Fiscal revolution and state formation in mid seventeenth-century Scotland


  • Laura A. M. Stewart

    1. Birkbeck, University of London
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    • The research for this article was carried out with the assistance of a British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellowship. I would like to thank Michael Braddick and Julian Swann for reading earlier drafts, and Jenny Wormald, Julian Goodare and D'Maris Coffman for discussion of key points.


The rebellion against Charles I that began in Scotland in 1637 became the catalyst for a series of wars that spanned his British dominions. This article will show that the civil wars of the mid seventeenth century created the conditions for a fiscal revolution in Scotland. A preliminary analysis of the central and local government structures that enabled superior resource extraction suggests that the sixteen-forties was a period of accelerated development in the formation of the Scottish state. Although the parliamentary regime governing the country from 1638 did not survive the English invasion of 1650–1, its financial innovations would influence subsequent regimes for the rest of the century.