The Covenanting Legacy
The Covenanted confessional state was destroyed in 1651, but its influence on Scottish political identities was deep and long-lasting. In British and European terms, the Scottish Revolution was highly successful in that it established a stable and legitimate new government. Key features of the state that ‘formed’ during the 1640s were used by subsequent regimes. What of the political and social legacy? Although negative aspects are not ignored, a more positive overall interpretation is suggested here by charting the Covenant’s evolving legacy, from the Restoration regime’s attempt to reconstruct historical memory, through the 1707 Union and the Revolutionary era of the eighteenth century, into the modern democratic age. Although the Covenant is not a Scottish Magna Carta, and has been overshadowed in the popular imagination by the Declaration of Arbroath, its call to collective action in defence of a distinctively Scottish interpretation of the common good retains relevance today.
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