Spirit of the Union
The 'Radical War' of 1820 holds a prominent place in Scottish culture but an uneasy one in Scottish historiography. In recent times it has provided slogans for SNP activists and inspiration for trade unionists, whilst outside the political sphere, it has inspired plays, poetry, novels and paintings. Given this pervasive presence in politics and culture, a re-examination of the event and its legacy is overdue. Pentland's study has three key aims: to place the uprising in a wider context by exploring the modes of extra-parliamentary politics between 1815 and 1820 as well as the situation outside Scotland, to provide the first full and referenced account of the rising itself, and to examine the legacies of both the politics of 1815-20 and the Radical War. Pentland argues that a thorough evaluation of this crucial yet little understood - and much mythologized - period in Scottish history will make a significant contribution to our understanding of popular politics in early nineteenth-century Britain.
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