Undergraduate Course: Unions, Revolutions and Enlightenment: Developments in Political Thought in Early Modern Scotland (HIST10451)
|School||School of History, Classics and Archaeology
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Not available to visiting students
|Summary||Early modern Scots experienced revolutions and counter-revolutions, absolutist monarchy and resistance, and several forms of union with England. This course explores the political thought to which the country's turbulent events gave rise. Starting with sixteenth-century writers including George Buchanan and John Knox, the course traces Scottish political thought through to the early nineteenth century.
The turbulent political events of early modern Scotland gave rise to a diverse and sophisticated body of political writing. In this course, we sample the leading authors and assess the main arguments of this political thought. The course proceeds chronologically from sixteenth-century writers including John Mair, George Buchanan and John Knox, through seventeenth-century theorists including Samuel Rutherford and George Mackenzie, to such thinkers of the Scottish Enlightenment as David Hume and Adam Smith. Along the way, we encounter histories, dialogues, legal and theoretical writings, pamphlets and sermons. We engage with several recurring themes, including Anglo-Scottish relations, the nature of royal authority, the rights of rulers and their subjects.
The main emphasis of the course is on the close reading of specified extracts from the sources. These texts are discussed in seminars and will be the focus of the two assessed essays. The course concludes with a three-hour exam, in which students comment on passages from the specified sources.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| A pass in 40 credits of third level historical courses or equivalent.
Before enrolling students on this course, PTs are asked to contact the History Honours Admission Administrator to ensure that a place is available (Tel: 504030).
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2020/21, Not available to visiting students (SS1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 44,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 8,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
2 x 1,500 word Source Commentary Exercise (15% each)
2 x 4,000 word Essay (35% each)
||Students are expected to discuss their coursework with the Course Organiser at least once prior to submission, and are encouraged to do so more often. Meetings can take place with the Course Organiser during his published office hours or by appointment. Students will also receive feedback on their coursework, and will have the opportunity to discuss that feedback further with the Course Organiser.
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- demonstrate, by way of coursework, a detailed understanding of early modern Scottish political thought;
- demonstrate, by way of coursework, an ability to read, analyse and reflect critically upon scholarship relating to early modern Scottish political thought;
- demonstrate, by way of coursework, an ability to understand, evaluate and utilise a variety of primary source material;
- demonstrate, by way of coursework, the ability to develop and sustain scholarly arguments, by formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence;
- demonstrate independence of mind, initiative, intellectual integrity and maturity.
Extracts from sources including:
J. Knox, On Rebellion, ed. R.A. Mason (Cambridge, 1994)
G. Buchanan, A Dialogue of the Law of Kingship among the Scots, ed. R. A. Mason and M.S. Smith (Aldershot, 2004)
James VI and I, Political Writings, ed. J.P. Sommerville (Cambridge, 1994)
A. Fletcher, Political Works, ed. J. Robertson (Cambridge, 1997)
D. Hume, Essays (various editions)
A. Smith, Wealth of Nations (various editions)
R.A. Mason, Kingship and the Commonweal: Political Thought in Renaissance and Reformation Scotland (East Linton, 1998)
J. H. Burns, The True Law of Kingship: Concepts of Monarchy in Early-Modern Scotland (Oxford, 1996)
J. Coffey, Politics, Religion and the British Revolutions: The Mind of Samuel Rutherford (Cambridge, 1997)
J. Robertson (ed.), A Union for Empire: Political Thought and the British Union of 1707 (Cambridge, 1995)
J. Moore, 'Natural rights in the Scottish Enlightenment', in M. Goldie and R. Wokler (eds.), The Cambridge History of Eighteenth-Century Political Thought (Cambridge, 2006)
D. Winch, Adam Smith's Politics: An Essay in Historiographic Revision (Cambridge, 1978)
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
|Course organiser||Dr Alasdair Raffe
Tel: (0131 6)51 4269
|Course secretary||Miss Lorna Berridge