The 18th Century Scottish Enlightenment
The act of Union of 1707 that made England and Scotland part of a United Kingdom created a period of political stability. In turn, there was an outpouring of intellectual advances in Scotland. England was far more advanced economically than Scotland or Wales at this time but this was the case largely because of extractive means with a small number of gentry and merchants controlling the majority of the wealth.
Amongst the intellectual advances made during this period were those in economics, sociology, anthropology, science, medicine, mathematics, literature and education. Britain was already unique in that The Glorious Revolution had moved political authority from the autocratic to the plutocratic. These new advances would set the stage for changes in the political and economic institutions of the UK that would move them toward the fully democratic. A large series of emigrations to the New World would soon spread these ideas to the North American colonies and into the Indian subcontinent.
Key Figures during this period were Adam Smith, Robert Burns, David Hume and Francis Hutcheson.
You may also be interested to read about the Scottish Wars of Independence.