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Event | Ted Cowan ~ The Declaration of Arbroath

27th April 2020

Live online event

Ted Cowan ~ The Declaration of Arbroath: 'For Freedom Alone'

Saturday 2 May

2pm via Zoom

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In partnership with The Old Bank Bookshop

To celebrate what would have been Wigtown’s Spring Book Weekend, Professor Ted Cowan discusses one of the cornerstones of Scotland’s history - and one of the key texts in the story of democracy.

The Declaration of Arbroath, 6 April, 1320, is one of the most remarkable documents to have been produced anywhere in medieval Europe. Signed by 51 Scottish nobles, it confirms Scotland’s status as an independent sovereign state with the right to use military action if unjustly attacked.

Quoted by many, understood by few, its historical significance has now almost been overtaken by its mythic status. Since 1998, the US Senate has claimed that the American Declaration of Independence is modelled upon “the inspirational document” of Arbroath. This is the first book- length study to examine the origins of the Declaration and the ideas upon which it drew, while tracing the rise of its mythic status in Scotland and exploring its impact upon revolutionary America.

Edward Cowan is an Honorary Research Fellow in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies in Dumfries. Until 2009 he was Professor of Scottish History and Director of the Crichton Campus. He has written widely on the history of Viking Scotland, early modern Scottish political thought, Scottish popular culture and Scottish emigration history. He lives in Glasgow.


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