In the Fall of 2014, the government of Scotland will hold a referendum to discuss the topic of Scottish independence from the United Kingdom (The Week 2012). Questions arise as to whether Scotland can support itself as an independent nation, and whether the benefits of independence are worth the costs. While Scottish citizens' views toward independence have fluctuated through the years, often affected by the current status of the economy, the main concerns of the Scottish people are consistently of a financial nature (Ipsos MORI 2013). This paper will strive to address the history between Scotland and England, explain the potential costs and effects of Scottish independence, provide an explanation for the changing views of the Scottish people, and arrive at a conclusion to the question of whether or not Scotland will become an independent nation.
In order to understand the current push for independence, it is necessary to fully understand the ages-old relationship between the United Kingdom (UK) and Scotland. In the early 17th century, Queen Elizabeth I died unmarried and with no direct heir to the English throne. The crown was passed to the next heir, James VI, King of Scotland. This was the first time in history that England and Scotland were ruled by the same monarch. This brought about the idea of a union between Scotland and England, of which James VI was an advocate, though he died without achieving his goal (Parliament UK). He was succeeded by his son, Charles I, who did not express any desire to unite the countries. He instead turned his focus to gaining more power, attempting to force changes on the English and Scottish churches, which resulted in civil wars between the three kingdoms of the British Isles: England, Scotland, and Ireland. He was taken prisoner in England, where his captors forced him to agree to impose the Presbyterian religion in Britain in exchange for the Scottish Presbyterians support.