N4/5 Revision



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N4/5 Revision


Immigrants and Exiles: Scotland, 1830s-1930s



Answer all exam questions in jotter and give to your teacher to be marked.

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Irish People Come to Scotland

The Push reasons why the Irish came to Scotland




      • Irish population doubled between 1791 and 1841

      • Ireland had a lack of modern industries = very difficult for people to live a secure life

      • Suffered general poverty, low wages and terrible living conditions

      • Depended on farming and had very little land - smallholders were often evicted to make way for new farming methods = Result they became dependent on potatoes

      • Starvation and terrible diets after 1848 Potato Blight

      • Situation made worse as British Government too slow to act and many landlords used the crisis to take away people’s homes

      • Many could not pay the increasing rents on farms.

      • Irish desperate to escape famine and some were forced to leave by landlords

      • No money, no food, no jobs - where should they go: Scotland

The Pull reasons why the Irish came to Scotland




      • Available jobs for men, women & children due to Scotland’s growing industries and farming such as navvying, building, textiles, coal mines and general farm work.

      • pay was better than in Ireland, Irish with skilled trades could earn much more

      • Easy travel: New ‘steamers’ meant it was easier, quicker and cheaper to sail across to Scotland from Ireland.

      • Short trip to West Coast and Glasgow

      • Housing available in growing Scottish cities

      • Existing communities: Families wrote back to relatives to encourage emigration to Scotland for a better life

      • Irish communities had established themselves in Scotland by 1900. The Catholic Church had a bit role in this with Church, social groups, poor relief and sports teams

Where did the Irish settle




      • Most settled in Glasgow, the South West, Edinburgh and Dundee. Others roamed the country looking for work.

      • Hostile neighbours: Alarm in Scotland, especially Glasgow, at the large number of very poor people arriving from Ireland. Increased numbers of immigrants created pressure on housing and jobs

      • Made worse by Scottish migration moving away from rural areas such as the Highlands to cities (competing for housing and jobs)

      • They often lived in the poorest housing with the cheapest rents. Houses often in the most unhealthy, most run-down parts of town.

      • Many Irish lived in filth, overcrowding and degradation in badly built tenements

      • Diseases flourished with contaminated water supplies and poor sewage systems.

      • Irish suffered more because of their general weakened health with blight

      • Late 19th century improvements made to the living conditions in cities e.g. Glasgow.

What did the Irish do?


      • Jobs: Worked on farms, mines, jute factories in Dundee, navvy work building railways and canals, textiles factories, some turned to retail work

      • Cheap labour: worked for less pay or worked in low paid jobs.

      • Prejudice: Many found it difficult to secure a decent job because they were Irish and Catholic.

      • Some Irish prospered but most had to work hard just to survive and had to do so in harsh conditions.

      • Catholic church central: set up schools, churches, social groups, poor relief and sports teams

Irish came to Scotland Exam questions


  1. Describe the pull factors that brought Irish immigrants to Scotland in the nineteenth century? 5 marks




  1. Explain the main reasons why immigrants came to Scotland between 1830 and 1939. 8 marks

Source A is from an official report in 1836.

A large number of Irish have arrived in Great Britain in recent years. The wages which they earn here are almost always higher than they could earn in their own country. Moreover the employment is more constant. They are able to obtain payment on a greater number of days in the year. There is more chance of getting employment for women and children in the manufacturing towns.




  1. Why did so many Irish come to Scotland in the nineteenth century? (Use Source A and recall) 5 marks


  1. Describe the ways the Irish immigrants able to build a strong sense of community in Scotland between 1830s and 1930s? 5 marks




Relations between Irish and the Scots

Religious and cultural forces which kept the Irish community together.


      • Most Irish immigrants Catholic and coming to a predominantly Protestant Scotland.

      • Catholic Church important to the Irish immigrants in both religious and social ways.

      • Church allowed them to worship

      • gave them a place to meet other Irish Catholics

      • organised youth clubs and trips

      • Football teams (Celtic, Hibs and Dundee United)

      • Developed schools

      • Helped those in need with clothes, food and a place to stay.

      • Educated priest could supply advice and guidance to the new Irish immigrants

Results of separate community?




      • Meant that Irish kept themselves to themselves to maintain own customs and religious habits = caused resentment among Scots and didn’t help Irish mix with Scots.

      • Problems with Irish Protestants: Many Irish Immigrants from Northern Ireland, e.g. Ulster and Protestant.

      • Trouble: set up branches of Orange Order and supported Rangers Football Club.

      • Violence: They often fought with Catholic Irish

Relations between Scots and Irish




      • Growing religious conflict between the Catholic Irish immigrants and Scots Protestants

      • Many Irish felt like ‘aliens in an alien society’

      • Scots suspicious of Irish with their different habits and culture. Their prejudice created hatred and violence

      • Some were concerned about habits of Irish leading Scots astray

      • Claims about the Irish being thieves and troublemakers and drunkards

      • Jobs Irish discriminated against

      • Scots disliked the Irish because of claims they were stealing jobs and houses = Irish worked for less pay some Scots lost livelihood

      • Some thought Irish had lower standards and generally less educated and inferior

Did relations improve?




      • Scots employers found the Irish to be good, reliable workers and quick to learn = reputation improved

      • Irish made a vital contribution to Scotland’s growing wealth

      • Antisocial Irish behaviour no worse than the Scots

      • Irish joined Trade Unions to help workers, both Scots and Irish, improve their pay and conditions = encouraged Scots and Irish workers to join together

      • Democracy: Irish got involved in campaigns to get men and women the vote, important voice in the new Labour Party

      • WW1: Irish Catholic community fought and their efforts helped gain acceptation into Scottish life

      • Marriage between Scots and Irish increased - greatly helped the Irish fit into Scottish life. Some did, however, frown upon such marriages

      • Some Irish changed their names to more Scottish ones

      • Irish children born in Scotland absorbed themselves in Scottish ways than their parents


Irish and the Scots Exam questions


  1. Explain the main problems arose between the Scots and the Irish immigrants in the nineteenth century. 5 marks

Source A is from the Edinburgh Reporter newspaper in 1841. It is commenting on the case of an Irishman found guilty of murder.



We should not be surprised the great mass of Irish peasantry are thoroughly mixed up with crimes of this nature. The lower class of Irish are sunk in the depth of wickedness. The swarms of Irish labourers who pour into this country bring with them a moral and social plague.




  1. How useful is Source A as evidence of Scots’ attitudes towards Irish immigrants? 5 marks


  1. Describe the ways in which Irish immigrants had settled into Scottish life by the 1930s. 5 marks

Source B is an article in the Ayr Advertiser in 1849




By their great numbers the Irish have either cut the pay of Scots or totally deprived thousands of the working people of Scotland of work. There can be no doubt that their contacts with the Scots have not been for benefit of the latter. In the country of Ayr these facts are brought home by the wretched appearance of once comfortable areas and by the great increase in spirit dealers.





  1. How useful is Source B as evidence of the reasons for the rivalry between Scots and Irish immigrants in the nineteenth century? 5 marks




Scottish Emigration

The Push reasons why the Scots left Scotland


      • Many Scots forced to leave due to the poor economic conditions

      • Decline in kelp industry, herring fishing and need for less workers

      • Irish immigrants were competing for jobs for less wages

      • Highland clearances: crofters were forced off land to make way for sheep and deer.

      • These new sources of income for landowners required fewer labourers

      • Crofters couldn’t turn to working on kelp or fishing due to their decline

      • Lack of land: many had subdivided their already poor land to provide for their sons and the croft was becoming unprofitable.

      • Emigration only solution? Some crofters preferred farming abroad than factory work in the cities

      • New Laws: Government made the landowners responsible for the wellbeing of tenants = to avoid costs of supporting the poor on their land, many owners forced or helped them to emigrate - paid for ticket abroad

      • Scots potato blight 1848. Diet was poor and monotonous

      • Living conditions for both Highlanders and Lowlanders poor

      • Population increasing, causing overcrowding & increased competition for jobs, land and housing = easier life abroad

      • Working conditions tough with long hours and low pay

      • Some forced to go abroad as convicts. Van Deiman’s Land in Australia became a convict settlement.

The Pull reasons why the Scots left Scotland




      • Opportunities: attraction of a better life abroad

      • Existing Communities: Relatives already emigrated wrote back describing an improved lifestyle, weather to persuade others to join them

      • There were opportunities for families to grow up in a new healthy environment

      • Wealth creating opportunities for the willing emigrant = skilled workers and professionals left Scotland to obtain better pay, greater opportunities and to escape poverty

      • Land: generally cheap and abundant

      • Travel: became easier to emigrate, as travel became quicker

      • Fortunes: heard about gold discoveries in new lands

      • Government Organisations: organisations provided assistance with fare, the Highland and Islands Emigration Society helped fund emigration to Australia

      • British Government: main efforts to help people emigrate came in the 1930s and were an attempt to reduce unemployment at home after WW1

      • Charities: Barnardos helped children emigrate and others for handloom weavers.

      • Single women in demand: giving much help to emigrate and became nannies and housekeepers

      • Landowners: Individual Highland landowners and the rich helped people emigrate. Landowners cancelled debts, let crofters sell their stock and help with the passage abroad




      • Agents for abroad: gave talks on benefits of emigration and inspired many to leave. Influential persuasive pamphlets were handed out also.

      • Newspapers would carry adverts describing the better lives and opportunities

      • Success stories about famous emigrants were distributed

      • Presentations from successful emigrants would sometimes come back home to persuade

      • Foreign Governments: offered inducements of land and help with travel costs = to help open up their country and to develop its economy.

      • Weather: attraction of the better climate abroad

      • Religion: To convert people to Christianity like missionaries David Livingstone and Mary Slessor

Scots Emigrants questions
1. Describe the problems faced by Scots which led to them leaving Scotland between 1830 and 1930. 4 marks (2000)
Source A is from a petition sent by Fraserburgh fishermen to the Secretary of state for Scotland in 1888.

On no part of the east coast have the losses arising from the fishing industry fallen so heavily than on Fraserburgh, the most important fishing port on this coast. A scheme of emigration should at once be undertaken so that the surplus population may be saved from what must end in disaster

2. Why did people leave Scotland between 1830 and 1930? Use Source A and recall 5 marks

3. Explain why people emigrated from the highlands of Scotland between 1830 and 1930. 5 marks



  1. Describe the push factors which led Scots to emigrate. 5 marks

Source B is from a modern Historian John Smith his textbook ‘Why the Scots left’ published in 1997




The soil and the weather in the Highlands meant that it was not easy to be a prosperous farmer. Yet a large population lived there. Most were crofters and lived on tiny scraps of land. Many became dependant on growing potatoes, yet in 1846 this crop was hit by blight and left over 100,000 people unable to feed themselves.


5. How useful is source B for explaining why Scots left the Highlands? 5 marks


The Scots Abroad Revision

Where they went to:


      • Most went to Canada, America, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, England

      • Journeys to took a long time on sailing ships

      • Journey times reduced: steam ships took over in the later 19th century

      • Many travelled in cramped, miserable and unhealthy conditions

What it was like:




      • Some Scots faced harsh climates and difficult terrain in their new homes. Many areas contained untamed wildernesses.

      • Others got good land at cheap prices, ready to plough and lots of sunshine.

      • Problems with natives of the countries Scots went to often tried to resist losing their land to the new emigrants but lacked the military strength to win.

      • Scots killed natives to get their land for farming and mining - helped in the destruction of the native’s way of life.

      • Scots took part in the gold rush of the 19th century, not only in America but also in New South Wales in Australia - saw men abandon their place of work in the hope of becoming wealthy by finding gold. Risky life with profits available but also ruin

      • Convicts experience: varied greatly from some being given a great deal of freedom to some being treated cruelly

      • System ended in 1868 because Australia now well developed as a place for free settlers

Why they were successful?




      • Scottish emigrants enjoyed great success overseas and England

      • Successful in industry, finance, politics and education

      • Success was especially due to their education and their skills

      • Welcomed because of skills in farming, banking, mining

      • Prepared to work hard and most had a basic education

      • Adapted better to different conditions - many used to harsh Scottish conditions

      • Created and developed large farms and these farms produced wool and meat for export

      • Developing Societies: made fortunes some became millionaires

      • Charity: used wealth to help less fortunate people, including people at home in Scotland such as Andrew Carnegie

      • Entrepreneurs: John Alexander MacDonald from Glasgow = Canada’s first Prime Minister.

      • John Muir from Dunbar = America’s first National Park

      • Andrew Carnegie, whose family came from Dunfermline became richest man in world = believed his wealth should be used to help others.

Why did some fail?



      • Language: The Gaelic speaking Highlander was not welcome by other settlers - lost tongue

      • Some gave up and returned home

      • Lacked money to achieve much in their new world

      • Failure to make land fertile or profitable

      • Some found the gold rush to be all hype and lies

      • Some homesick

Keeping the heritage:




      • Most Scot emigrants had a real desire to remember their Scots heritage

      • Formed piped bands

      • organised Highland Games

      • Set up Caledonian Societies

      • Wore Highland dress at special occasions

      • Retained their language and dialects

      • Celebrated important days like Burns Night and New Years Day.



Scots Abroad questions


  1. Describe the conditions Scots found on their journeys abroad.

5 marks


  1. Explain why Scots who emigrated were often successful in their new countries.

5 marks (2001)
Source A is from a letter written in 1896 by Neil Calder who left Scotland to settle in Australia

I went to Marlborough on New Year’s Day to the Caledonia society. It was the greatest Scotch gathering in Australia. There was a huge crowd of people there. There were about twenty pipers in Highland costume and I can assure you that my blood warmed when I heard the skirl of old Highland pipes. We had a great scotch dance. It brought olden times back to memory.




  1. Evaluate the usefulness of Source A as evidence of the desire of Scots abroad in the late nineteenth century to remember their Scots heritage? 5 marks (2003)

(you may want to comment on who wrote it, when they wrote it, why they wrote it, what they say or what has been missed out.

Source B is from William Rogerson, a Scot who emigrated to Canada.


This is a wild country and from what I have seen I do not like it. They are mostly Irish except a few merchants who are Scotch. The island is not known in the interior, but it is supposed that there is nothing but Indian savages, deers, foxes, wolves etc.


  1. How fully does Source B explain why some Scots found it difficult to emigrate?

5 marks

Source C comments on the experience of Scots in Australia

The Scottish influence on Australia has been out of all proportion to the number of Scots settling there. By mid-century, Scots were leading all sectors of the Australian economy. Scots arrived as much sought after shepherds, became managers and sometimes rose to become landowners in their own right. Scots merchants quickly established themselves in Sydney and had their fingers in every pie.

Source D: from T.M. Devine, The Scottish Nation 1700-2000 (1999)



The Scots migrants generally made a deep mark on the development of their adopted homelands. …Of course, it would be nonsense to assume that all succeeded, but … the record of the emigrant Scot in the making of North America and Australasia is a formidable one. The Scots who emigrated had acquired a range of skills that few other emigrants from Europe could match. Between 1815 and 1914, as many as half the Scotsmen who moved to the USA were skilled or semi-skilled...To this was added a loyalty to other Scots.



  1. How far do Sources C and D agree about the importance of Scots in developing other countries? 4 marks



Context 6: Immigrants and Exiles: Scotland, 1830s-1930s Revision Guide


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