Scottish Origins of British Unionism: John Mair



A Force For Good is re-publishing, and developing, our "Scottish Origins of British Unionism" series and our "Scottish Desire for Union" series which appeared on our Legacy Site between 2015 and 2017, written by John Provan who has an MA (Hons) in History.


Our articles highlight the extent to which – and despite what Scottish nationalists try to pretend:

1. British unionism is disproportionately a Scottish innovation.

2. The idea of Britain as one nation, the idea of being a Briton, the identity of British, and a culture of Britishness, existed long before the Parliamentary Union of 1 May 1707, and even prior to the Union of the Crowns on 24 March 1603.

3. There were – and are – many reasons to support union.

4. The story of Britain is the story of union.


Our first re-published article by John Proven examines the vision of John Mair, an early Scottish exponent of British Unionism.


The Index for our British History material is at this link.


Pic above shows our Jubilee Street Stall on the Royal Mile on 11 June 2022.


One of the earliest roots of unionist thought can be found in the works of the Scottish philosopher, John Mair (aka John Major) who lived c. 1467-1550.


Long before the Union of 1707, or even the Union of the Crowns in 1603, John Mair of Haddington argued for a union between Scotland and England.


Mair's History of Greater Britain, published in 1521 as 'Historia majoris Britanniae, tam Angliae quam Scotiae', contains many proposals on what such a union might look like, the benefits it would bring, and how it might be achieved.


The work is an impressive feat. It provides a chronological account of British history from the times of the very first settlement, to the ancient Celts, to the Romans, to the Saxon and Norman invasions, to Wallace and Bruce, and up until his own day.


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