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The Government of Scotland 1560-1625$
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Julian Goodare

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199243549

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199243549.001.0001

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The Body Politic

The Body Politic

Chapter:
(p.42) CHAPTER TWO The Body Politic
Source:
The Government of Scotland 1560-1625
Author(s):

Julian Goodare (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199243549.003.0003

The body politic in 16th-century Scotland, as elsewhere in Europe, was a segmented creature. To be members of the Scottish political community, people had also to be members of another, more limited, community: their estate. The traditional rights of the estates did not depend on the crown. The essence of a medieval parliament was an assembly of the privileged classes, defending the special rights of their estate against both common people and crown. This chapter looks at the various social and political groups constituting Scottish government. The traditional ‘three estates’ of clergy, nobles, and royal burghs are considered, particularly how they functioned as interest groups and how their privileges became more dependent on the state. Three new interest groups gained in influence: lawyers and lairds, the latter of whom became a fourth estate in 1587, and agents of England. All related to government, either through participation in its internal processes, or through lobbying to get what they wanted.

Keywords:   government, body politic, parliament, England, estates, clergy, nobles, royal burghs, interest groups

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