DigiCat Publishing presents to you this special edition of "Great Events in the History of North and South America" by Charles A. Goodrich. DigiCat Publishing considers every written word to be a legacy of humankind. Every DigiCat book has been carefully reproduced for republishing in a new modern format. The books are available in print, as well as ebooks. DigiCat hopes you will treat this work with the acknowledgment and passion it deserves as a classic of world literature.
History, if we define it as the mere transcription of the written records of former generations, can go no farther back than the time such records were first made, no farther than the art of writing. But now that we have come to recognize the great earth itself as a story-book, as a keeper of records buried one beneath the other, confused and half obliterated, yet not wholly beyond our comprehension, now the historian may fairly be allowed to speak of a far earlier day. For unmeasured and immeasurable centuries man lived on earth a creature so little removed from "the beasts that die," so little superior to them, that he has left no clearer record than they of his presence here. From the dry bones of an extinct mammoth or a plesiosaur, Cuvier reconstructed the entire animal and described its habits and its home. So, too, looking on an ancient, strange, scarce human skull, dug from the deeper strata beneath our feet, anatomists tell us that the owner was a man indeed, but one little better than an ape. A few æons later this creature leaves among his bones chipped flints that narrow to a point; and the archæologist, taking up the tale, explains that man has become tool-using, he has become intelligent beyond all the other animals of earth. Physically he is but a mite amid the beast monsters that surround him, but by value of his brain he conquers them. He has begun his career of mastery.