This book is a reassessment of Scottish politics and society in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century. Neil Davidson argues that Scotland experienced a revolution during this period that has rarely been recognised in the existing historiography.
Davidson explores the political and economic changes of these years, revealing how social and economic power was transferred from one class to another. He describes how Scotland was transformed from a backward and feudal economy to a new centre of emergent capitalism.
He traces the economic and social crisis that led to Scotland's incorporation into the Union in 1707, but argues that the Union did not lead to the transformation of Scottish society. The decisive period was instead the aftermath of the last Jacobite revolt in 1746, whose failure was integral to the survival and consolidation of British, and ultimately global capitalism.