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Land, Faith and the Crofting CommunityChristianity and Social Criticism in the Highlands of Scotland 1843-1893$
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Allan W. MacColl

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780748623822

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748623822.001.0001

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(p.212) Conclusion
Land, Faith and the Crofting Community

Allan W. Maccoll

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter presents some concluding thoughts. The period 1843–93, but most especially during the ‘crofters' war’, illustrate the intellectual elite of Highland society influencing the development of the land debate along moderate, ‘constitutional’ lines. Whilst many ministers in the half-century under discussion could see no alternative but emigration, a larger number consistently advocated a thorough reform of landholding as the best solution for the region's problems. By the 1880s the bulk of the crofters themselves were deeply influenced by evangelicalism and justified their actions through essentially Christian perspectives. The outlook of the Highland Land Law Reform Association membership was influenced by ministers at the institutional level, but was also to a great extent by the outcome of a century of evangelical permeation of crofting society. It is perhaps not surprising that theologically conservative ministers rejected the application of utilitarian principles to the land question and instead advocated a communitarian solution based on an organicist, historicist conception of the link between the land and the people.

Keywords:   crofters' war, land reform, intellectual elite, Highlands, evangelicalism, Highland Land Law Reform Association

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