The nation most responsible for America’s love of freedom is Scotland. The spirit of bravehearts like William Wallace, Robert the Bruce and John Knox still runs deep in the American soul. To understand our best great hope for recovering freedom and prosperity in America today, we must understand the Scottish fight for liberty.
As the 14th century neared, the English King Edward Long Shanks was brutally tyrannizing the Scots and men like William Wallace. Hyper-taxation, land theft, and wholesale murder without trial broke all the rules of Magna Carta and Common Law. Long Shanks even passed laws giving his nobles prima nocta (or first rights of nobles to rape Scottish women on the day of their weddings).
William Wallace raised a citizen army of Scots to throw off English oppression. He became Scotland’s greatest patriot by inspiring his men to fight for liberty based upon their God given rights guaranteed in Magna Carta, Common Law, all rights derived from the Bible. Wallace was eventually defeated and martyred. But in 1314, Robert the Bruce, King of the Scots, picked up the torch of freedom. He defeated the English oppressors at the battle of Bannockburn, obtaining liberty for Scotland for 200 years.
Soon after, the Scots wrote the Declaration of Arbroath. This was the first of their biblically based freedom documents. Their words cry out to us through the ages and inspire millions even today. “For as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honors that we are fighting, but for freedom — for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.”
But over the next 200 years, the power grab by government under the cover of the “divine right” of kings, almost wiped out freedom again. The kings of England were burning Scotland’s most sincere believers in the streets.
Then, gloriously, in the 16th century, the original document of freedom, the Bible, was unleashed in the language of the people in Scotland. In 1558, after centuries of semi-pagan barbarity, the Scottish people were led to the Savior and His Word by a former bodyguard, former galley slave, and then powerful preacher, John Knox. With their new biblical understanding, they were the first nation to put limits on the power of government (checks and balances). Within a decade the Scots succeeded in dethroning their tyrannical queen.
The struggle for liberty against big government oppression would go on for another century. But a number of precious freedom documents were created during this time of trial in Scotland. They set the stage for America’s Declaration of Independence.
When the Stuart Kings, James and Charles, attempted to destroy true biblical faith, the Scots met in the Greyfriar’s church yard and signed their National Covenant of 1638. Many Scots signed the document in their own blood, swearing never to compromise their faith or that of their children.
The Christian Scots were declaring to the world that their rights came from God, not from the king (or any government leader, court or legislature). Therefore, a ruler, cannot force his arbitrary laws upon the people and expect them to passively follow.
Read the rest at World History Institute