This is no Mine Ain House: Scottish Nationalism and the Union
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Scotland's place within Great Britain has come under increasing strain. Scottish independence from Britain remains an important topic, with the last referendum for Scottish independence in 2014 declaring “No” by a fairly close margin. The discussion seems a little skewed though, especially in regards to history. The union of the two crowns in 1603 was under a Scottish king, not an English one. Furthermore, the “traditional Scotland” of bagpipes, tartan, and haggis more properly belong to the Highlands and their clans; Lowland regions have historically wielded much more power and repressed the Highlands more often than not. My thesis will accordingly seek to discover how the transition occurred from “equal” to “victim” within the context of the nationalist spirit, specifically within a historical and literary context. Particular texts that will be used to highlight this shift will include the Declaration of Arbroath; The Brus; and Waverley, or 'Tis Sixty Years Since. Anderson's “Imagined communities” and Smith's thoughts on national identity will also aid in grounding much of the historical evidence and the current state of nationalistic feelings in Scotland. The historical foundation of the essay will serve to reinforce this trend, as we see the problems of an industrializing society and the ramifications of poverty parlaying into the imagination of Scotland. The conclusion will point towards the mythologizing of Scotland's resistance to England and of the conceptual Highlander as a Romantic hero. This initial movement will be the spark that leads further and further along the idea of Scotland as first distinctly other, and then as the repressed and abused partner in the Union with a return to “traditional” Scottish values and resentment against the English. The hope attached to this exploration of the shift will be a move against the standard narrative. By exposing Scotland's true past instead of an imaginary (or real!) English bogeyman, Scotland can attempt to more accurately place itself within the larger context of Britain and Europe.