earth more than fifty thousand years [Footnote: Professor James Geikie, of the University of Edinburgh, suggests, in his Antiquity of Man in Europe (1914), the possible existence of human beings on the earth more than 500,000 years ago!], are accurate, then the bare five hundred years which these volumes pass in review constitute, in time, less than a hundredth part of man's past. Certainly, thousands of years before our day there were empires and kingdoms and city-states, showing considerable advancement in those intellectual pursuits which we call civilization or culture,--that is, in religion, learning, literature, political organization, and business; and such basic institutions as the family, the state, and society go back even further, past our earliest records, until their origins are shrouded in deepest mystery. Despite its brevity, modern history is of supreme importance. Within its comparatively brief limits are set greater changes in human life and action than are to be found in the record
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