Historical Reprints Philosophical Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State

Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State

Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State
Catalog # SKU3319
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name Frederick Engels
ISBN 10: 1610337026
ISBN 13: 9781610337021


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

Frederick Engels

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

Large Print, 15 point font



Scientific investigation has revealed long ago that human society is not cast in a stereotyped mould. As organic life on earth assumes different shapes, the result of a succession of chemical changes, so the group life of human beings develops different social institutions as a result of increasing control over environment, especially of production of food, clothing and shelter.

The forces, which have brought about the present social order, continue their work regardless of the wishes of a few exploiters. A comprehensive work summarizing our present knowledge of the development of social institutions is, therefore, a timely contribution to socialist propaganda. In order to meet the requirements of socialists, such a summary must be written by a socialist. All the scientists who devoted themselves to the study of primeval society belonged to the privileged classes, and even the most radical of them, Lewis Morgan, was prevented by his environment from pointing out the one fact, the recognition of which distinguishes the socialist position from all others-THE EXISTENCE OF A CLASS STRUGGLE.


According to the materialistic conception, the decisive element of history is pre-eminently the production and reproduction of life and its material requirements. This implies, on the one hand, the production of the means of existence (food, clothing, shelter and the necessary tools); on the other hand, the generation of children, the propagation of the species. The social institutions, under which the people of a certain historical period and of a certain country are living, are dependent on these two forms of production; partly on the development of labor, partly on that of the family. The less labor is developed, and the less abundant the quantity of its production and, therefore, the wealth of society, the more society is seen to be under the domination of sexual ties. However, under this formation based on sexual ties, the productivity of labor is developed more and more.

At the same time, private property and exchange, distinctions of wealth, exploitation of the labor power of others and, by this agency, the foundation of class antagonism, are formed. These new elements of society strive in the course of time to adapt the old state of society to the new conditions, until the impossibility of harmonizing these two at last leads to a complete revolution. The old form of society founded on sexual relations is abolished in the clash with the recently developed social classes. A new society steps into being, crystallized into the state. The units of the latter are no longer sexual, but local groups; a society in which family relations are entirely subordinated to property relations, thereby freely developing those class antagonisms and class struggles that make up the contents of all written history up to the present time.


We begin in the West, because there this stage was never outgrown up to the time of the conquest by Europeans.

At the time of their discovery, the Indians in the lower stage of barbarism (all those living east of the Mississippi) carried on cultivation on a small scale in gardens. Corn, and perhaps also pumpkins, melons and other garden truck were raised. A very essential part of their sustenance was produced in this manner. They lived in wooden houses, in fortified villages. The tribes of the Northwest, especially those of the region along the Columbia river, were still in the higher stage of savagery, ignorant of pottery and of any cultivation of plants whatever. But the so-called Pueblo Indians in New Mexico, the Mexicans, Central-Americans and Peruvians, were in the middle-stage of barbarism.

They lived in fortlike houses of adobe or stone, cultivated corn and other plants suitable to various conditions of localities and climate in artificially irrigated gardens that represented the main source of nourishment, and even kept a few tamed animals-the Mexicans the turkey and other birds, the Peruvians the llama. Furthermore they were familiar with the use of metals-iron excepted, and for this reason they could not get along yet without stone weapons and stone implements. The conquest by the Spaniards cut short all further independent development.

304 pages - 7 x 8½ softcover
ISBN-10: 1610337026
ISBN-13: 9781610337021

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