Robert the Bruce Fights for Scottish Independence Once Again: The Influence of Nationalism and Myth in Scotland's Modern Pursuit of Independence
Year of Graduation
Dr. Ashleigh Breske
Robert the Bruce, King of Scots from 1306-1329, led the Scottish to victory in the Wars of Independence against England. Today, the fight for Scottish Independence is alive and being led by the Scottish National Party (SNP) as they push for a second independence referendum. The first, in 2014, failed with 45% of Scots voting YES and 55% voting NO. Since Brexit, however, support for Scottish independence has consistently risen; polls in 2020 showed sustained majority support for Scottish independence for the first time in recent Scottish history. Nationalism, or the constructed ideology that is politically used to uphold a nation-state’s existence, is on the rise in Scotland. With this rising nationalism, there has been a resurgence of honoring Robert the Bruce mythology. Anniversaries of his accomplishments, the Battle of Bannockburn and the Declaration of Arbroath, have been celebrated. Films about his life, glorifying his fight against the British, have been released. Heritage sites memorializing his legacy have been built. Media outlets and politicians have even explicitly referenced Robert the Bruce when discussing the modern-day push for independence. This paper examines the connection between nationalism, myth, and sovereignty through a content and discourse analysis of news media, films, heritage sites, anniversary celebrations, and SNP rhetoric. This analysis reveals that the recent glorification of Robert the Bruce’s legacy reflects and amplifies Scottish nationalism, a force driving the fight for an independent Scotland.
Hintz, Claire, "Robert the Bruce Fights for Scottish Independence Once Again: The Influence of Nationalism and Myth in Scotland's Modern Pursuit of Independence" (2021). Undergraduate Honors Theses, Hollins University. 32.
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