The last of the Stuart rulers was born at St. James’ Palace on February 6, 1665. Despite her motto of Semper Eadem, her reign was not uneventful politically or economically. The Augustan Age of literature, the political Union of England and Scotland into Great Britain, the emergence of permanent political parties and the cabinet system of government, latitudinarianism in religion, and vast colonial growth all occurred during her reign.

Anne’s biggest problems were inherited from William – the question of the succession and the war with Spain. The Act of Succession/Settlement passed during William’s reign did not settle the issue of the Scottish succession. Scots took advantage of events in England to claim their own religious and constitutional rights, and some highlanders even supported an attempt to restore James to the throne. After the Darien fiasco, the Scottish Parliament passed an Act anent Peace and War in 1703 that said that Scotland would not automatically make the same war or peace decisions as England. An Act of Security of 1704 said the Scots would reject the Hanoverian succession unless their own liberties were guaranteed.

Mutual interests led to the passage of the Act of Union in 1707 that combined the two countries into Great Britain. The act confirmed the Hanoverian succession, but the Scots kept their own church (Presbyterian rather than Episcopalian) and legal system (Roman rather than common law). In exchange for the dismissal of the Scottish Parliament, Scots were given 45 seats in the H of C and 16 in the H of L.

The War of the Spanish Succession (1702-1713) encompassed most of Anne’s reign. War meant the highest direct taxation since the 1650s. Whigs and Tories disagreed over how the war should be fought and how the government should be conducted. Although Queen Anne preferred the Tories, the Whigs had a majority in the H of C, forcing her to include Whigs in her cabinet. A Whig political blunder in 1709 (they tried to impeach a Tory clergyman, Dr. Sacheverell) led to the fall of the war hawks, and a Tory ministry led by Oxford and Bolingbroke began peace negotiations.

The Peace of Utrecht was quite favorable to Great Britain. Louis XIV recognized the Hanoverian succession, the thrones of Spain and France were not united, Great Britain gained Gibraltar, Minorca, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Hudson Bay, and St. Kitt’s. Spain granted Britain the Asiento or exclusive right to carry African slaves to the Spanish Indies and to trade at the annual fairs in the Caribbean.

Because of their association with the peace treaty, Tories were able to pass an Act against Occasional Conformity in 1711 and a Schism Act of 1714 that closed dissenting academies.