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Rethinking the Scottish RevolutionCovenanted Scotland, 1637-1651$
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Laura A. M. Stewart

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198718444

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198718444.001.0001

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Authority and Governance

Authority and Governance

(p.214) 5 Authority and Governance
Rethinking the Scottish Revolution

Laura A. M. Stewart

Oxford University Press

Covenanted government, like most of its European counterparts, sought to encourage key interest groups to advance their interests by accommodating themselves to its priorities and values. This chapter begins by assessing how local governing elites not only appropriated the language of central government, but also used it to hold central institutions to account. Widening participation allowed the state to acquire sufficient ‘social depth’ to bypass and punish uncooperative nobles, but there was no systematic attempt to undermine noble power, as would occur in England from 1649. A new assessment of the 1646 and 1649 Acts of Classes, which were used to discipline an expanding number of politically unreliable people, emphasizes how opportunities were also created for transgressors to redeem themselves and seek reintegration into political society. This interpretation questions the established narrative of a regime driven to pursue increasingly radical and exclusionary policies during the later 1640s.

Keywords:   patriots, malignants, accountability, war committees, locality, silence, loyalty, language, liberty, property

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