In British imperial history, “union” signifies the idea of combining smaller legislative units into a larger one. Specifically, it referred to the Scottish Union of 1707, by which the Scottish Parliament voted itself out of existence and Scotland acquired seats in the Union Parliament at Westminster. By the Act of Union of 1800, the Irish Parliament did the same. The Scottish Union, despite periodic Jacobite risings, at length successfully integrated Scotland into the United Kingdom. The Irish Union was notably less successful and eventually disintegrated following the Easter rising of 1916 and the Anglo-Irish treaty of 1921. The idea of Union was in many ways a liberal idea, as it sought to downplay national differences, and to eliminate corrupt and aristocratically dominated local legislatures, by including Scots and Irish alongside the Welsh and the English as ostensible equals represented in the “mother of Parliaments” at Westminster.
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    Morgan, Kenneth O., ed. Oxford History of Britain. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.


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