Although England and Scotland had shared a common monarch since James VI of Scotland inherited the English crown from Elizabeth I in 1603, the two nations were still separate states with independent parliaments. The Acts of Union formalized the terms agreed by commissioners from the English and Scottish Parliaments in the 1706 Treaty of Union. The English Parliament passed the Union with Scotland Act in 1706, and the Scottish Parliament passed the Union with England Act in 1707. The terms of the acts nullified each nation’s parliament and formed a united Parliament of Great Britain based in Westminster. The pro-Union Court Party in the Scottish Parliament held only one hundred out of 227 seats; an alliance with the twenty-five members of the independent Squadrone Volante provided the margin of victory. The Duke of Queensberry was widely criticized in Scotland but lauded in England for his role in securing the ratifying votes. Union with England was generally unpopular with the Scottish people, many of who protested in Edinburgh. While Scotland ceded much of its political autonomy to the new British Parliament, the authority of Scots law, the jurisdiction of the Scottish Court of Session, and the establishment of the Church of Scotland were maintained.
While the Acts of Union preceded the Edinburgh Review by over one hundred years, contributors to the Review published numerous historical articles relating to the debates over the Acts.