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Abstract

The development of a British identity was an ongoing process during the seventeenth century. In this paper, I argue that the ascension of James to the English throne in 1603 would be integral to the establishing of a British identity in both England and Scotland. James, from 1604 to 1607, tried to create a political union between the two kingdoms but would ultimately fail due to English concerns (primarily in Parliament) about the "imperfect union" and the absence of any tradition to sustain a new kingdom. James would continue to style himself "King of Great Britain," a styling he established by royal proclamation in 1604, and he would also attempt to create common grounds for his subjects in the courts. Ultimately, James made a lasting impact in bring the title "King of Great Britain" into usage, and for an idea of a Britain that was naturally united. I made heavy use of the pamphlets and books printed in the 1600s in order to exhibit the popular appeal of a British identity, and I also used the modern writings of Jenny Wormald and David Armitage.