Religion and the Glorious Revolution
In 1688, William of Orange invaded England and dethroned the House of Stuart.
Catholic King James VII and his infant son were forced into exile in France. William and his wife Mary — James VII's daughter — took the Crown as Protestant monarchs of Scotland, England and Ireland.
'The Glorious Revolution' of 1688 caused divisions between those who supported William and Mary and those who remained loyal to the exiled Stuarts. These Stuart supporters were also known as Jacobites.
A matter of faith
Some Jacobites, as the Stuart supporters were known, fought for personal gain in the hope that they would benefit by a change of monarch. Others foughts for political reasons such as the dissolution of the union of the crowns of Scotland and England.
But many of them believed that a king received his authority from God, and they fought to remove the usurpers of the Stuarts as a matter of faith.
Support from clans and Church
In Scotland Jacobite strength came from many of the Highland clans and the Episcopalian lowlands in the north east of the country.
Marginalised by the revolution of 1688, the Episcopalian Church looked to the Stuarts to restore its position as the Church of Scotland.
The clan system and the influence of Scottish landowners over their tenants allowed large numbers of men to be raised, though not always willingly to fight for the Stuarts.
Many Scots from the Highlands and lowlands remained loyal to the Government and so, when it came to fighting, the rising in Scotland was predominantly a civil war.
From revolution to rising: 1688-1715
The Stuarts in exile held court at the palace of Saint-Germain-en-Laye near Paris. Laws were passed to keep the Stuarts from the throne and settle the succession on the House of Hanover.
In Scotland in the meantime, the Glencoe massacre, famine, the failure of the Darien scheme and the Act of Union fuelled resentment against the Government.
Additional religious tension between Presbyterians and Episcopalians combined with rejection of the Act of Union made a Jacobite rising almost inevitable.
Dashed hopes for French support
As long as Britain was at war with France the Jacobites could hope for French support. The Government recognised this in peace treaties signed with France, which it hoped would limit Louis XIV's use of the House of Stuart as a threat to British stability.
Louis XIV died in 1715 just days before the opening moves of the Jacobite rising in Scotland.
This was a great blow to Jacobite hopes as the cautious Duke of Orleans, regent for the infant Louis XV, was slow to provide support.
Without the aid of a major European power the Jacobite cause was critically weakened.
Nonetheless, on 6 September 1715, the Earl of Mar raised James VIII's standard at Braemar. The 1715 Jacobite rising had begun.