T. M. Devine
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The final phase of clearance
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The central feature of the final phase of clearance was the linkage of mass eviction with schemes of assisted emigration. Financial fluctuations in the wider economy helped to shape the policies of clearance in the later 1840s. The catastrophic failure of the potatoes in 1846 and the continuation of the blight for several years thereafter was an important watershed in the history of the Highland clearances. The famine removals were different, because their social costs were greater. The famine clearances have a special significance in the history of the Highland clearances as a whole. They were the last in the cycle of great evictions which transformed Gaelic society from the last quarter of the eighteenth century. It was the large-scale removals which helped to put the crofting question firmly on the national political map and created the context for the attack on Highland landlordism later in the nineteenth century.

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Clanship to crofters’ war

The social transformation of the Scottish Highlands

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