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State and Nation in the United KingdomThe Fractured Union$
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Michael Keating

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780198841371

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198841371.001.0001

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Union and its Challengers in the United Kingdom

Union and its Challengers in the United Kingdom

(p.21) 2 Union and its Challengers in the United Kingdom
State and Nation in the United Kingdom

Michael Keating

Oxford University Press

The United Kingdom was created over time without a clear plan. Creation of the state largely coincided with the creation of the Empire so that there was not a clear distinction between the two. The union preserved many of the elements of the pre-union component parts, but was kept together by the principle of unitary parliamentary sovereignty. Within the union, the distinct nationalities developed in the modern period and produced nationalist movements. Most of these aimed at devolution within the state, but some demanded separation. Management of these demands was a key task of statecraft in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In the post-World War Two era, the nationalities question appeared to have gone away but it returned in the 1970s. Devolution settlements at the end of the twentieth century represented a move to stabilize the union on new terms.

Keywords:   United Kingdom, union, nation, constitution, sovereignty, territorial management, Westminster, England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales

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