When analyzing the importance of sectarianism within Unionist intellectual culture during the period of 1885-1965, it must be seen within both British and imperial contexts. Scotland’s public culture proudly identified with Presbyterianism as the nation’s established confession.
A significant contributor to literary representation of Anglo-Scottish Unionism was the prolific Andrew Lang (1844-1912) whose historical works valorized the Stuarts and judged the 1707 Union as an inevitable stadialist development necessary for Scotland’s advancement. Born to a petit-bourgeois family in Selkirk, the young Lang experienced a similar Borders upbringing to John Buchan’s formative years.
In the Twentieth century, the Conservative and Unionist Party proved itself to be an umbrella organization embracing different classes and viewpoints. Rather than narrowly dogmatic, the One Nation vision proved adaptable and broadly appealing to multiple constituencies. Creating this Conservative broad appeal came about through the untiring efforts of loyal parliamentarians and party organizers such as Sir John Eldon Gorst (1835-1916).
In the course of researching the history of Scottish Unionism in the early Twentieth Century, I’ve discovered a remarkable unanimity of major politicians’ acceptance of Keynesian economic thought.
In continuing my dissertation on Scottish Tory and Unionist Intellectual History, I’ve become fascinated by the Member of Parliament Walter Elliot.
Out of all the leaders of Scottish Unionism, John Buchan (who served as Canada's Governer-General) best popularised a distinct espirit of romanticized, oneiric High Toryism. Buchan especially conceptualised Scottish History in a distinctly sui generis style that proved immensely popular for both domestic and diasporic Scots.
Jonathan Paquette currently studies Modern British political and intellectual history at the University of St Andrews, Scotland.