Saturday, December 22, 2018

A History of the Dispossessed

An interesting review in the Guardian of Tom Devine’s history of the Highland Clearances.

“...Clan chiefs in the Highlands were happy enough to have large populations at various points, especially during the Napoleonic wars. Devine demolishes the idea that Highlanders were by nature more martial than people in other parts of the UK. It was simple economics: the clan chiefs behaved as military entrepreneurs, providing recruits at a price. When the war ended and demand for soldiers fell, they looked for alternative sources of income. Sheep farming was one, and that meant clearing the land. Devine is fair-minded, acknowledging landlords and chiefs who tried to devise ways to keep people, but they were in a small minority. Coercion was employed widely and systematically, he concludes.

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