Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2017

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

Department

History

First Advisor

Paul E.J. Hammer

Second Advisor

Matthew Gerber

Third Advisor

Timothy Wadsworth

Abstract

In 1924 Norman MacKenzie, a Scottish World War I naval veteran, decided with his wife Annie MacKenzie to move their young family to Saskatchewan farmland in Canada. They boarded the famous Metagma ship sailing from Stornoway, on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, for a new life in the Canadian prairies. My great-grandparents’ and grandmother’s story is not uncommon. This was a familiar movement for many Scottish Highlanders and Islanders in the 20th century. Additionally, this post-war emigration from Scotland was certainly not an isolated incident. Scotland has experienced mass emigration, particularly from the Highlands, throughout the late 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries to destinations such as America, New Zealand, and Australia. However, as a prominent Dominion of the Great British Empire, Canada was a particularly popular destination for Scottish emigrants. In fact, between 1920 and 1929, approximately 34,946 Scottish immigrants moved to Canada making it the most popular destination for emigrants during the interwar period.Certainly the implementation of immigration and dominion policy between Great Britain and Canada encouraged the migration event, but where were the Scots in this decision? Stated another way, why did Highland Scots willingly move to Canada away from their family, their country, their Scots Gaelic community? What were the legislative pressures, socio-economic conditions, and political climates in post-war Canada and Britain that may have influenced one of the biggest mass migrations out of Scotland? Through the analysis of Canadian immigration advertising, particularly imagery and verbiage in recruitment posters and magazine covers, this thesis explains and synthesizes the motivating factors in a transnational migration event.

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