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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

Summer 2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of History


With the modern events concerning nationalism in Scotland, it is worth asking how Scottish nationalism was formed. Many proponents of the leading Modernist theory of nationalism would suggest that nationalism could not have existed before the late eighteenth century, or without the rise of modern phenomena like industrialization and globalization. However, and examination of the medieval period of Scottish history illustrates a very strong sense of national sentiment in Scotland as early as the thirteenth century. This was clearly evident by Alexander III’s inauguration as King of Scots upon the Stone of Destiny at Scone in 1249. The wars of independence that were to follow that event led to a solidifying of Scottish national identity and Scottish nationalism. From the medieval period onward, one can see a continuum of Scottish nationalism that has lasted until the present. This Scottish nationalism has been driven by the symbols that the Scots have used to assert their Scottish distinctiveness that they see as justification for their right to self-determination. All this places Scottish nationalism within the Ethnosymbolic theory of nationalism. To reach these conclusions many primary sources were consulted including the Declaration of Arbroath, Daniel Defoe’s Writings on Travel Discovery and History, and recent newspaper articles concerning the coming referendum on Scottish Independence in the Autumn of 2014. These conclusions should inspire a more thorough examination of medieval sources for the possible presence of nationalism. Theories, such as the Modernist theory of nationalism, should only be consulted after the evidence is examined and evidence should never be molded to fit a modern idea.

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