Chapter

Before the Clearances

Eric Richards

in Debating the Highland Clearances

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2007 | ISBN: 9780748621828
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748672141 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748621828.003.0002
Before the Clearances

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It used to be assumed that ‘the law of progress’ simply did not operate in the Scottish Highlands: this was a society which had been had been sunk in a primitive and uncivilised state for centuries; its people had always been in the thrall of their autocratic patriarchs; it was chained to ‘a sort of Asiatic immutability’ This was a view of the old Highlands common in Victorian times. Is it an accurate account of the condition of the Highlands before the Clearances? And is this a fair benchmark by which to measure the impact of the coming Clearances? Did the introduction of sheep constitute ‘progress’?

Keywords: Benchmark; Conditions before the clearances; Old Highlands

Chapter.  7523 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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