Richard Marsden’s article in Parliaments, Estates and Representations

Dr. Richard Marsden, Lecturer in History and Staff Tutor, has published Scottish parliamentary record scholarship in the devolutionĀ era. In 1707 Scotlandā€™s parliament ceased to exist. Yet it has since been the subject of two monumental acts of record scholarship; the Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland (1814-1875) in the nineteenth century and the Records of the Parliaments of Scotland (2007) in the twenty-first. Using the first of these as a touchstone, this article examines the ways in which the records of the pre-1707 parliament are presented, positioned and interpreted in the second. Unlike the nineteenth-century edition, which was produced in an era when adherence to the 1707 Act of Union with England went all but unquestioned, the twenty-first-century version was created during a period of constitutional devolution amidst a national debate over the question of independence from the United Kingdom. Approaching this new edition of parliamentary records as a cultural product, shaped and informed by the context in which it was created, therefore enables us to learn much about how the relationship between history and national identity in Scotland has changed since its predecessor was published. From there, the article questions the assumption that present-day understandings of Scottish identity are primarily civic and forward-looking, and argues that they are in fact partly based on claims which, whether secessionist or devolutionist, are fundamentally historical.