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Towards political participation and capacity: elections, voting and representation in early modern Scotland

K.M. Brown

The Journal of Modern History. 2016;88:1-33.

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    Building democratic capacity within an accountable governance model presents a challenge in many states, and Western efforts to impose forms of parliamentary government often fails because of the broader democratic deficit within the political cultures of those states. Historians can offer some insight into the evolution of that capacity by examining societies in the past where forms of election, voting and representation were present, and where those practices led ultimately to the formation of political cultures in which democratic forms of government has deep roots.This paper examines the electoral and voting practices along with different forms of elected representatives in Scotland between the mid-sixteenth and the mid-eighteenth centuries.Types of practice are identified in relation to parliament, the law courts, church courts and burgh councils.The paper establishes a powerful indigenous tradition distinct from that of England that contributed to the wider evolution of governance in Great Britain and the British colonial possessions in North America. The discussion underlines the importance of deep-rooted and long-established electoral, voting and representative ideas in forming political cultures with high participation and resilient capacity.


    elections political capacity representation voting

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    Publishers licence
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    12 months
    Attached files release date:
    18th March, 2017
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    Created by:
    Kennedy, Allan
    16th December, 2014, 15:04:33
    Last modified by:
    Kennedy, Allan
    Last modified:
    18th March, 2016, 13:49:18

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