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A Party Built on Bigotry Alone? The Scottish Board of Dissenters and Edinburgh Liberalism, 1834–56

A Party Built on Bigotry Alone? The Scottish Board of Dissenters and Edinburgh Liberalism, 1834–56 By assessing the Central Board of Dissenters, arguably the most influential liberal-voluntary group of the mid-nineteenth century and the political wing of Scottish dissent, this article questions whether the Liberal party in Edinburgh was indeed built on ‘bigotry alone’, and asks whether the groups that would later form the backbone of Scottish Liberalism until the Great War were, as John Brown claimed, the enemies of all oppressions and monopolies, or simply the products of sectarian strife. The Central Board of Dissenters acted as the conduit for ecclesiastical and political organisation for Edinburgh's radical voluntaries during the bitter conflict of the pre-Disruption period, and utilised this organisational strength after 1843 to create a pan-dissenting alliance based on the anti-Maynooth campaign. Despite their foundations in the intra-Presbyterian strife of Victorian Scotland, the electoral successes of this period created a base both in Edinburgh and across Scotland for a Liberal party, once it threw off the ideological shackles of these denominational struggles, which would dominate Scottish politics until the Great War. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Scottish Historical Studies Edinburgh University Press

A Party Built on Bigotry Alone? The Scottish Board of Dissenters and Edinburgh Liberalism, 1834–56

Journal of Scottish Historical Studies , Volume 41 (2): 28 – Nov 1, 2021

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Publisher
Edinburgh University Press
Copyright
Copyright © Edinburgh University Press
ISSN
1748-538X
eISSN
1755-1749
DOI
10.3366/jshs.2021.0328
Publisher site
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Abstract

By assessing the Central Board of Dissenters, arguably the most influential liberal-voluntary group of the mid-nineteenth century and the political wing of Scottish dissent, this article questions whether the Liberal party in Edinburgh was indeed built on ‘bigotry alone’, and asks whether the groups that would later form the backbone of Scottish Liberalism until the Great War were, as John Brown claimed, the enemies of all oppressions and monopolies, or simply the products of sectarian strife. The Central Board of Dissenters acted as the conduit for ecclesiastical and political organisation for Edinburgh's radical voluntaries during the bitter conflict of the pre-Disruption period, and utilised this organisational strength after 1843 to create a pan-dissenting alliance based on the anti-Maynooth campaign. Despite their foundations in the intra-Presbyterian strife of Victorian Scotland, the electoral successes of this period created a base both in Edinburgh and across Scotland for a Liberal party, once it threw off the ideological shackles of these denominational struggles, which would dominate Scottish politics until the Great War.

Journal

Journal of Scottish Historical StudiesEdinburgh University Press

Published: Nov 1, 2021

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