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dc.contributor.authorSaunders, [unknown]en
dc.date.accessioned2019-02-15T14:20:04Z
dc.date.available2019-02-15T14:20:04Z
dc.date.issued1939en
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1842/33824
dc.description.abstracten
dc.description.abstractThe Nineteenth Century in Scotland presents more than the usual quota of difficulties which beset the student of fairly recent modern history. There is an overwhelming amount of available material; there is a confused and expanding activity which requires interpretation, and any interpretation, however cautious, is bound to have its limitations and dangers. At one extreme is the detailed local interest which never risks a generalisation; at the other the easy acceptance of an inherited view as an adequate summary of a complex century. Yet in modern as in ancient times, the myth has its significance and the one which regards Scottish democratic sentiment as the most characteristic expression of the nation in the 19th century has some justification. At least, it is worth examination.en
dc.description.abstractIf the democratic idea is the major theme, it is one that is not easy to define. It has both a general and a local aspect. The Scottish movement in the first half of the 19th century was part of a West European and Trans -Atlantic change of attitude and value which was expressed in generalisations drawn from the experience of the later 1óth century. At the same time these universals acquired a local meaning. They were bound to a particular environment and tradition which they helped to change; they carried a current of sentiment and unified a diffused irritation. In the case of Scotland they were applied to the circumstances of a small country as self- conscious as Switzerland or the Netherlands or New England but one that was at the same time increasingly caught up in a wider movement of change. The problem is to realise the particular meaning of the great generalisations in this specific local and temporal situation.en
dc.description.abstractFor the purposes of this exposition a simple ad hoc definition of democracy is sufficient. I have taken two positions as typical of the place and the period. The first is that a democratic society was desirable as securing equality of opportunity and a consequent social mobility, as opposed to the privilege and fixity of an ancien regime. The second is to the effect that a democratic society would be distinguished by a peculiar quality of living: that each component individual would be able to become a person, enlightened and responsable: that a common culture would be shared and so shared would both satisfy and unite. This was asserted against an aristocratic pattern of living that was regarded as exclusive and immoral. In the first half of the 19th century these two democratic principles were regarded as compatible. It was assumed that a society which applied them would be a just and harmonious one: its members would be at once free, rational and amiable. It would be a society of equals and friends, so that the agencies of coercion would wither away as unnecessary or be rejected as perverting and tyrannical.en
dc.description.abstractThese optimistic assumptions have to be examined in relation to Scottish developments during a limited period, that of the post -war generation, from the approach of peace in 1814 through the ascending arc of the Reform movement to the economic crisis of 1837. The developments have to be selected as being both of intrinsic importance and in some way testing the democratic assumptions. I have examined four. The first is the change in Scottish rural life from 1815 to 1830 as affecting the range of opportunity and the quality of living in the countryside. The second is the urban and industrial expansion of the period, not yet grasped in its entirety or generalised as "urbanism" or "industrialism" but exhibiting a confusing range of success and failure. The third theme is the creation of an urban way of living, a problem which precedes the industrial one in the public consciousness and which is given special prominence in the Scottish Lowlands by the contrasting developments of Edinburgh and Glasgow. The last subject is the role assigned to education, both primary and higher, in a changing society which had inherited a Reforming emphasis on the public provision of schooling. In this last connection I have examined the position of the Scottish universities and paid some attention to the expansion of the Scottish professional classes as one of the most important developments of the period.en
dc.description.abstractThe years between 1814 and 1837 are characterised by a multiform activity. This must be conveyed since it helps, to explain the intellectual difficulties and limitations of the reforming movements. In the countryside a new regime is spreading, but only partially; in the towns, the extremes of wealth and poverty, virtue and dissipation face each other; the country prides itself on its intellectual tradition and its educational facilities yet in the mid -Thirties Scotland was accused of being "a half- educated nation". It is surely necessary to attempt to reconstruct the confusing range of experience in this place and age, the contrasts between expectation and actuality that help to explain the hesitancies, the indifference, the complacency, which puzzle or antagonise those who a century later can see how things were going and what ought to have been done.en
dc.description.abstractI have therefore tried to let the period speak directly for itself. The exposition has been constructed from contemporary material. In the fairly elaborate notes I have indicated where the information comes from. Occasionally a point in the text has been developed or illustrated by the use of quotation. I hope I have been able to make clear the relevance of the treatment to the two guiding principles enunciated previously without calling attention to the connection at every step.en
dc.description.abstractSome omissions have to be explained as deliberate. For example, the examination of the way of living of such working-class groups as the weavers, the cotton spinners and the miners is limited, and the special development of working -class culture in such towns as Paisley or Dunfermline is inadequately treated. Nor in the discussion on education have I considered the experience of the self -educated like Robert and William Chambers or the adult education movement in the towns or the amateur scientists like Hugh Miller or Robert Dick. But I am at present concerned only with the institutional environment and the problems it presented. It is hoped to be able to examine the positive movement of democratic idea and policy later and in detail.en
dc.description.abstractI am very conscious of the difficulties of the subject. A local enthusiasm will at once detect the limitations of the treatment and be able to cite proof or disproof or to supply more convincing illustration. Nothing can replace that intangible quality of familiarity with a landscape, a town, an institution or a tradition which comes to those who have lived and worked with it. But the rashness of a more general view may be justified if it evokes a local criticism based on a more intimate knowledge.en
dc.publisherThe University of Edinburghen
dc.relation.ispartofAnnexe Thesis Digitisation Project 2019 Block 22en
dc.relation.isreferencedbyen
dc.titleStudies in the social and intellectual background of Scottish democracy, 1815-1840en
dc.typeThesis or Dissertationen
dc.type.qualificationlevelDoctoralen
dc.type.qualificationnameDLitt Doctor of Lettersen


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