Scottish republicanism

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Scottish republicanism (Scottish Gaelic : Poblachdas na h-Alba) is an ideology based on the belief that Scotland should be a republic, as opposed to being under the monarchy of the United Kingdom. This is usually proposed through either Scotland becoming an independent republic, or being part of a reformed Britain.

A republic is a form of government in which the country is considered a “public matter”, not the private concern or property of the rulers. The primary positions of power within a republic are not inherited, but are attained through democracy, oligarchy or autocracy. It is a form of government under which the head of state is not a hereditary monarch.

Monarchy of the United Kingdom Function and history of the British monarchy

The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy of the United Kingdom, its dependencies and its overseas territories. The current monarch and head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, who ascended the throne in 1952.

Independence condition of a nation, country, or state which exercises self-government, and usually sovereignty, over the territory

Independence is a condition of a person, nation, country, or state in which its residents and population, or some portion thereof, exercise self-government, and usually sovereignty, over the territory. The opposite of independence is the status of a dependent territory.


Although this is not explicitly part of the independence movement, support for a republic is most often through pro-independence organisations who advocate for Scotland to become an independent state with a democratically elected head of state, instead of the status quo in which the head of state is the British monarch.

Scottish independence is the political movement for Scotland to become a sovereign state independent from the United Kingdom. In 2014, a national referendum was held in Scotland. Voters were asked: "Should Scotland be an independent country?" 45 percent of voters answered "Yes" and 55 percent answered "No" with a turnout of 85 percent.

A head of state is the public persona who officially represents the national unity and legitimacy of a sovereign state. Depending on the country's form of government and separation of powers, the head of state may be a ceremonial figurehead or concurrently the head of government. In a parliamentary system the head of state is the de jure leader of the nation, and there is a separate de facto leader, often with the title of prime minister. In contrast, a semi-presidential system has both heads of state and government as the leaders de facto of the nation.


Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun is one of the most prominent pre-Union advocates of a Scottish republic, based on agrarian and patriarchal principles. [1] He was a major inspiration to Scottish Enlightenment philosopher Adam Ferguson, whose republican ideals were penned down in An Essay on the History of Civil Society (1767). [1]

Scottish Enlightenment intellectual movement in 18th-19th century Scotland

The Scottish Enlightenment was the period in 18th- and early-19th-century Scotland characterised by an outpouring of intellectual and scientific accomplishments. By the eighteenth century, Scotland had a network of parish schools in the Lowlands and four universities. The Enlightenment culture was based on close readings of new books, and intense discussions took place daily at such intellectual gathering places in Edinburgh as The Select Society and, later, The Poker Club as well as within Scotland's ancient universities.

Adam Ferguson Scottish philosopher and historian

Adam Ferguson, FRSE, also known as Ferguson of Raith, was a Scottish philosopher and historian of the Scottish Enlightenment.

<i>An Essay on the History of Civil Society</i> book by Adam Ferguson

An Essay on the History of Civil Society is a book by the Scottish Enlightenment philosopher Adam Ferguson, first published in 1767. The Essay established Ferguson's reputation in Britain and throughout Europe.

One of the foremost documentations of modern Scottish republicanism is the Declaration of Calton Hill, proclaimed on 9 October 2004, the same day that queen Elizabeth II opened the new Scottish Parliament Building at Holyrood. [2]

The Declaration of Calton Hill was a declaration calling for an independent Scottish Republic, created by the Scottish Socialist Party. It was declared on 9 October 2004, at Calton Hill in Edinburgh, at the same time that Queen Elizabeth II was officially opening the new Scottish Parliament Building at Holyrood.

Elizabeth II Queen of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms

Elizabeth II is Queen of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms.

Scottish Parliament Building Home of the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood, Edinburgh

The Scottish Parliament Building is the home of the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood, within the UNESCO World Heritage Site in central Edinburgh. Construction of the building commenced in June 1999 and the Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) held their first debate in the new building on 7 September 2004. The formal opening by Queen Elizabeth II took place on 9 October 2004. Enric Miralles, the Spanish architect who designed the building, died before its completion.

In the run-up to the 2014 independence referendum, the Radical Independence Campaign advocated an independent Scottish republic with an elected head of state, [3] instead of the continued union of crowns established with the English monarchy, predating the Acts of Union.

Radical Independence Campaign organization

The Radical Independence Campaign (RIC) is a political campaign promoting Scottish independence and left-wing politics. It was established at the Radical Independence Conference 2012 and officially constituted on 28 March 2015, and has been described as a "[bringing together of] the Scottish Greens, the Scottish Socialists, some of the more militant trade unionists, nuclear-disarmament campaigners and republicans".

Republicanism within the Independence Movement

Many people who advocate Scotland becoming a republic do so through their support for Scottish independence. This would entail Scotland becoming independent from the United Kingdom and instead of continuing the Union of Crowns that predate the political union, a republic would be formed, with an elected president assuming the role of the deposited monarch.

United Kingdom Country in Europe

The United Kingdom (UK), officially the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and sometimes referred to as Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi), the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world. It is also the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.

Most of the major political parties and organisations that advocate Scottish independence also advocate Scotland becoming an independent republic. These include:

Scotland's largest pro-independence party, the Scottish National Party, is not explicitly ideologically republican, though a large number of republican members exist, including Roseanna Cunningham, Christine Grahame and Rob Gibson.

British republicanism

Another concept for Scotland becoming a republic is through reform of the United Kingdom's constitutional status from a constitutional monarchy to a republican constitution. There is not an explicit link with British unionism, as this tends to advocate the Union of Crowns. This is a form of British republicanism which is supported by English politicians such as Dennis Skinner and Jeremy Corbyn, and advocacy groups such as Republic. There is not mainstream support for this concept in any Scottish political parties, and remains a personal position, unlike support for an independent Scottish republic which does have party support. Adam Tomkins is an example of a republican who supports a reformed Britain without monarchy [4] , however his opinion shifted after being elected for the Scottish Conservative & Unionist Party who are ardent supporters of the monarchy. [5]

See also

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  1. 1 2 van Gelderen, Martin; Skinner, Quentin (2005). Republicanism: A Shared European Heritage. Volume 2: The Values of Republicanism in Early Modern Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 197. ISBN   9780521672344 . Retrieved 28 June 2016.
  2. Lorna Martin (10 October 2004). "Holyrood survives birth pains". The Guardian . Retrieved 28 June 2016.
  3. "Radicals' new dawn with independence". The Herald . 25 November 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
  4. "Republic: Supporters". Republic. Archived from the original on 31 May 2009. Retrieved 31 May 2009.
  5. "From Roundhead to Cavalier: how Tory Scottish Secretary's advisor wanted to axe the Royal family".