Constitutional radicalism in Scotland and Ireland in the era of the American Revolution c.1760-1789
The main objective of this body of work is to define and delineate radical activity in Scotland and Ireland c. 1760-1789 and through this to assess the nature and construction of the contemporary British identity. In their various campaigns Scottish and Irish radicals held the restoration of the lustre of the British constitutional system and the promotion of integrity and propriety in the British state as both motives for, and objectives of, their actions. These radicals sought a restoration of what they perceived to be the post-Glorious Revolution constitutional system. Their actions and writings were based on the premise that the propriety of the British constitution had been compromised by Westminister in the years after 1691. Following a near seventy year long gestation period, Scottish and Irish constitutional grievances were galvanised in the years after the end of the Seven Years' War by the North American colonial challenge to Westminster's constitutional vision. Scotsmen and Irishmen impugned the civil, ecclesiastical and political constitution which had been imposed upon them. Each campaign was an assertion of contemporaneous perceptions of the rights of Britons, or perhaps more accurately an assessment of what Britishness was, contrasted to what it they believed it should have been.