the story of the united states

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: CHAPTER VII EABLY ATTEMPTS AT HOME BUILDING IN AMERICA IT was not until the sixteenth century that men began to think of living in America, although it had been the goal of fortune hunters for years. The hotheaded Spaniards still hoped to find great Indian cities to plunder; while the English sailors searched for a northwest passage to India and for long-dreamed-of gold mines; but it had not occurred to men to take out their families and build homes for them in the new world until they were driven to it by discomfort in the lands where they were born. Europe was anything but peaceful during the sixteenth century; the different kings were always at war with one another, and their subjects had to carry on their wars for them. A king at that time was an "absolute ruler"; that is, he believed that he was placed over the people by the will of God and that he had a perfect right to do as he pleased, whether it was for the welfare of his kingdom, or merely to satisfy his own selfishness. Now when the men were always away fighting in the king's quarrels, their affairs at home were neglected, their fields went unplanted and their families were hungry. Disease swept over all the countries of Europe as a result of bad and insufficient food and undrained streets, while discontent and un- happiness were everywhere. One great cause of discontent was that a king, not satisfied with ordering about the bodies of his subjects, thought he had the right to order their minds as well; he told themwhat form their religion must take, and if they refused to believe what he told them to believe they were punished, sometimes with death. But in spite of the king's so-called "divine right" to think for them, men were busy thinking for themselves. They began to understand that the king was made for...
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