Who were the Jacobites and what did they want for Scotland? (Public lecture)

Two of Scotland’s most eminent historians will debate the intentions and legacy of the Jacobites when a University of Dundee research centre hosts the first in a nationwide lecture series exploring the country’s past.

‘Who were the Jacobites and what did they want for Scotland?’ will see Dundee’s Professor Christopher Whatley and Professor Murray Pittock, of the University of Glasgow, tackle these questions at the Apex Hotel, City Quay, on Tuesday 24 April.

It is the inaugural event in the History Scotland Lectures series, which has been developed in association with the University’s Centre for Scottish Culture. These free public talks will take place across the country in order to provide Scottish history enthusiasts with insights into the latest research on a range of topics.

Professors Whatley and Pittock are two of the leading experts on 18th century Scotland and, in this debate, they will discuss the nature of Jacobitism and how the movement saw Scotland and Britain. The event will be chaired by Michael Russell MSP.

“The 2014 independence referendum pushed Scottish history into the foreground of the debate about national identity,” said Dr Allan Kennedy, of the Centre for Scottish Culture. “As such, the memory of the Jacobites tends to be seen through nationalist or unionist prisms.

“It is simplistic to view Jacobinism as a sort of 18th-century independence movement, however. There were many complex issues of nationalism, religion, power, culture and dynasty bound up in it. Much of our contemporary understanding of the Jacobites is rooted in myth and our two very eminent speakers will, from their own very different perspectives, explore who exactly they were and what their vision was for Scotland.”

The Jacobite movement emerged from the overthrow of the Catholic king, James VII of Scotland and II of England, in favour of his Protestant daughter and son-in-law, Mary II and William of Orange, during the ‘Glorious’ revolution of 1688-89. Jacobites (named after the Latin for James, Jacobus) sought to restore James and his heirs to the British and Irish thrones.

During the late 17th and 18th centuries, the Jacobites were responsible for innumerable plots and conspiracies against William and Mary and their successors. They also fought a devastating civil war in Ireland during the 1690s, and mounted four armed insurrections in Britain – mainly Scotland – in 1689-91, 1715, 1719 and 1745-6. The movement effectively came to an end with the Jacobites’ defeat at the battle of Culloden in April 1746.

The History Scotland Lectures have been initiated by History Scotland magazine and the Centre for Scottish Culture.

‘Who were the Jacobites and what did they want for Scotland?’ takes place at the Apex Hotel in Dundee on Tuesday 24 April. The event is free and open to all, although anyone interested in attending is asked to reserve their place by emailing editorial@historyscotland.com or calling 0113 200 2922.

More information about the History Scotland Lectures is available from https://www.historyscotland.com/information/history-scotland-lectures/