A New British History? Gabriel Glickman Professionalisation of history linked to rise of the nation state • First professorships in History = government appointments at Oxford and Cambridge. • Irish Free State – government ministers determine school history curriculum. Modern meaning of ‘nationhood’ • Nation state = sovereign legal authority. • Nationhood denotes belonging: distinguishing element of human identity. • But – neither of these elements so clearcut in the nations of Early Modern Europe. Theories of nationhood • Anthony Smith – nations needs common ethno-cultural core, ‘ethnie’. • Benedict Anderson – ‘imagined communities’: nations the product of the modern world and changing patterns of communication. • Eric Hobsbawm – nations the product of power elites and state formation. The problem of British history • Linda Colley, Britons: Forging the Nation (1992) – Britain an artificial, nation, ‘forged’ by C18th imperial state. • ‘British history’ therefore a problematic concept for Early Modern period. • AJP Taylor – argues that ‘British history’ an anachronistic concept before establishment of United Kingdom. The ‘New British History’ • Key historians J.G.A. Pocock, John Morrill, Brendan Bradshaw. • Aim to find framework for writing ‘British history’ before establishment of the British state. • Argue that British history meaningful because of history of interaction and movement of people around ‘Atlantic Archipelago’. • Events in one domain influence events in another e.g. throne of England taken by a Welshman in 1485 and a Scotsman in 1603. Britain as part of a ‘Europe of composite monarchies’(J.H. Elliott) • 1453 - French absorption of old Plantagenet territories e.g. Guyenne, Brittany. • 1469 – Union of Aragon and Castile • 1500 – Holy Roman Empire divided into six ‘imperial circles’ with own parliaments. • 1514 – Union of Denmark and Norway • 1569 – Union of Lublin • 1618 – Brandenburg-Prussia Creation of a composite monarchy in Britain • Aristocratic dynasties rule Anglo-Scottish borders e.g. Neville, Percy, Douglas families. • Wales – controlled by c. 130 Anglo-Norman ‘marcher lords’ after 1282. • Ireland – government after 1177 centred on the Pale, controlled by Anglo-Norman magnates esp. Fitzgerald earls of Kildare and Desmond. • North and West of Ireland ruled by Gaelic clans e.g. O’Neill (Ulster), O’Brien (County Clare) Cultural and ethnic division in Scotland • Four separate languages still spoken in Scotland by c. 1450. • Emerging division of Lowlands (Anglophone) and Highlands (ruled by Gaelic-speaking clans). • 1521 – John Mair, History of Greater Britain: ‘Among the Scots we find two distinct tongues, so we likewise find two different ways of life and conduct’. • Highland power held especially by MacDonald Lords of the Isles. Royal centralisation in England and Scotland pre-1558 • 1496 – James IV of Scotland abolishes the Lordship of the Isles (powerbase of Clan MacDonald). • 1536-1543 – Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell enact legal and political union of England and Wales: abolish powers of the marcher lords. • 1541 – Centralisation in Ireland: English army and administration imposed in Dublin; policy of ‘surrender and regrant’. Anglo-Scottish rivalry • English monarchs had claimed rights to throne of Scotland since reign of Edward I. • 1544-5 – ‘Rough Wooing’: Henry VIII tries to force Scottish noblemen into accepting marriage of (English) Prince Edward to (Scottish) Queen Mary. • 1559-1587 - Scottish queen Mary Stuart claims throne of England against Elizabeth I. External factors change relations within British Isles • Impact of the Reformation – division of Christian world into rival Catholic and Protestant camps. • Influence of Europe – rival kings and emperors impact on British politics; people in British Isles maintain European allegiances and identities esp. over religion. - effect seen 1689 when William of Orange takes throne of British kingdoms; 1714 when George I succeeds Queen Anne. • Growth of an American Empire – need to see American colonies as part of the British polity.