Scotland and the American Revolution, c.1763-c.1783 (SS) HIST4274

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 60
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Runs Throughout Semesters 1 and 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course explores how, and with what consequences, Scottish society reacted to 'the imperial crisis' of the 1760s to 1780s which resulted in the emergence of an independent United States of America in 1783. Topics covered include: contrasting interpretations of Scotland's place within the American Revolution; critical reassessments of Scottish commercial, migratory and intellectual links with British North America and the wider Empire; the extent and changing character of pro- and anti-Patriot sentiment in Scotland; the role of Scots and Scottish immigrant communities in the Revolutionary War; and the Revolution's impact upon Scottish politics, religion, economy and identities.


1x3 hrs per week over 20 weeks as scheduled on MyCampus. This is of the Honours options in History, and may not run every year. The options running this session are available on MyCampus

Requirements of Entry

Successful completion of Junior Honours in History, and by arrangement to visiting students or students of other Honours programmes who qualify under the University's 25% regulation.

Excluded Courses





Two Examinations (2-hour duration) - 30% each

Two Essays (2,500 words) - 10% each

Two Seminar Presentations (20 minutes) accompanied by materials as advised in course instructions - 6% each

Two responses to peer seminar presentations (written up in 300 words) - 4% each

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ Develop a broad and critical knowledge of the role of Scotland and Scots in the origins, progression, and outcome of the American Revolution.

■ Develop and apply professional and practical skills such as the selection, sifting, and synthesis of information from a wide range of primary and secondary sources.

■ Familiarise students, through review and criticism of a range of primary sources, with problems of interpretation, underlying meanings and intentions associated with historical evidence (written, visual and material);

■ Work as part of a group, including respecting and interacting with the reasoned views of others, while managing responsibility for one's own learning.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Apply a broad and critical awareness of Scottish society's interaction with the origins, ideals, politics, conflicts and aftermaths of the American Revolution.

■ Explain and assess different historical interpretations relating to Scottish involvement in the American Revolution, and the implication of such interpretations for theories on the British 'imperial crisis.'

■ Illustrate thorough knowledge of the relevant primary and secondary sources, and the problems of interpretation arising from these sources.

■ Evaluate, different types of primary evidence relevant to different aspects of the subject.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.