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The Government of Scotland 1560-1625$
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Julian Goodare

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199243549

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199243549.001.0001

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Government and People

Government and People

(p.246) CHAPTER ELEVEN Government and People
The Government of Scotland 1560-1625

Julian Goodare (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the common people in Scotland, and particularly certain groups whose encounter with government proved memorable. A ‘new violence of the state’ emerged in certain policies of central government. It was clear, even commonplace, that the law was made by and for the landed ruling class. This gave them both responsibilities and privileges. Nobles, because they possessed honour, had to be treated with special respect by the law. Much of the most visible government activity affected only the men with ‘fame and honour’, the political elite. That elite has been estimated to comprise about 5,000 landlords, plus a further number of lawyers, officials, ministers, and greater burgesses. This chapter examines how government was experienced by the common people, the ones who lacked ‘fame and honour’, and how they were affected by laws. The focus is on the peasants in the countryside, women at all social levels, and some marginalised groups, particularly witches and gypsies, who were singled out for particular governmental attention.

Keywords:   common people, government, laws, peasants, women, witches, gypsies

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