Department or Program



Since Union in 1707, Scotland has moved from armed insurrections against the British state- first in 1715 and again in 1745- to public assertions of equality within the British Empire. As Scotland moves for referendum in 2014, scholarly debate is lively, questioning the terms of Scottish involvement in Union and debating why Scotland should or should not continue its partnership.

This thesis focuses on the ambiguities surrounding these two paradoxical worlds of sovereignty and equality within Empire. I seek to understand how Scottish involvement in Empire developed from initial discussions for Union in the late seventeenth century through the early twentieth century. Other scholars have sought to explain why Scotland entered Union but fail to address how these ambiguities are framed in a broader Scottish history that allowed for this continued debate since the end of open rebellion in 1745. In examining this core paradox, I find calls for independence transformed following the ’15 Rebellion. Scotland ceased to exist in that moment as a singular nation and formally divided between Highland and Lowland, a divide allowing for the Highlands to participate in the ’45 Rebellion and the Lowlands to participate as a partner in the Anglo-Empire. The chapters follow this divide in critical areas of contestation tracing that dramatic transition and discussing the themes central to Union debates: economy, religion, cultural assimilation, and the position of women.

Level of Access

Open Access

First Advisor

Shaw, Caroline

Date of Graduation

Spring 5-2014

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages


Open Access

Available to all.