New PDF release: A History of France

By William S Davis

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Sample text

Long before the days of railroads, the canal and river systems rendered it relatively easy to move heavy freight from one end to the other of the country, giving a great impetus toward national unity not enjoyed by lands more dependent for communications on carts and packhorses: and even now in the days of railroads the river barge has been a serious competitor to the freight train. Making the circuit of the French coasts one finds a succession of important rivers, and along the banks of each thereof lie numerous famous cities and millions of prosperous people.

Warm thanks also are due to my colleagues Dean Guy S. Ford and Professors M. W. Tyler and A. C. Krey, of the History Department of this university, for careful reading of the manuscript, and for many valuable suggestions and corrections. W. S. D. The University of Minnesota Minneapolis, Minn. CHAPTER I. " This statement was all the more true on the eve of the Great War in 1914. To understand the history of any country, however, it is absolutely necessary to understand something of its geography, and geographical factors have influenced the history of France certainly as much as that of any great nation of the Old World save possibly in the case of England.

Usually they dwelt in tribes each under its elected or hereditary chief, with his Druids for advisers or spiritual masters, and his body of warriors who chose or confirmed him and then fought his battles. Below the warriors was a less honorable company of the servile men and of the women who performed the inglorious works of peace, tilled the fields, pounded the grain, and reared the children, while their lords lolled on their bearskins, drank much home-brewed liquor or choicer wines from Greek traders, gambled, quarreled, hunted, and waited a summons to battle.

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A History of France by William S Davis

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