The Origin of the Family: Private Property and the State

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University Press of the Pacific, 2001 - Social Science - 220 pages
16 Reviews
"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 Bachofen?s "Mutterrecht" (maternal law) Engles makes the following propositions: *That in the beginning people lived in unrestricted sexual intercourse, which he dubs, not very felicitously, hetarism. *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. *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 woman?s rule (gynaicocracy), according to Bachofen?s idea. *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.

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Review: The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State

User Review  - Bharath Punati - Goodreads

Excellent. Must read for everybody who wants to understand evolution of family and human society Read full review

Review: The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State

User Review  - Achille Marotta - Goodreads

Would give it 5 stars if the data weren't horribly outdated. Engels, and we can't blame him for making the most of what was available at his time, relies on very questionable material. Despite this ... Read full review

About the author (2001)

Friedrich Engels is perhaps best remembered as the confidant, colleague, and benefactor of Karl Marx. Engels was born into a Calvinist family on November 28, 1820. The family owned fabric mills in the Rhineland and had business interests in Manchester, England, Engels joined the family business at age 16; he never had a formal university education. Despite his family's industrial background, Engels was sympathetic to the poverty of the working masses. At age 18 he published an attack on industrial poverty, and later joined the Hegelian movement that so influenced Marx and bothered conservative Prussian authorities. Engels first met Marx in 1842, while Marx was editor of a radical newspaper in Cologne. However, they did not establish their lifelong friendship until they met again in Paris two years later. Engels published several works related to economics, the first of which, Outlines of a Critique of Political Economy (1844), attempted to reconcile Hegelian philosophy with the principles of political economy. His second book, The Condition of the Working Class in England (1845), was a damning description and condemnation of the poverty generated by the Industrial Revolution. Engels also co-authored three major works with Marx, the most important being the Communist Manifesto (1948). Engels also wrote several historical works, which are more important to historians than to economists. These include The Peasant War in Germany (1850), Germany: Revolution and Counter-Revolution (1851), and The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State (1884). In general, these works are more descriptive than theoretical, and they closely parallel Marx's views on industrialization and class struggle. In addition to being a friend of Marx, Engels was his prime benefactor for a number of years. During their early years in London, beginning in 1849, the Marx family was nearly destitute, and it was only through the generosity of Engels that they prevailed. Engels was also responsible for the publication of Marx's Das Kapital. Before his death, Marx was only able to complete the first volume of this work, and so Engels edited and arranged for the publication of the last two volumes after Marx's death. Engels was an engaging and thoughtful writer. It was perhaps his great fortune and misfortune that he was connected so closely to Marx. On the one hand, he was responsible for bringing much of Marx's work to fruition in his role as benefactor and editor. On the other hand, the shadow of Marx eclipsed some of the exposure that Engels's own ideas and contributions might have had. Engels died of throat cancer in London, 1895. Following cremation at Woking Crematorium, his ashes were scattered off Beachy Head, near Eastbourne as he had requested.

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