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The Nation Epidemical: Scoto-Britannus To Scoto-Polonus

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Chapter Summary

By the end of the sixteenth century the "Scoto-Britannus" became surprisingly wide-spread, and scholars increasingly recognize that modern national categories, and still more post-Romantic nationalism, can only lead to anachronism and serious distortion. The neologism "patriot" entered English in the 1580s. But early modern "patriots" thought in terms of universal mission, not self-actualization, nor in terms of transcendent ethnic identity, nor in terms of a national "soul." The idea of sacred confederation increasingly characterized Reformed political thought after 1600, informing politics literally from Transylvania to New England. Confederation was not imagined as merely a tissue of tactical alliances, but as a sign of the final world order. The frequent term "Scoto-Britannus" and the occasional one "Scoto-Polonus" carried with them not only notions of solidarity and common purpose, but, often, implications for the future.

Keywords: New England; Scoto-Britannus; Scoto-Polonus



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