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The Origin of the Family Private Property and the State

by Friedrich Engels

ISBN 0898754690 / 9780898754698 / 0-89875-469-0
Publisher University Press of the Pacific
Language English
Edition Softcover
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Book summary

An eternal being created human society as it is today, and submission to superiors and authority is imposed on the lower classes by divine will. This suggestion, coming from the pulpit, platform and press, has hypnotized the minds of men and proves to be one of the strongest pillars of exploitation.

The history of the family dates from 1861, the year of the publication of Bachofens Mutterrecht (maternal law) Engles makes the following propositions:

1. That in the beginning people lived in unrestricted sexual intercourse, which he dubs, not very felicitously, hetaerism.

2. That such an intercourse excludes any absolutely certain means of determining parentage; that consequently descent could only be traced by the female line in compliance with maternal law  and that this was universally practiced by all the nations of antiquity.

3. That consequently women as mothers, being the only well known parents of younger generations, received a high tribute of respect and deference, amounting to a complete womens rule (gynaicocracy), according to Bachofens idea.

4. That the transition to monogamy, reserving a certain woman exclusively to one man, implied the violation of the primeval religious law (i.e., practically a violation of the customary right of all other men to the same woman), which violation had to be atoned for its permission purchased by the surrender of the women to the public for a limited time. [via]