The General Assembly of the Kirk as a rival of the Scottish Parliament
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The accompanying thesis forms a study of the General Assembly as an influence not only upon Scottish Politics but upon Scottish Representative Institutions. The majority of writers upon the history of the Scottish Church stress the private influence of individuals, which while interesting in itself was in many cases extraneous to the general movements both in the Kirk and in the development of the representative principle both as applied to Kirk institutions and to Parliament and Conventions. Several writers have seen in the General Assembly a thoroughly democratic institution, which represented all classes of social life and which prepared the way for the ideal of a universal franchise. I have endeavoured to show that the General Assembly for the greater part of its development had little of this universal character and was rather the expression of an "Opposition" which was no more democratic in actual composition than the Parliament itself. The period 1560-1618 represents only part of the period upon which I originally began investigation. To cope with the century 1560-1660 I found that it would have been necessary to omit much manuscript material which was valuable for purposes of detail. I therefore limited the present thesis to the 58 years after the Reformation which saw the rise of the Assembly to full power 1592-96 and its subsequent decline, both as a political force and as a representative institution.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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