Acts Of Union And Disunion

Episodes

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20140114

On September 18th this year, the voters of Scotland will decide in a referendum whether they want their nation henceforth to be independent of the United Kingdom, or remain within the union that has bound Britain together since the Act of Union of 1707.

In "Acts of Union and Disunion", Linda Colley, Professor of History at the University of Princeton, examines the forces that bind together the diverse peoples, customs and loyalties of the United Kingdom. And the often equally powerful movements that from time to time across the centuries threaten to pull Britain apart.

Programme 7 North and South.

"Disparities between the North and the South in terms of wealth and living standards seem to go back at least to medieval times. A tendency to caricature and "other" the North also goes back centuries. Last year, a peer caused uproar in the House of Lords when he suggested that fracking - forcing open rocks so as to extract oil and gas - should be avoided in "sensitive" environments such as Sussex, and implemented instead in "desolate areas" like the English North-East. There are ample precedents for this kind of metropolitan mental distancing. Told that his army regiment was transferring from Brighton on the south coast, to Manchester, the London-born Regency dandy known as Beau Brummell protested only half-jokingly that he had not reckoned on having to serve abroad."

Producer: Simon Elmes.

20140114

On September 18th this year, the voters of Scotland will decide in a referendum whether they want their nation henceforth to be independent of the United Kingdom, or remain within the union that has bound Britain together since the Act of Union of 1707.

In "Acts of Union and Disunion", Linda Colley, Professor of History at the University of Princeton, examines the forces that bind together the diverse peoples, customs and loyalties of the United Kingdom. And the often equally powerful movements that from time to time across the centuries threaten to pull Britain apart.

Programme 7 North and South.

"Disparities between the North and the South in terms of wealth and living standards seem to go back at least to medieval times. A tendency to caricature and "other" the North also goes back centuries. Last year, a peer caused uproar in the House of Lords when he suggested that fracking - forcing open rocks so as to extract oil and gas - should be avoided in "sensitive" environments such as Sussex, and implemented instead in "desolate areas" like the English North-East. There are ample precedents for this kind of metropolitan mental distancing. Told that his army regiment was transferring from Brighton on the south coast, to Manchester, the London-born Regency dandy known as Beau Brummell protested only half-jokingly that he had not reckoned on having to serve abroad."

Producer: Simon Elmes.

Constitutions20140123

On September 18th this year, the voters of Scotland will decide in a referendum whether they want their nation henceforth to be independent of the United Kingdom, or remain within the union that has bound Britain together since the Act of Union of 1707.

In "Acts of Union and Disunion", Linda Colley, Professor of History at the University of Princeton, examines the forces that bind together the diverse peoples, customs and loyalties of the United Kingdom. And the often equally powerful movements that from time to time across the centuries threaten to pull Britain apart.

Programme 14: Constitutions

"The absence of a British written constitution has become so familiar that it is easily taken for granted, or treated as a subject for self-congratulation or (increasingly) for mockery. Yet, how did this now eccentric situation come about, and what does it tell us about identities and civic belonging in these islands?"

Producer: Simon Elmes.

Constitutions20140123

On September 18th this year, the voters of Scotland will decide in a referendum whether they want their nation henceforth to be independent of the United Kingdom, or remain within the union that has bound Britain together since the Act of Union of 1707.

In "Acts of Union and Disunion", Linda Colley, Professor of History at the University of Princeton, examines the forces that bind together the diverse peoples, customs and loyalties of the United Kingdom. And the often equally powerful movements that from time to time across the centuries threaten to pull Britain apart.

Programme 14: Constitutions

"The absence of a British written constitution has become so familiar that it is easily taken for granted, or treated as a subject for self-congratulation or (increasingly) for mockery. Yet, how did this now eccentric situation come about, and what does it tell us about identities and civic belonging in these islands?"

Producer: Simon Elmes.

England20140113

On September 18th this year, the voters of Scotland will decide in a referendum whether they want their nation henceforth to be independent of the United Kingdom, or remain within the union that has bound Britain together since the Act of Union of 1707.

In "Acts of Union and Disunion", Linda Colley, Professor of History at the University of Princeton, examines the forces that bind together the diverse peoples, customs and loyalties of the United Kingdom. And the often equally powerful movements that from time to time across the centuries threaten to pull Britain apart.

Programme 6: England

"Why exactly have the English been susceptible to periodic bouts of self-scrutiny and anxiety over identity? After all, in terms of geographical size and wealth, England has always been the preponderant country in these islands. In population terms, too, it has been the biggest player, and is becoming more so. Now, England contains over 53 million people, more than five times the total number in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland combined. As the onetime Prime Minister of Canada, Pierre Trudeau, once remarked of his country in relation to the United States, it is not comfortable being a mouse lying next to an elephant: "No matter how friendly or even-tempered is the beast...one is affected by every twitch and grunt".

Producer: Simon Elmes.

England20140113

On September 18th this year, the voters of Scotland will decide in a referendum whether they want their nation henceforth to be independent of the United Kingdom, or remain within the union that has bound Britain together since the Act of Union of 1707.

In "Acts of Union and Disunion", Linda Colley, Professor of History at the University of Princeton, examines the forces that bind together the diverse peoples, customs and loyalties of the United Kingdom. And the often equally powerful movements that from time to time across the centuries threaten to pull Britain apart.

Programme 6: England

"Why exactly have the English been susceptible to periodic bouts of self-scrutiny and anxiety over identity? After all, in terms of geographical size and wealth, England has always been the preponderant country in these islands. In population terms, too, it has been the biggest player, and is becoming more so. Now, England contains over 53 million people, more than five times the total number in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland combined. As the onetime Prime Minister of Canada, Pierre Trudeau, once remarked of his country in relation to the United States, it is not comfortable being a mouse lying next to an elephant: "No matter how friendly or even-tempered is the beast...one is affected by every twitch and grunt".

Producer: Simon Elmes.

Europe20140122

On September 18th this year, the voters of Scotland will decide in a referendum whether they want their nation henceforth to be independent of the United Kingdom, or remain within the union that has bound Britain together since the Act of Union of 1707.

In "Acts of Union and Disunion", Linda Colley, Professor of History at the University of Princeton, examines the forces that bind together the diverse peoples, customs and loyalties of the United Kingdom. And the often equally powerful movements that from time to time across the centuries threaten to pull Britain apart.

Programme 13: Europe

"At intervals these islands were politically linked to parts of Continental Europe, and ruled by monarchs who viewed their position very much in European terms. And, while the sea could deter invasions and operate as a psychological barrier, it was also a highway and a bridge. It was not just money and culture that rendered elite Britons such incorrigible European Grand Tourists in the 18th century. Nor was it simply politics that made London such a haven for Continental exiles in the 19th century. In both cases, the seas around these islands and the easy transport they afforded aided European-wide contacts and exchanges..."

Producer: Simon Elmes.

Europe20140122

On September 18th this year, the voters of Scotland will decide in a referendum whether they want their nation henceforth to be independent of the United Kingdom, or remain within the union that has bound Britain together since the Act of Union of 1707.

In "Acts of Union and Disunion", Linda Colley, Professor of History at the University of Princeton, examines the forces that bind together the diverse peoples, customs and loyalties of the United Kingdom. And the often equally powerful movements that from time to time across the centuries threaten to pull Britain apart.

Programme 13: Europe

"At intervals these islands were politically linked to parts of Continental Europe, and ruled by monarchs who viewed their position very much in European terms. And, while the sea could deter invasions and operate as a psychological barrier, it was also a highway and a bridge. It was not just money and culture that rendered elite Britons such incorrigible European Grand Tourists in the 18th century. Nor was it simply politics that made London such a haven for Continental exiles in the 19th century. In both cases, the seas around these islands and the easy transport they afforded aided European-wide contacts and exchanges..."

Producer: Simon Elmes.

Greater Britains20140121

On September 18th this year, the voters of Scotland will decide in a referendum whether they want their nation henceforth to be independent of the United Kingdom, or remain within the union that has bound Britain together since the Act of Union of 1707.

In "Acts of Union and Disunion", Linda Colley, Professor of History at the University of Princeton, examines the forces that bind together the diverse peoples, customs and loyalties of the United Kingdom. And the often equally powerful movements that from time to time across the centuries threaten to pull Britain apart.

12: Greater Britains

"Between 1815 and 1930, some 19 million people left Great Britain and Ireland permanently in order to live in North America, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Initially, many of these outgoing men and women chose to voyage to the lost empire of the United States, but gradually this changed. By the first decade of the 20th century, two thirds of these out-goers opted for Britain's existing settlement empire, the Dominions as they came to be called. If the millions of English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish men and women settling overseas in the empire were to be regarded as "communities of citizens" still owning "the name of Britons" - then what new acts of union would be required in order to sustain their cohesion and allegiance? On what kinds of foundations could Greater Britain, as many commentators chose to call it, durably be constructed?"

Producer: Simon Elmes.

Greater Britains20140121

On September 18th this year, the voters of Scotland will decide in a referendum whether they want their nation henceforth to be independent of the United Kingdom, or remain within the union that has bound Britain together since the Act of Union of 1707.

In "Acts of Union and Disunion", Linda Colley, Professor of History at the University of Princeton, examines the forces that bind together the diverse peoples, customs and loyalties of the United Kingdom. And the often equally powerful movements that from time to time across the centuries threaten to pull Britain apart.

12: Greater Britains

"Between 1815 and 1930, some 19 million people left Great Britain and Ireland permanently in order to live in North America, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Initially, many of these outgoing men and women chose to voyage to the lost empire of the United States, but gradually this changed. By the first decade of the 20th century, two thirds of these out-goers opted for Britain's existing settlement empire, the Dominions as they came to be called. If the millions of English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish men and women settling overseas in the empire were to be regarded as "communities of citizens" still owning "the name of Britons" - then what new acts of union would be required in order to sustain their cohesion and allegiance? On what kinds of foundations could Greater Britain, as many commentators chose to call it, durably be constructed?"

Producer: Simon Elmes.

Ireland20140117

On September 18th this year, the voters of Scotland will decide in a referendum whether they want their nation henceforth to be independent of the United Kingdom, or remain within the union that has bound Britain together since the Act of Union of 1707.

In "Acts of Union and Disunion", Linda Colley, Professor of History at the University of Princeton, examines the forces that bind together the diverse peoples, customs and loyalties of the United Kingdom. And the often equally powerful movements that from time to time across the centuries threaten to pull Britain apart.

Episode 10: Ireland

"To be sure, for much of history, these two islands have seemed set too close for comfort. Parts of Scotland and the north of Ireland are only twelve miles apart by sea: and Irish peoples are known to have invaded the Scottish Highlands and Islands from at least the 6th century AD. Anglo-Norman invasions of Ireland began in the 12th century, with Scottish settlers arriving a century later. But it was the Reformation of the 16th century that over-determined relations between the two islands..."

Producer: Simon Elmes.

Ireland20140117

On September 18th this year, the voters of Scotland will decide in a referendum whether they want their nation henceforth to be independent of the United Kingdom, or remain within the union that has bound Britain together since the Act of Union of 1707.

In "Acts of Union and Disunion", Linda Colley, Professor of History at the University of Princeton, examines the forces that bind together the diverse peoples, customs and loyalties of the United Kingdom. And the often equally powerful movements that from time to time across the centuries threaten to pull Britain apart.

Episode 10: Ireland

"To be sure, for much of history, these two islands have seemed set too close for comfort. Parts of Scotland and the north of Ireland are only twelve miles apart by sea: and Irish peoples are known to have invaded the Scottish Highlands and Islands from at least the 6th century AD. Anglo-Norman invasions of Ireland began in the 12th century, with Scottish settlers arriving a century later. But it was the Reformation of the 16th century that over-determined relations between the two islands..."

Producer: Simon Elmes.

Islands20140107

On September 18th this year, the voters of Scotland will decide in a referendum whether they want their nation henceforth to be independent of the United Kingdom, or remain within the union that has bound Britain together since the Act of Union of 1707.

In "Acts of Union and Disunion", Linda Colley, Professor of History at the University of Princeton, examines the forces that bind together the diverse peoples, customs and loyalties of the United Kingdom. And the often equally powerful movements that from time to time across the centuries threaten to pull Britain apart.

In her second talk, Professor Colley examines the island nature of the United Kingdom, and the way the geography, history and political rhetoric of Britain have often been at odds: "There are in fact over 6000 islands set around the island of Great Britain. One of these - Ireland - is large, almost 33,000 square miles. But many of these offshore islands are tiny, like most of the 500 islands of the Hebrides; and some are quasi-autonomous. The Isle of Man only came under the full sovereignty of the British monarch in the 1760s and retains its own parliament; while Orkney and the Shetlands were once linked to Scandinavia. It has never simply been a case, then, of what Winston Churchill styled "our long island history". There are multiple islands involved in the British past, with multiple and sometimes diverging histories."

Producer: Simon Elmes.

Islands20140107

On September 18th this year, the voters of Scotland will decide in a referendum whether they want their nation henceforth to be independent of the United Kingdom, or remain within the union that has bound Britain together since the Act of Union of 1707.

In "Acts of Union and Disunion", Linda Colley, Professor of History at the University of Princeton, examines the forces that bind together the diverse peoples, customs and loyalties of the United Kingdom. And the often equally powerful movements that from time to time across the centuries threaten to pull Britain apart.

In her second talk, Professor Colley examines the island nature of the United Kingdom, and the way the geography, history and political rhetoric of Britain have often been at odds: "There are in fact over 6000 islands set around the island of Great Britain. One of these - Ireland - is large, almost 33,000 square miles. But many of these offshore islands are tiny, like most of the 500 islands of the Hebrides; and some are quasi-autonomous. The Isle of Man only came under the full sovereignty of the British monarch in the 1760s and retains its own parliament; while Orkney and the Shetlands were once linked to Scandinavia. It has never simply been a case, then, of what Winston Churchill styled "our long island history". There are multiple islands involved in the British past, with multiple and sometimes diverging histories."

Producer: Simon Elmes.

Liberty20140109

On September 18th this year, the voters of Scotland will decide in a referendum whether they want their nation henceforth to be independent of the United Kingdom, or remain within the union that has bound Britain together since the Act of Union of 1707.

In "Acts of Union and Disunion", Linda Colley, Professor of History at the University of Princeton, examines the forces that bind together the diverse peoples, customs and loyalties of the United Kingdom. And the often equally powerful movements that from time to time across the centuries threaten to pull Britain apart.

Programme 4: Liberty

Today, Professor Colley challenges the notion of 'liberty' in Britain, from the historic words of Magna Carta onwards:

"While liberty has provided a broadly accessible master narrative whereby varieties of Britons over the centuries have been able to tell and organize stories about themselves and their state, the political repercussions of this have been decidedly mixed. At one level, radicals and reformers in these islands have often invoked ancient liberties, real and imagined, in order to campaign for new freedoms in fact. At another level, references to the country's proud heritage of freedom have frequently worked to legitimize British interventions overseas, peaceful and violent..."

Producer: Simon Elmes.

Liberty20140109

On September 18th this year, the voters of Scotland will decide in a referendum whether they want their nation henceforth to be independent of the United Kingdom, or remain within the union that has bound Britain together since the Act of Union of 1707.

In "Acts of Union and Disunion", Linda Colley, Professor of History at the University of Princeton, examines the forces that bind together the diverse peoples, customs and loyalties of the United Kingdom. And the often equally powerful movements that from time to time across the centuries threaten to pull Britain apart.

Programme 4: Liberty

Today, Professor Colley challenges the notion of 'liberty' in Britain, from the historic words of Magna Carta onwards:

"While liberty has provided a broadly accessible master narrative whereby varieties of Britons over the centuries have been able to tell and organize stories about themselves and their state, the political repercussions of this have been decidedly mixed. At one level, radicals and reformers in these islands have often invoked ancient liberties, real and imagined, in order to campaign for new freedoms in fact. At another level, references to the country's proud heritage of freedom have frequently worked to legitimize British interventions overseas, peaceful and violent..."

Producer: Simon Elmes.

Monarchy20140110

On September 18th this year, the voters of Scotland will decide in a referendum whether they want their nation henceforth to be independent of the United Kingdom, or remain within the union that has bound Britain together since the Act of Union of 1707.

In "Acts of Union and Disunion", Linda Colley, Professor of History at the University of Princeton, examines the forces that bind together the diverse peoples, customs and loyalties of the United Kingdom. And the often equally powerful movements that from time to time across the centuries threaten to pull Britain apart.

Programme 5: Monarchy:

"To understand how and why monarchy has mattered here, we need to look not just at tradition and custom, but also at disjunctions and at change over time. A patchwork of different kingdoms existed throughout these islands from the early middle ages. England finally became a single kingdom in the 10th century; while a single king controlled most of Scotland by the 12th century. Early medieval Wales and Ireland, however, experienced multiple and competing rulers..."

Producer: Simon Elmes.

Monarchy20140110

On September 18th this year, the voters of Scotland will decide in a referendum whether they want their nation henceforth to be independent of the United Kingdom, or remain within the union that has bound Britain together since the Act of Union of 1707.

In "Acts of Union and Disunion", Linda Colley, Professor of History at the University of Princeton, examines the forces that bind together the diverse peoples, customs and loyalties of the United Kingdom. And the often equally powerful movements that from time to time across the centuries threaten to pull Britain apart.

Programme 5: Monarchy:

"To understand how and why monarchy has mattered here, we need to look not just at tradition and custom, but also at disjunctions and at change over time. A patchwork of different kingdoms existed throughout these islands from the early middle ages. England finally became a single kingdom in the 10th century; while a single king controlled most of Scotland by the 12th century. Early medieval Wales and Ireland, however, experienced multiple and competing rulers..."

Producer: Simon Elmes.

Orientation20140106

On September 18th this year, the voters of Scotland will decide in a referendum whether they want their nation henceforth to be independent of the United Kingdom, or remain within the union that has bound Britain together since the Act of Union of 1707.

In "Acts of Union and Disunion", Linda Colley, Professor of History at the University of Princeton, examines the forces that bind together the diverse peoples, customs and loyalties of the United Kingdom. And the often equally powerful movements that from time to time across the centuries threaten to pull Britain apart.

In the first of fifteen programmes, Colley offers us - literally - an overview, as she begins her journey with the story of the 18th century Scottish writer and controversialist James Tytler, the first person to look down from a hot air balloon on what Shakespeare had earlier called 'this scepter'd isle'.

In these refreshingly original talks, Linda Colley sets out to counter a number of well-established conventional views of Britain's history and offer a personal take on the united - and divided - history of our nation: "Although Britain is sometimes viewed as an old and stable country, these in fact are very selective visions. Historically speaking, Great Britain - and still more the United Kingdom - are in some respects recent and synthetic constructs that have often been contested and in flux in the past, just as they continue to be contested and in flux now...."

Producer: Simon Elmes.

Orientation20140106

On September 18th this year, the voters of Scotland will decide in a referendum whether they want their nation henceforth to be independent of the United Kingdom, or remain within the union that has bound Britain together since the Act of Union of 1707.

In "Acts of Union and Disunion", Linda Colley, Professor of History at the University of Princeton, examines the forces that bind together the diverse peoples, customs and loyalties of the United Kingdom. And the often equally powerful movements that from time to time across the centuries threaten to pull Britain apart.

In the first of fifteen programmes, Colley offers us - literally - an overview, as she begins her journey with the story of the 18th century Scottish writer and controversialist James Tytler, the first person to look down from a hot air balloon on what Shakespeare had earlier called 'this scepter'd isle'.

In these refreshingly original talks, Linda Colley sets out to counter a number of well-established conventional views of Britain's history and offer a personal take on the united - and divided - history of our nation: "Although Britain is sometimes viewed as an old and stable country, these in fact are very selective visions. Historically speaking, Great Britain - and still more the United Kingdom - are in some respects recent and synthetic constructs that have often been contested and in flux in the past, just as they continue to be contested and in flux now...."

Producer: Simon Elmes.

Pasts And Futures20140124

On September 18th this year, the voters of Scotland will decide in a referendum whether they want their nation henceforth to be independent of the United Kingdom, or remain within the union that has bound Britain together since the Act of Union of 1707.

In "Acts of Union and Disunion", Linda Colley, Professor of History at the University of Princeton, examines the forces that bind together the diverse peoples, customs and loyalties of the United Kingdom. And the often equally powerful movements that from time to time across the centuries threaten to pull Britain apart.

Programme 15: Pasts And Futures

"As a historian, I do not believe that major developments and events in the future can be pre-ordained, or are somehow inevitable. The past matters. But, in regard to countries and peoples, the past contains the seeds of many possible futures. As far as the United Kingdom is concerned, fragmentation on the one hand and the maintenance of the status quo on the other, are not the only outcomes that may be available in prospect..."

Producer: Simon Elmes.

Pasts And Futures20140124

On September 18th this year, the voters of Scotland will decide in a referendum whether they want their nation henceforth to be independent of the United Kingdom, or remain within the union that has bound Britain together since the Act of Union of 1707.

In "Acts of Union and Disunion", Linda Colley, Professor of History at the University of Princeton, examines the forces that bind together the diverse peoples, customs and loyalties of the United Kingdom. And the often equally powerful movements that from time to time across the centuries threaten to pull Britain apart.

Programme 15: Pasts And Futures

"As a historian, I do not believe that major developments and events in the future can be pre-ordained, or are somehow inevitable. The past matters. But, in regard to countries and peoples, the past contains the seeds of many possible futures. As far as the United Kingdom is concerned, fragmentation on the one hand and the maintenance of the status quo on the other, are not the only outcomes that may be available in prospect..."

Producer: Simon Elmes.

Scotland20140116

On September 18th this year, the voters of Scotland will decide in a referendum whether they want their nation henceforth to be independent of the United Kingdom, or remain within the union that has bound Britain together since the Act of Union of 1707.

In "Acts of Union and Disunion", Linda Colley, Professor of History at the University of Princeton, examines the forces that bind together the diverse peoples, customs and loyalties of the United Kingdom. And the often equally powerful movements that from time to time across the centuries threaten to pull Britain apart.

9: Scotland

"This union was from the outset a compromise, a stand-off even. Scots lost their ancient parliament at Edinburgh, receiving instead (limited) representation in the Westminster Parliament. The cross of St Andrew, the saltire, was blazoned on flags and banners alongside the cross of St George; and, on paper, England, Wales and Scotland were all subsumed into "one united Kingdom by the name of Great Britain", with a single legislature in London, the same Protestant ruler, similar fiscal arrangements, and one system of free trade.

But Scotland retained its own systems of Roman law and local government, its own parish schools and excellent universities and its own forms of Protestantism and Presbyterian church government..."

Producer: Simon Elmes.

Scotland20140116

On September 18th this year, the voters of Scotland will decide in a referendum whether they want their nation henceforth to be independent of the United Kingdom, or remain within the union that has bound Britain together since the Act of Union of 1707.

In "Acts of Union and Disunion", Linda Colley, Professor of History at the University of Princeton, examines the forces that bind together the diverse peoples, customs and loyalties of the United Kingdom. And the often equally powerful movements that from time to time across the centuries threaten to pull Britain apart.

9: Scotland

"This union was from the outset a compromise, a stand-off even. Scots lost their ancient parliament at Edinburgh, receiving instead (limited) representation in the Westminster Parliament. The cross of St Andrew, the saltire, was blazoned on flags and banners alongside the cross of St George; and, on paper, England, Wales and Scotland were all subsumed into "one united Kingdom by the name of Great Britain", with a single legislature in London, the same Protestant ruler, similar fiscal arrangements, and one system of free trade.

But Scotland retained its own systems of Roman law and local government, its own parish schools and excellent universities and its own forms of Protestantism and Presbyterian church government..."

Producer: Simon Elmes.

Sea20140108

On September 18th this year, the voters of Scotland will decide in a referendum whether they want their nation henceforth to be independent of the United Kingdom, or remain within the union that has bound Britain together since the Act of Union of 1707.

In "Acts of Union and Disunion", Linda Colley, Professor of History at the University of Princeton, examines the forces that bind together the diverse peoples, customs and loyalties of the United Kingdom. And the often equally powerful movements that from time to time across the centuries threaten to pull Britain apart.

In her third programme, Professor Colley wades into the choppy waters of Britain's relationship with the sea that surrounds us:

'Rule Britannia, Britannia rule the waves,

Britons never, never, never will be slaves'

"'Rule Britannia' was first performed in 1740, but the ideas behind it were older. From the late 16th century, a succession of politicians and propagandists had drawn on maritime references in order to manufacture claims about Britain's special destiny. The encircling seas, it was argued, demonstrated that God and nature had designed Britain as a single polity, and had also provided for it a distinctive mission and medium. 'We seem...to have been formed by Providence', remarked one writer, 'for ploughing the sea'...."

Producer: Simon Elmes.

Sea20140108

On September 18th this year, the voters of Scotland will decide in a referendum whether they want their nation henceforth to be independent of the United Kingdom, or remain within the union that has bound Britain together since the Act of Union of 1707.

In "Acts of Union and Disunion", Linda Colley, Professor of History at the University of Princeton, examines the forces that bind together the diverse peoples, customs and loyalties of the United Kingdom. And the often equally powerful movements that from time to time across the centuries threaten to pull Britain apart.

In her third programme, Professor Colley wades into the choppy waters of Britain's relationship with the sea that surrounds us:

'Rule Britannia, Britannia rule the waves,

Britons never, never, never will be slaves'

"'Rule Britannia' was first performed in 1740, but the ideas behind it were older. From the late 16th century, a succession of politicians and propagandists had drawn on maritime references in order to manufacture claims about Britain's special destiny. The encircling seas, it was argued, demonstrated that God and nature had designed Britain as a single polity, and had also provided for it a distinctive mission and medium. 'We seem...to have been formed by Providence', remarked one writer, 'for ploughing the sea'...."

Producer: Simon Elmes.

Transatlantic20140120

On September 18th this year, the voters of Scotland will decide in a referendum whether they want their nation henceforth to be independent of the United Kingdom, or remain within the union that has bound Britain together since the Act of Union of 1707.

In "Acts of Union and Disunion", Linda Colley, Professor of History at the University of Princeton, examines the forces that bind together the diverse peoples, customs and loyalties of the United Kingdom. And the often equally powerful movements that from time to time across the centuries threaten to pull Britain apart.

11: Transatlantic

"In the 1600s, some 400,000 people from these islands, most of them from England, crossed the Atlantic, many of them settling in mainland America. In the 18th century, emigration from all parts of the British Isles ran much higher. Between 1760 and 1775 alone, over 100,000 men and women left these shores for America. To many Britons, the Thirteen Colonies - though 3000 miles of ocean away - were nonetheless bound up with their own experience and identities. American colonists were "our own people, our brethren".

So American resistance after 1776 and ultimate violent separation was a kind of amputation from the British body politic which has arguably never completely healed over."

Producer: Simon Elmes.

Transatlantic20140120

On September 18th this year, the voters of Scotland will decide in a referendum whether they want their nation henceforth to be independent of the United Kingdom, or remain within the union that has bound Britain together since the Act of Union of 1707.

In "Acts of Union and Disunion", Linda Colley, Professor of History at the University of Princeton, examines the forces that bind together the diverse peoples, customs and loyalties of the United Kingdom. And the often equally powerful movements that from time to time across the centuries threaten to pull Britain apart.

11: Transatlantic

"In the 1600s, some 400,000 people from these islands, most of them from England, crossed the Atlantic, many of them settling in mainland America. In the 18th century, emigration from all parts of the British Isles ran much higher. Between 1760 and 1775 alone, over 100,000 men and women left these shores for America. To many Britons, the Thirteen Colonies - though 3000 miles of ocean away - were nonetheless bound up with their own experience and identities. American colonists were "our own people, our brethren".

So American resistance after 1776 and ultimate violent separation was a kind of amputation from the British body politic which has arguably never completely healed over."

Producer: Simon Elmes.

Wales20140115

On September 18th this year, the voters of Scotland will decide in a referendum whether they want their nation henceforth to be independent of the United Kingdom, or remain within the union that has bound Britain together since the Act of Union of 1707.

In "Acts of Union and Disunion", Linda Colley, Professor of History at the University of Princeton, examines the forces that bind together the diverse peoples, customs and loyalties of the United Kingdom. And the often equally powerful movements that from time to time across the centuries threaten to pull Britain apart.

Programme 8: Wales

"Wales is a small country. It contains about five per cent of the UK's population; and, at some 8000 square miles, it is less than a sixth of the size of England, and roughly only a quarter of the size of Scotland or Ireland. Moreover, unlike Ireland, Scotland and England, Wales has never been treated as a kingdom, only a principality. Consequently - and again unlike Ireland, Scotland and England - Wales has never been emblematically represented on the Union Jack..."

Producer: Simon Elmes.

Wales20140115

On September 18th this year, the voters of Scotland will decide in a referendum whether they want their nation henceforth to be independent of the United Kingdom, or remain within the union that has bound Britain together since the Act of Union of 1707.

In "Acts of Union and Disunion", Linda Colley, Professor of History at the University of Princeton, examines the forces that bind together the diverse peoples, customs and loyalties of the United Kingdom. And the often equally powerful movements that from time to time across the centuries threaten to pull Britain apart.

Programme 8: Wales

"Wales is a small country. It contains about five per cent of the UK's population; and, at some 8000 square miles, it is less than a sixth of the size of England, and roughly only a quarter of the size of Scotland or Ireland. Moreover, unlike Ireland, Scotland and England, Wales has never been treated as a kingdom, only a principality. Consequently - and again unlike Ireland, Scotland and England - Wales has never been emblematically represented on the Union Jack..."

Producer: Simon Elmes.