Questions about example sentences with, and the definition and usage of "Despotism"

The meaning of "Despotism" in various phrases and sentences

Q: What does The despotism and hatred of Liberalism which animated the Continental Governments had had the effect of driving to our shores a number of men who might have made excellent citizens were they not soured by the recollection of all that they had undergone. mean?
A: "despotism and hatred of Liberalism" means a ruler with absolute power hates Liberalism (Form of government and society).

"Animated" means the ruler caused something.

"the Continental Governments" means early American government in the United States of America.

"had the effect of driving to our shores a number of men" the ruler's hatred caused men to go to the America's.

"who might have made excellent citizens were they not soured by the recollection of all that they had undergone." means the people who the ruler caused to come to the America's were most likely good people who were caught up in the political situation and did bad things because of it.

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