The Political and Economic Contest and Context: Scotland and England Before the Union

  • Aida Ramos
Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of Economic Thought book series (PHET)


This chapter discusses the political and economic pressures Scotland faced that led to the creation of the Union. It focuses on issues related to trade and sovereignty. The political and economic disadvantages to Scotland’s trade due to the Union of the Crowns are highlighted. The mercantilist actions and countermoves of each country are examined in the practices of the Company of Scotland in the founding of the Darien project and English attempts to thwart it. Scotland’s reassertion of its sovereignty to regain control of its trade policy in the Act of Security is explained. Increasing tension between England and Scotland over control of overseas trade and the structurally violent Alien Act are explored as immediate causes of the opening of the negotiations of Union.


Union Mercantilism Act of Security Alien Act Darien Company of Scotland Trade Surplus Balance of trade Structural violence Union of the Crowns 


  1. Abercromby, P. 1706. The Advantages of the Act of Security, Compar’d with these of the Intended Union. Edinburgh.Google Scholar
  2. Armitage, David. 1995. Intellectual Origins of the Darien Venture. In A Union for Empire, ed. J. Robertson, 97–118. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Black, D. 1706. An Essay Upon Industry and Trade. Edinburgh: James Watson.Google Scholar
  4. Black, W. 1706. Answer to a Letter Concerning Trade. Edinburgh.Google Scholar
  5. The Case of Mr. William Paterson in Relation to His Claim on the Equivalent. 1708. Edinburgh.Google Scholar
  6. Clerk, J. 1706. A Letter to a Friend, Giving an Account How the Treaty of Union Has Been Received Here. Edinburgh.Google Scholar
  7. ———. 1892. Memoirs of the Life of Sir John Clerk of Pennicuik, ed. J. Gray. Edinburgh: T. and A. Constable for the Scottish History Society.Google Scholar
  8. ———. 1993. History of the Union of Scotland and England, trans. and ed. D. Duncan. Edinburgh: The Scottish History Society.Google Scholar
  9. Company of Scotland. 1704. Warrant for the Capture of the East India Ship ‘Worcester’. In Darien Shipping Papers, ed. G.P. Insh. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press for the Scottish History Society, 1924.Google Scholar
  10. Dalrymple, J. 1768. Memoirs of Great Britain and Ireland. Vol. 2. Edinburgh: J. Bell and W. Creech.Google Scholar
  11. Devine, T.M. 1985. The Union of 1707 and Scottish Development. Scottish Economic and Social History 5 (28): 23–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ferguson, W. 1974. Imperial Crowns: A Neglected Facet of the Background of the Treaty of Union of 1707. Scottish Historical Review 53 (155): 22–44.Google Scholar
  13. Grant, F. 1707. The Patriot Resolved. Edinburgh.Google Scholar
  14. Lenman, B. 1980. The Jacobite Risings in Britain, 1689–1746. Edinburgh: Holmes and Meier.Google Scholar
  15. A Letter from a Member of Parliament to his Friend in the Country. 1704. London: Booksellers of London and Westminster.Google Scholar
  16. Lockhart, G. 1714. Memoirs Concerning the Affairs of Scotland from Queen Anne’s Accession to the Throne to the Commencement of the Union. London: Booksellers of London and Westminster.Google Scholar
  17. MacInnes, A. 2007. Union and Empire: The Making of the United Kingdom in 1707. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. MacKenzie, G. 1706. A Letter from the Earl of Cromartie to the Earl of Wharton Concerning the Union. Edinburgh.Google Scholar
  19. Murphy, A. 1997. John Law: Economic Theorist and Policy-Maker. Oxford: The Clarendon Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Paterson, W. 1699. Report of Matters Relating to the Colony of Caledonia. In Darien Shipping Papers, ed. G.P. Insh. Edinburgh: University Press for the Scottish History Society, 1924.Google Scholar
  21. ———. 1701. Proposals & Reasons for Constituting a Council of Trade. Edinburgh.Google Scholar
  22. ———. 1706. Dialogues Upon the Union. In The Writings of William Paterson, ed. S. Bannister, 163–251. London: Effingham Wilson, 1858.Google Scholar
  23. Prebble, J. 1970. The Darien Disaster. Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  24. Records of the Parliament of Scotland to 1707. 1693–1705. Ed. K.M. Brown, et al. St. Andrews 2007–2018, available at Accessed 18 June 2018.
  25. Ridpath, G. 1704. An Account of the Proceedings of the Parliament of Scotland, Which Met at Edinburgh, May 6, 1703. Edinburgh.Google Scholar
  26. Scott, P.H. 1994. Andrew Fletcher and the Act of Union. Edinburgh: The Saltire Society.Google Scholar
  27. Smout, T.C. 1964. The Anglo-Scottish Union of 1707. I. The Economic Background. The Economic History Review 16 (3): 455–467.Google Scholar
  28. Somers, J. 1730. The True Secret History of the Lives of All the Kings and Queens of England, 2 vols. London: D. Browne.Google Scholar
  29. Watt, D. 2014. The Price of Scotland: Darien, Union, and the Wealth of Nations. Edinburgh: Luath Press Ltd.Google Scholar
  30. Whately, C. 2008. The Scots and the Union. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aida Ramos
    • 1
  1. 1.University of DallasIrvingUSA

Personalised recommendations