The Blame Game

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:
The Blame Game

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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Highland history has run a strange course. Even before the Victorian era, an ‘invented tradition’ transmogrified the Highlander from an object of distrust and antipathy into a romantic figure. For this Dr Johnson and Sir Walter Scott take most responsibility. The Highlander became fully assimilated into the Scottish national identity, a tartanised image towards which most Lowlanders and ÈmigrÈs happily cleaved. Highland chiefs in 1746 had been regarded as ‘the brutal oppressors of a slavish people’, but were soon metamorphosed into the ‘paternal protectors of a grateful peasantry’ Subsequently their clearing successors were excoriated and denounced throughout the nineteenth century: the verdict on the Highland landowners became enshrined in official opinion. The controversy continues into the present day.

Keywords: Blame; Responsibility; Intervention

Chapter.  7605 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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