The fifteenth century: the flowering
The national and cultural confidence of Scotland came to fruition in the fifteenth century, but it was neither easy nor peaceful. A succession of Stewart minorities aggravated the power balance between crown and barons and each king had to struggle to establish his rule. The Stewarts made some headway, and yet Douglas and Percy still ruled the Borders, while in the North-West the Clan Donald line claimed and held their own kingly rights as Lords of the Isles. Nevertheless, the royal right of succession gradually became established and accepted by almost all factions in Scotland. It was dearly bought: from James I to James IV no Stewart king lived beyond his prime and all of them died violently. Relationships with England were muted for the most part, but the capture of James I gave early notice that England still nursed hopes of suzerainty. Thus, it was English policy to encourage malcontents in Scotland and particularly to support the ambitions of the Lords of the Isles.
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