The purpose of this chapter is to trace the emergence of Scottish politics as it is currently understood. There are four sections, dealing with the eighteenth century, the nineteenth century, the growth of the welfare state in the twentieth century, and the campaigning for a Scottish Parliament since the 1960s. Although the main part of the chapter deals with the period since 1945, and especially the last 30 years or so, the roots of these recent developments lie far back in the early nineteenth century or before. This chapter is not a substitute for the many good histories of Scottish politics in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, but our intention is to take from these the events, processes and ways of thinking that had the most longlasting effects. Several of the topics in this chapter are expanded in later chapters: for example, party politics in Chapter 6, and the role of women in politics in Chapter 8.
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