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To what extent do the following sources support the view expressed by Eric Richards that the main reason for crofters having to leave their land was the price of wool? Free essay! Download now

Home > A Level > History > To what extent do the following sources support the view expressed by Eric Richards that the main reason for crofters having to leave their land was the price of wool?

To what extent do the following sources support the view expressed by Eric Richards that the main reason for crofters having to leave their land was the price of wool?

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Downloads to date: N/A | Words: 1000 | Submitted: 18-Mar-2006
Spelling accuracy: N/A | Number of pages: | Filetype: Word .doc

Description

Discusses the reasons for the exodus of many crofters from the Higlands of Scotland in the 1800s with particular reference to the problem of the price of wool. Was a source based question.

Preview

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Although the high price of wool and the consequent infiltration of ‘flocks of large and heavy sheep’ inevitably led to the wide scale clearances of Highlanders from their home, it is clear that several other factors may have contributed to the migration of such families.

Being ‘tenants at will’; the crofters had been subject to clearances long before this ‘invasion’ as estates were cleared to improve the arable land and to lessen population congestion.

Population growth in the Highlands in the 1700s was immense, due mostly to the intense industrialisation of many towns and cities. The Highlands had a significantly slower rate of growth than most areas, with just 34% growth in comparison to somewhere like Glasgow that grew at a rate of almost 150% between the years of 1755- 1800. However, many Highlanders fell into a ‘Malthusian trap’ because the Highland landscape was at times unproductive and changeable meaning arable farming was an unpredictable business. The already fiercely precarious environment could not sustain such a dramatic change. Indeed Richards himself, despite accrediting the main reason for crofters leaving their land to the price of wool, observes that the “congestion, squalor, fear and poverty” meant that, “no landlord… was able to accommodate a dense population at tolerable living conditions” (source B).
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