So lately I've been starting to meander through one of the self-congratulatory tomes the Gaels have been putting out since Cahill - this one How the Scots Invented the Modern World. The rough outlines of the Scottish Enlightenment period I'd read about before of course, but not in this detail. Fairly interesting going, so far.
One of the hazards of being a dilettante at history is that you see striking parallels everywhere. I think it's kind of how med school students constantly think they have the disease of the week.
The broad strokes you see easily - the little crucial details that can make or break the applicability of the lesson, not always so much. Watching dear Miss Tam going off on a tear over the "Fall of the Roman Empire" lament is a (humbling) delight in its own right (you should see it in person!).
But anyhow - where were we? Yes. Getting carried away with the broad outlines.
So - the topic at hand. Our story opens just prior to Scotland and England uniting in the dawning years of the 18th century. Scotland was definitely the junior partner in this arrangement, and a goodly amount of the population was Not Happy about their national sovereignty being literally signed away. Angry mobs regularly besieged the bigwigs making the arrangements - to the extent said bigwigs literally had to run off and meet in secret to sign the final documents.
War came within ten years - the 'Fifteen.
And again a generation after, the more storied 'Forty-Five. That's the one we Americans tend to remember, as the echoes of that engagement - deportation and the Clearances - filled so many of our own hills through the latter half of the Eighteenth century*.
Eventually, Union proved an economic boom to Scotland... at a price. Sovereignty of course, and though I've yet to get to that chapter I'm betting the Clearances tie in there pretty strong to. And then there was the matter of engendering American itchiness over taxes and domination from the crown seventy years after that.
And yet, for all the broad brushstrokes and grand movements of history, somehow I kept seeing the Parliament convinced that financial necessity forced their hand, and an enraged population screaming "what are you doing?"
Yes, the story's more complicated than that. Always is. But the echoes are most certainly there.
Whew, the more things change, eh?
* to say nothing of inspiring not a few bodice-ripping, hunky highlander novels from the Victorian age right down to our own. :)