centuries ahead of and cultures distant from the English in regard to the rights of mankind. Indeed, the Scots were centuries ahead of all of mankind. Europe’s first international human rights treaty, Cain Adomnain, “The Law of Innocents,” was ratified in 697 AD, 1,251 years before the United Nations’ The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948). Cain Adomnain was “penned by Adomnain, an abbot of Iona and a nobleman of the Cenel Conaill dynasty. This law, which protected women, children and clergy from the ravages of warfare, was ratified in 697 by the kings of the Picts, of the Dal Riatic Scots, of the Strathclyde Britons, and of many Irish kingdoms, and the law took effect in both Scotland and Ireland. It is singular testimony to the widespread common Celtic (and now Christianized) culture extending from Ireland across Dalriada and Pictland to Lindisfarne …” Newton, 286.
  7. Celtic Christianity

    Philosophically, the Celtic Church provided a counter to the materialistic consciousness of the rest of Christendom. Hilary, Pelagius, Colmcille, Columbanus, Eriugena, Sedulius Scotus, were representative of a culture which looked on nature and the material world as a spiritual entity; all forms of life are holy; all forms of life were possessed of spirit. Accepting the brevity of life, its conditions, the Celtic philosophers strove not for mastery of the world, the imposition of will or the concept of imperial continuity; the goal that was sought was an inner illumination, the growth of spiritual awareness within the external world. Ellis, 210. Through their ancient religion, and then with the new vibrancy of Celto-Christianity, they applauded the battle of the individual against outside domination. The individual struggle was a portion of the battle against the oppression of empires; the state; between light and darkness; good and evil; spirituality and materialism; above all it was a constant celebration of the expression of Free Will. Ellis, 210.

    Christ the Word from the Beginning was our teacher and we never lost his teaching. Christianity is, in Asia, a new thing, but there was never a time when the Druids of Britain held not its doctrines. Taliesin, 36.

    … the Celts, who had been reduced to among the least of people by the Romans, hanging on to a few footholds on the rim of western Europe, produced some of the most militant Christians who conquered not lands and peoples but ignorance and won victories, not for princes and potentates, but for the Kingdom of God to which they so firmly committed themselves. Bamford, 36.

  8. Thomas Jefferson, William Small and the Scots:

    Through Small, Jefferson was first exposed to the world order described by the philosophers of the Scottish Enlightenment. It was Small [a native-born Scot] who introduced Jefferson to the philosophy of the Declaration of Arbroath. Small and other Scots who participated in the Scottish Enlightenment knew of the Arbroath Declaration through its publication in a considerable Anglo-Scottish pamphlet war that raged during the years just before the Union of 1707 and other Scottish publications of the Declaration in 1716, 1722, 1739 and 1744.” … “To all these reprints the first publication of the Scotichronicon in 1759, edited by Walter Goodall in two handsome folio volumes, added a slightly improved text. Thus before the death of George II the Declaration had been printed, in one form or another, eleven times in Latin and four times in English, and far from being neglected was well-known, mainly perhaps through Anderson’s Diplomata [a collection of … facsimiles of Scottish historical documents]. Fergusson, 243.
  9. Errors of Historians on the American Revolution: Gordon Wood, Bernard Bailyn, Gary Wills and Pauline Maier

    More perplexing is why American historians have not made the critical distinction between the Scots and the English in causing the American Revolution and influencing the Declaration of Independence? An interesting example of this was Gordon S. Wood’s The American Revolution, A History (2002), wherein he noted that some American Revolutionaries declared that they were Whigs rebelling in behalf of the English Constitution:

    Yet the colonists were mistaken in believing that they were struggling only to return to the essentials of the English constitution. The principles of the constitution that they defended were not those that were held by the English establishment in the mid-eighteenth century. In fact, the Americans’ principles were, as the Tories and royal officials tried to indicate, “revolution principles” outside the mainstream of English thought. Since the colonists seemed to be reading the same literature as other Englishmen, they were hardly aware that were seeing the English tradition differently. Despite their breadth of reading references, however, they concentrated on a set of ideas that ultimately gave them a peculiar conception of English life and an extraordinarily radical perspective on the English constitution they were so fervently defending. Wood, 287.

    But what was this “set of ideas” and “extraordinarily radical perspective on the English constitution?” Where did it come from? Unfortunately, Wood did not enquire into this problem in his The American Revolution, A History (2002).

    Real Whigs in England might sympathize with the colonists, but there were few who looked for American independence. … Whigs questioned the wisdom but rarely doubted the authority of Parliament. They might offer a justification for certain colonial claims to redress grievances but they preferred not to counsel revolution at home or in America … Had the Founding Fathers remained totally true to the English whig historical tradition they would never have produced a revolution – and their counterparts in England did not…The Revolution came with Americans abandoning the conservative, evolutionary progress normally adopted by their whig friends. Colbourn, 284. … to accept the nineteenth-century interpretation of Anglo-Saxon society, a historian had ‘first to read into comparatively late sources a meaning which they never had and then apply that misinterpretation to an imaginary society of a thousand years earlier. … Saxon society was certainly not the democratic one envisaged by Jefferson and the whigs. Stephenson, 285.

    It was James Wilson, a founding father, who convinced Congress that “all power was originally in the People – that all the Powers of Government are derived from them – that all power, which they have not disposed of, still continues theirs. This was the “Revolution Principle.” As he wrote, “this truth, so simple and natural, and yet so neglected or despised, may be appreciated as the first and fundamental principle of the science of government.” The sovereignty of the people was a principle to which he unwaveringly adhered to throughout his life, and it is, of course, an idea that is implicit in the Declaration of Arbroath. … It is quite likely that from his St.Andrews days he knew the works of George Mackenzie, Gilbert Burnet and James Anderson, all of whom had helped to popularize knowledge of the Arbroath letter… Wilson’s thought irresistibly recalls George Buchanan. Because Buchanan’s ideas in many respects anticipated those of John Locke, they are often attributed to Locke even though he was born fifty years after Buchanan’s death… Witherspoon…drew upon the radical tradition in Scottish political thought, not perhaps explicitly citing to “Arbroath” but drawing upon the bubbling springs of that momentous document which was, at least in Scottish terms, the fountainhead of all that followed. Cowan, 264.

    Four hundred and fifty-six years before the Declaration of Independence, the Arbroath Declaration made an explicit statement about life, liberty and the rights of a people to choose who will govern them. The Declaration of Arbroath, the noblest statement in the constitutional history of Scotland, was a direct source of the 1776 American Declaration of Independence. 263-64.

  10. Errors of the Historians on Feudalism in Scotland and the Declaration of Arbroath

    One of the standard criticisms of the Declaration of Arbroath as a statement of early democracy, particularly by Anglo-centric historians, was that the Arbroath Declaration was a feudal document, a criticism that ignored the ancient and medieval history of first the Celts and later the Scots. 376. … This modified Scottish feudalism was different from the complete and exhaustive feudalization of England, a fact that has been misunderstood or ignored by Anglo-centric historians, thus causing serious misinterpretations of Scottish history and the Declaration. In spite of claims by many historians that Scotland had been feudalized by the end of the twelfth century, it is certain that the feudalism was of only a superficial nature, applying mainly to the king and nobles among themselves; the people at large had adopted little or none of the feudal social caste and privilege, as this Act 1425 c 48 shows: “It is ordained by the king, by consent and deliverance of the three Estates, that all and sundry the King’s lieges of the realm live and be governed under the King’s law and statutes of the realm alone, and under no particular nor special privilege, nor by no laws of other countries nor realm. MacNeill, 138. In contrast to English feudalism, the growth of feudal Norman elements in Scotland was by invitation and selective acceptance. The Scots accepted those positive contributions of Norman culture, particularly efficient government and administration, and rejected other elements. 138.

    Thus, the [Scots] men of a district were regarded as equal in blood; thus, too, the social divisions of the Scots Nation were vertical as between groups or clans, instead of horizontal, as in England, between castes… The difference between the Scots and the English social structures can be seen if we try to imagine a group of Englishmen, nobles, merchants and tinkers, all bearing the name of de Vere and entitled to sport, of right, the crest of de Vere. MacNeill, 391.


  11. Errors of the Anglo-centric Historians: Arthur Herman, Simon Schma, Roy Porter, Bernard Bailyn, Gordon Wood and Ellis Sandoz:

    Most historians credited John Locke and English philosophers of the 17th and 18th centuries for the ideas of freedom, democracy, “consent of the governed” and human rights with references to the influences of the city-states of ancient Greece, the natural law doctrines of Stoicism and the Romans and the moral values of the Old and New Testaments. But his analysis is largely inaccurate. The “democracy” of the city-states of ancient Greece did not include women, or slaves and non-Greeks were considered barbarians and inferior. Secondly, the philosophers of the 17th and 18th centuries were centuries behind the medieval Scottish moral philosophers who first articulated the idea of the “consent of the governed.” This inaccurate analysis of crediting the English thinkers such as Locke as originating the doctrine of “consent of the governed” paralleled the faulty analyses of historians who gave Locke and others credit as originating the ideas of human rights and the revolutionary principles of the Declaration of Independence. Instead, these ideas came primarily from the Celts and the Scots. 197.

    Just as Lockean thought as the primary influence on the Declaration of Independence was essentially flawed, so was this larger explanation of western liberty based primarily on the Magna Carta and common law basically at variance with historical reality. Again, we do not deny the role of these factors, but they are eclipsed by ideas and movements north and west of the English borders. The position of writers such as Sandoz, Bailyn, Howard and others that the Magna Carta, common law and English Whig theory provided the foundation of modern liberty and American Revolutionary thought assumed that liberty was largely equivalent with the rule of law, common law and due process of law. There is no question that the rule of law is critical to liberty in a free society but their definition of liberty is too legalistic and narrow and ignores the larger cultural and historical forces. The liberties defined in the Magna Carta and the common law were granted from royal authorities down to individuals and people, not up from the people. This is a radical difference. The philosophy of the Arbroath Declaration is radically different from that of the Magna Carta. The Declaration of Arbroath, which represented cultural and philosophical of the Scots for centuries prior to the Declaration, spoke of complete human freedom, not of special legal rights granted by the rulers. This is why the Scottish King was called the King of the Scots and not the King of Scotland, a description lacking in English and British custom. MacNeill, 281. In short, the difference between the British and the American Constitutions is a fundamental one. The former is a concession of privileges to the people by the rulers; the latter, a grant of authority by the people to the rulers. Hanna, 281.

    Real Whigs in England might sympathize with the colonists, but there were few who looked for American independence. … Whigs questioned the wisdom but rarely doubted the authority of Parliament. They might offer a justification for certain colonial claims to redress grievances but they preferred not to counsel revolution at home or in America … Had the Founding Fathers remained totally true to the English whig historical tradition they would never have produced a revolution – and their counterparts in England did not…The Revolution came with Americans abandoning the conservative, evolutionary progress normally adopted by their whig friends. Colbourn, 284. …to accept the nineteenth-century interpretation of Anglo-Saxon society, a historian had ‘first to read into comparatively late sources a meaning which they never had and then apply that misinterpretation to an imaginary society of a thousand years earlier. … Saxon society was certainly not the democratic one envisaged by Jefferson and the whigs. Stephenson, 285.

    Today the prevailing tendency is to view the post-1066 Anglo-Norman state as unique, the result of many antecedents, Saxon, Flemish, Danish, and Breton. Many of the later features of whig history have been explored and revealed as false oversimplifications which endured because people wanted to believe. The myth of the Magna Carta has been attacked by scholars distressed over extravagant claims made on its behalf. The feudal character of the document is now widely recognized. Its limitations may be disputed, but no longer in the political language of the 1680s. Colbourn, MacNeill, 285. The nobles did not approve of this and the outcome of it all was that King John granted Magna Carta, which has been hailed as the Englishman’s Charter of Liberties. Magna Carta though it limited the power of the king to plunder his nobility, rather increased the power of the nobles to plunder the lesser barons and the common people. In fact, Magna Carta was reactionary but it has been a convenient slogan, and in that sense has been helpful to Englishmen of all classes. 392.

    The Englishman, starting without rights – or nearly so – has had his rights conferred upon him by Parliament, Parliament alone having the power to help him. The English Parliament had to do for England what the Scots Army did for Scotland in Bannockburn. MacNeill, 376. … that it is probable that students of politics, a century or two hereafter, will regard the growth of Parliament in England as a disguised military operation through which the people of England recovered the political and economic rights which they lost at Hastings in 1066. MacNeill, 391.

    The probability of such changes among Anglo-centric historians is unlikely in light of Simon Schama’s recent work, A History of Britain, At the Edge of the World? 3500 BC-1603AD (2000), 218 where Schama in commenting on the Declaration of Arbroath stated that this “had been heard before – in Oxford in 1258…” Schama’s comparison of English events of 1258 and the Declaration of Arbroath revealed again the classic Anglo-centric failure to understand and distinguish between English parliamentarianism (which represented a long-term struggle to remove the Norman yoke from the Isles) and individual liberty and people’s democracy as represented in the Declaration of Arbroath. Another illustration is Roy Porter’s The Creation of the Modern World. The Untold Story of the British Enlightenment (2000), 242, 244: “How far the Scottish Enlightenment was homegrown remains highly contested. Many believe that the torch came from outside, specifically from metropolitan [London] culture” and “Whatever its ingredients, the catalyst of the Scottish Enlightenment is clear. In 1707, the nation’s elite traded in political independence for an Union with England which promised better economic times …” The Scottish Enlightenment was based primarily on ancient and medieval Celtic and Scottish developments and not polite London culture. The English forced the Act of Union (1707) on the Scottish people whose economy was near bankruptcy and who were threatened with an English closing of the border unless they agreed to the Union. The English achieved their objective through a combination of veiled military threats, economic sanctions, bribery and negotiation. As much as three-quarters of the “commons of Scotland” opposed the Union. 393.

  12. Errors of Arthur Herman’s How the Scots Invented the Modern World (2001)

    Herman incorrectly located the origin of the doctrine of popular sovereignty 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."
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