Scotland and the Act of Union

Why the Scots joined the United Kingdom

Scotland and the Act of Union
Image Source - https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acts_of_Union_1707
Scotland signed up to the Act of Union in 1707. Scotland did not have a Parliament with a long history or traditions like the English Parliament had prior to the Act of Union. Those who had favoured that Union believed that it was better to have Scottish MPs in Westminster as Scotland gained more political and economic advantages than retaining full independence. Scotland maintained other features that an independent nation would have, independent legal and education systems for instance.

Scotland did not have a Parliament with a long history or traditions like the English Parliament had prior to the Act of Union.  Those who had favoured that Union believed that it was better to have Scottish MPs in Westminster as Scotland gained more political and economic advantages than retaining full independence.  Scotland maintained other features that an independent nation would have, independent legal and education systems for instance. 

In theory, Scotland has an equal status to England within the United Kingdom.  England has traditionally dominated the rest of the United Kingdom due to being the richest and most populous nation within the country.  At face value, although Scotland maintained its separate identity the majority of its people seemed to accept the political status quo within the United Kingdom.  Whilst being part of the United Kingdom brought Scotland economic growth and relative prosperity, it seemed that Scottish political culture was part of a common British political culture even though it was not exactly the same as the political cultures found in England, Wales, and Ireland (later just Northern Ireland). 

Scotland took part in the two party electoral contests to gain power at Westminster between the Conservatives and the Liberals and later between the Conservatives and the Labour Party.  From the 1880s some of the Westminster government’s powers were devolved to the Scottish Office partly to aid efficient administration and partly to make the Scots feel less alienated with being ruled from London.  A distinctive political culture was aided in its development by the fact that Scotland always retained its own separate legal and educational systems plus a different religious settlement to the rest of the United Kingdom.

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