The Declaration of Arbroath


On this date in 1320, the Scottish people declared their Independence from England via the Declaration of Arborath.  In this document, the concept of the “consent of the governed” was first revealed.  In 1290, these was no heir to throne of the King of Scotland and among the squabbling of the local nobles, the King of England, Edward I, tried to rule the land.  This met with resistance by the Scottish people and it led to the famous battle of Bannockburn in 1314 which resulted in a decisive Scottish victory under Robert the Bruce. Unfortunately, for various reasons, Bruce was not universally recognized as the leader of the Scottish people and there were internal disputes.  The Declaration of Arborath was written to the Pope to plead for the recognition of the Scots as an independent people, to recognize Robert the Bruce as the leader of the Scots and to air its grievances of abuses under Edward I and Edward II.   The most famous line in the document was the following: “Yet if he should give up what he has begun, and agree to make us or our kingdom subject to the King of England or the English, we should exert ourselves at once to drive him out as our enemy and a subverter of his own rights and ours, and make some other man who was well able to defend us our King; for, as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom — for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.”

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