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The book, written in 1884, examines controversies of the time as to the origin of the State Research and knowledge available up to that point seem to point to common levels of human progress which the author says confirms his idea that society was once based on a communistic model He cites information on the American Indians, the German tribes that conquered Rome and why Rome fell , how Greek society was organized prior to a State organization Engels says that all State structures are design The book, written in 1884, examines controversies of the time as to the origin of the State Research and knowledge available up to that point seem to point to common levels of human progress which the author says confirms his idea that society was once based on a communistic model He cites information on the American Indians, the German tribes that conquered Rome and why Rome fell , how Greek society was organized prior to a State organization Engels says that all State structures are designed to assist the exploiters exploit the exploited Simply put, monogamy and private property are linked in antiquity, with slavery also coming into existence because of the inability of the herd owning man to care by himself for his livestock Once primeval society had becomecomplex, including the production of excess goods for trade, there was a need forworkers and that was when raiding parties began capturing defeated enemies to turn into slaves The State in classical antiquity was able to keep order in Greek cities that contained many timesslaves than free Greeks The antithesis to the State is the former communistic system of common, shared land, lack of money, and no poor, no rich, no need for police or State, no concept of private ownership of flocks or land The author discusses in detail how these societies were organized and states that American Indian society was based along communistic concepts The author states that tribes, if they are organized along matriarchal lines because of group marriage casual pairing being allowed which the author states is the original social organization of mankind, tribal affiliation is first and foremost he states that in the Pacific NW, sometimes entire tribes occupied one long house, while in other areas of the US, a number of families might occupy a long house, and share the use of canoes, land There might be individual allotments of land for garden plots, but the allotments might be re allocated, and there was no concept that the land was actually the current holder s property, or that the land could be bought sold The author mentions the use of cattle as money at a certain stage of social development, and the eventual supplanting of cattle with coinage money which thereafter took on a life of its own He is particularly negative toward middle men and merchants, using various colorful phrases to describe their parasitic existence since they are not involved in production directly The edition I read was a wonderful edition copyright 1902 by Charles H Kerr Company, which included the Translator s Preface by Ernest Untermann, written in Chicago in August 1902 as well as the Author s preface to the first edition 1884 and Author s preface to the Fourth Edition 1891 I actually did not think this book is that well written, nor does it seem particularly scholarly or rigorous The author occasionally slides into polemics but not very often I could follow his reasoning, which was based on knowledge collected up to that point I have no doubt that much of what he says is actually true, and is not well publicized since it would point to various uncomfortable facts about the organization of human society and the State in general that is, any State One thing I did notice is the author s marked pro German slant, which is, perhaps unsurprising considering the author was a German The tribal German past, the theory that the German tribes invigorated Europe by conquering Rome, and the admiration for the German respect for women, work, democracy, is remarkable he seems to think that the outpouring or migration of German tribes from Germany into Northern France and thence to England, means that these three geographic areas Germany, France, England received the impetus toward democracy from their Germanic tribal heritage I suppose the US founded by Americans of English descent then could be said to have also benefited from the tribes Interestingly, it s said that the Founders may have drawn some inspiration from the political organization of the Iroquois Federation but were they really aware of the analogies of Germanic tribes, that they also had common lands, group marriage, and so forth I m not sure the author s analysis can explain the origin of the State, as an extension of the oppression of women in a monogamous marriage, and the development of the concept of private property, with the rise of herding culture and the need for additional labor with the development of commodity production The book is obviously key to understanding theories of communism ideally, the State would disappear as classes disappeared with the disappearance of private property or most private property I think this book challenges many concepts that are deeply ingrained in human society, such as lineage traced through the father The author claims that once the man laid claim to ownership of herds, and with it the concept of private property , and the woman was in effect locked into non social work in the home, classes arose as it became possible to amass larger herds, masses of slaves, and so forth The State arose because of the contradictions in society the fact that there were many slaves or, in the general, the exploited or the poor free people, vs the rich whether or not they owned slaves A mechanism had to be set up to keep order in a society that included vast inequality and exploitation, as well as a way to ensure women s or the wife s subservience The mechanism was the State, which Engels says was set up in any form it might take to maintain the conditions for continued exploitation, ownership of private property He directly links the rise of the State to the rise of private property, and claims that the rise of the concept of private property occurred when the men in the former matriarchal lineage tribes began to claim livestock as their own property, rather than held in common by the tribe The men previously had been hunters, and made their own tools weapons, which they owned Once livestock was tamed, they realized it was no longer necessary to constantly hunt and muchand varied food was then available, which permitted populations to expand Cattle became the equivalent of money Once the man had split off from the tribe, patriarchy took hold and the man s interest was descent, insuring his wealth since now there was a concept of private property wealth would descend to his heirs on his death Hence the need to essentially imprison the female the end of group marriage or casual pairing, the end of polyandry where it might have existed although adultery and prostitution simultaneously arose with monogamy polygamy Engels traces the entire state of affairs to covetousness the focus on acquisition In this, the link to the revolutionary message of Christianity is evident On a religious side, greed is said to be wrong, there is rhetoric The meek shall inherit the Earth and that there will be a Kingdom of Heaven on Earth as opposed to the secular State, which is perhaps organized to protect private property, as Engels says Yet, after approximately 2,000 years of Xian teaching that greed is not good, along with the example of Jesus himself, who obviously personally shunned private property, nothing has changed other than thatandinformation is amassed on social organization and development Engels was obviously a reformer who decried the exploitation ongoing in his time Serfdom persisted in his time in Russia To say that communism no, or not much private property, thus no need for a State to protect private property was the answer to exploitation, which is the message of Marx and the other communist thinkers, is perhaps an oversimplification Also, it is extremely difficult to re engineer human nature now after 4,000 years of private property patriarchy In fact, I don t think it would have worked even had communism overspread the entire Earth, as envisioned by various thinkers There is a lot of what Engels says that seems to make sense, such as, mankind once was organized along tribal lines, and as tribes, there was no private property other than perhaps a few garden plots although they were not owned per se and could be re allocated other than implements hunting implements made and owned by the males, agricultural cooking weaving sewing implements made and owned individually by the females There was little trade, and no need for money There were no tame livestock, and cooperation was needed to hunt The animals so hunted were then shared with the tribe According to Engels, this was the ideal, because it was a completely flat classless society Democracy was in force with participation of women as well as men at council meetings North American Indian society, since it had not tamed livestock and no livestock had been tamed in the W hemisphere other than the turkey in Mexico and the llama in Peru, according to the author was therefore free of greed private property monogamy patriarchy although men were the warriors political and war leaders Thus, American Indian society as it was discovered described by European settlers scholars post Discovery Conquest is said to offer a glimpse into an earlier stage of human development in general The development of herding and private ownership of livestock is thus given as the key factor that led to the concept of society organized to protect private property, or, the State And several thousand years of private property ownership, State structures probably in place to protect same, patriarchy, and so forth is it possible to erase it all Obviously, the experiments with communism in the last century didn t work out as expected, maybe because the State was still in force, and there was no democracy despite democracy being a key feature of prehistoric early communistic tribal society Probably, the unplanned random aspects of tribal life were what led to the lack of a need for private property Remember, in those days, without herding, without much agriculture, there was enforced cooperation, because in order to survive, hunting fishing collecting seafood gathering vegetables fruits wild grains needed to be done probably constantly If there were no herds of livestock, there was no need to feed the herds The development of organized large scale grain agriculture is traced to the need to provide fodder for herds grain was first grown for animals, according to Engels, and humans only later began eating the grain they were feeding to cattle A hunting gathering communistic society could not take off demographically because of the limited number of foods, uncertain food supply despite the vast amount of wildlife If there was a never ending need to hunt fish subsistence rudimentary agriculture, there would have been little time energy left for anything else What Engels misses is the attachment of humans to anything else that is, activities that do not directly involve day to day existence survival It is very difficult to detach humans from their affection for all the things that are uniquely human, after all, albeit they may have only been enabled by the accumulation of private property enabling leisure study, and could have only existed as long as there was a market for these products, i.e a great deal of extra money accumulated many times through exploitation if not slavery Let s say human society never did move much beyond tribal organization, with no classes, no private property, no monogamy although there might be casual pairing bonds, and no need to ensure descent along the male line, since the only guaranteed descent was through the female line and in any event any property was held in common by the tribe and contrast that to the world today You can even try to transpose the situation of several thousand years ago, or perhaps the tribal situation in North America according to Engels to today s world How could you do it, and would you want to do it The question is Is the bare bones private property less social arrangement, the communistic tribe, the only way to achieve a completely flat non exploiting society that contains no rich and no poor, no social classes whatsoever Are money and the State the hallmarks of exploitation and class differences based on property Is private property inextricably intertwined with poverty, exploitation, slavery, female imprisonment in the home, patriarchy It is truly difficult to say that the tribal arrangement is superior I think much human development such as inventions such as a written language probably did arise in response to questions of ownership taxation laws regarding the preservation of private property which may have initially consisted of livestock Once mankind moved beyond the hunter gatherer subsistence agriculture existence, and figured out how to tame and keep livestock, how can you undo what must have been as progressfood available year round, guaranteed food supply without hunting The expansion of the population must have proved to the tribe that livestock ownership was a superior system to hunting and at that point, it would not take long before private ownership of livestock was claimed, by those who tamed the cattle and wished to keep them around year round covetousness rather than sharing the livestock with the tribe as before animals that were hunted had been shared There was an excess of cattlethan needed to go around The man may have wanted to ensure that his descendants only inherited his wealth the cattle and so patriarchy rather than group marriage casual pairing began including eventually the seclusion of women At the same time, adultery, prostitution started once monogamy started Private property keeping livestock which was based on covetousness or possibly a tribal herd had become too big to manage collectively and it had to be split up among initially nominal owners or responsible people who eventually became actual owners led to many social ills, in this analysis The issue was the rise of the concept of a private property that could therefore be b inherited by an individual, such as a descendant or other kin, as opposed to tribal collective property that cannot be inherited by any individual tribal member, but belongs instead to the tribe collective group Engels is saying the issue is covetousness greed self interest How has the tribal model of human organization worked in human history vs the private property model whether under monarchy democracy Engels is right in that the tribe that lived collectively communistic system probably did lack social classes conflict, in the absence of private property Yet that form of social organization did not result in a critical mass of population In areas of sparse population, it may be that it is difficult to advance in terms of what we know as, or call, progress Is a population safer orsuccessful living in a relatively small group with no private property, no social discord, or in a much larger group Do numbers alone signify success Is demographic advance the indicator of success How can success be measured An expanded population base that can therefore becomespecialized, and possibly hit upon inventions such as the wheel, or writing, or other developments Learning is synonymous with progress, but is it synonymous with success, in discussing all of humankind Engels uses the terms savagery barbarism and civilization and divides these periods into phases, in discussing the progress of mankind Tribalism is in the barbarism or higher barbarism period For Engels, civilization, linked to the rise of the State, is therefore a problem because of the simultaneous development of private property monogamy woman s loss of status class differences However, Engels can only make these observations as a man who is only able to perceive and comment on these issues because of civilization having gone to school and become a scholar and so forth If Engels were living in a tribe what would he know The paradox is that we can only know that there are indeed problems, by living within a State as a product of the problem Of course there are many problems and individuals have come up many times over history to point out injustices Some have lived and some have died, because the entrenched interests didn t want to see anyone upset the apple cart of exploitation The new ideas are then sometimes coopted by the establishment Engels mentions how large church organization in the Middle Ages abbeys tricked small farmers into transferring land titles to the church, in exchange for protection, although the church itself was supposed to be carrying out a new,fair, social schema as set forth by Jesus Engels decries specialization, production of commodities, the market, the merchants, middle men even the rise of money as a symbolic form of wealth that supplanted cattle, which was according to Engels, the first form of money But Engels would not have been in a position to comment about all this had it not been for the society made possible by these ills He simply would not have known because he wouldn t have been affected by the problems, as a tribesman living in a tribe with no private property Certainly, human development diverged at the point when the tribal model split into individual households with private herds of livestock, as opposed to the original tribal model I do not think Engels has thought through the paradox of how the good that arose with the branch that began keeping livestock, can be retained, in a setting of a sort of return to tribal life no money, no classes, no private property, no State Was life in the tribe boring I m not sure Engels has addressed the question of what tribal life possibly unchanging, or possibly satisfying represented, as opposed to life with private property Also, once you have given people a materially better life such as additional food, which might not have been possible with collective herding it s not so easy to take it away But, is the only way to give people a better life through the accumulation of private property wealth class divisions etc Is civilization linked to injustice, if civilization always involves the development of private property and the State Even if that were true, how many would willingly wish to return to abackward form of social organization in order to avoid the downsides of civilization I do not think these thinkers thought through the implications of communism especially with respect to the State, which never did wither away What they wanted to give to the people, had only become possible under a State system, or a system of private property i.eof everything The most important thing the people didn t have when they were exploited in pre revolutionary days, communism couldn t give, because of the fear that covetousness would win over idealism Democracy Today, the culture ofisprevalent than ever arrogance egoism selfishness greed is glorified Income inequality is decried, but people still mock the opposite sharing, selflessness, the group vs the individual Engels would be dumbstruck by the exponential expansion of the world s population since the late 19th Century what would he make of the 20th Century communist experiments Would he still predict the imminent demise of capitalism along with private property, the family, classes, exploitation, the State Most of the work outlined in this book has been disproved It is rudimentary, a great summation of mid 19th century anthropology I like his analysis of Iroquois tribes as compared with Far Eastern configurations of the family Basically his argument is that pre capitalist societies and non western societies, notably Native American tribes have already understood basic principles of communism, and that in many ways it isnatural to have common property rights, and community based child rais Most of the work outlined in this book has been disproved It is rudimentary, a great summation of mid 19th century anthropology I like his analysis of Iroquois tribes as compared with Far Eastern configurations of the family Basically his argument is that pre capitalist societies and non western societies, notably Native American tribes have already understood basic principles of communism, and that in many ways it isnatural to have common property rights, and community based child raising, than the way the family is configured in contemporary society He makes some arguments that have kind of become glossed over or completely forgotten by contemporary Marxists that capitalism is inherently patriarchal, that it takes a village to raise a child and that we are all better of when we know how to share Although he constantly reverts to teleological discussions Progressivist arguments about how feudalism becomes capitalism which becomes socialism which then becomes communism Most contemporary Marxists have abandoned this schematic for reasons I have yet to fully understand IntroductionNote on the Text The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State Glossary of Some Contemporary Terms and Concordance with Engels s UsageIndex One of the very first IMPORTANT works that I ever read in university This provoked discussion among my friends and felt RELEVANT despite being so very old If Karl Marx is too dry for you or too long then try Engels, Marx s tag team partner in thought Jen from Quebec 0 Friedrich Engels takes you on a tour around the evolution of the human society into the current establishment we take for granted as the ever existing standard No doubt there are many holes left in this study of anthropology, it provides a systematic study into the transformation of an egalitarian society of humans in their primitive stages savagery barbarism to a state controlled monogamist society civilization I What s good about the book Its a great introduction to anthropology for eve Friedrich Engels takes you on a tour around the evolution of the human society into the current establishment we take for granted as the ever existing standard No doubt there are many holes left in this study of anthropology, it provides a systematic study into the transformation of an egalitarian society of humans in their primitive stages savagery barbarism to a state controlled monogamist society civilization I What s good about the book Its a great introduction to anthropology for everyone, inspite of the political inclinations of the author Engels provides an explanation of how the economic conditions slowly influenced the social structure and changed the woman centric group family into a monogamistic male centric slave owning one Engels bases his foundations on Lewis H Morgan s kinship theory, the American anthropologist social theorist Although many aspects of Morgan s anthropology theory have been rejected by the modern day anthropologists, Engels cannot be simply thrown away The matrilineal structure of a group family in the early tribes has been proven of recent 1 2 Thus, inspite of the outdatedness of the theory built and possibly many faults with it, it is definitely worth re assessing it again in light of recent findings II Some of the let downs problems with the book1 Engels has sadly not considered Indian societal structure, when he claims how exogamy amongst tribes was the norm amongst the Native American tribes India exhibits an exact opposite norm of endogamy amongst tribes, owing to its caste system The Indian system does have a system of gotras to prevent intermarriage amongst kins, but nevertheless, its a complicated system with endogamy at the top 2 I found certain claims in the book a bit abrupt without a scientific backing, and need to dig in further to verify them a The woman did not own any means of production but wasinvolved in household work It seems a bit contradictory to me, given that women are known to be involved in agriculture food gathering since antiquity Additionally, women have been involved in many handicraft activities, its difficult to not own the means b The woman was responsible for moving away from the group marriage into a pairing family relationship which ultimately led to monogamy Engels says that the woman found the group marriage inconvenient under growing population in a settling human community However, why that was the case is not clearly mentioned 3 Engels seems to show a remarkable personal hatred towards traders and middle men, which I feel is not befitting a scientific objective thesis.4 The flow of the book is a bit irksome Explanations elaborations for some of the claims in the book come much later III Brief Summary 1 Evolution of Economic Activity Engels takes the example of a number of tribes which were evolving in different regions across the world the Iroquois Native Americans, the Athenians, Romans, Germans and Celts Each of these start out in the form of a group marriage everyone in group A is married to everyone in group B , arranging themselves with the gens as a basic unit clan, and undergoing further super grouping the forms of phratries and tribes Engels describes how each of these societies ended up into become a centrally controlled state held together by capitalism and mass production as its pillars The society starts out as a set of individual tribes, where humans participate together in producing goods as much as is required to sustain themselves locally Through generation of surplus, it ends up as a hierarchy, where a few capitalists control a large scale production of goods by employing the masses in exchange for wages The produced, as well as the means of production such as the domesticated cattle, tools and the land used for growing crops which was jointly owned by the community, ended up as contested objects for private ownership under the new capitalist system Engels states how a central state was established along with a police force to keep the rules of private ownership sustained and often in the favour of the wealthy 2 Evolution of Marriage More importantly than the economic activity, is the evolution of the relationship between a man and a woman, and therefore, the social positions enjoyed by them Engels discusses the various phases of marriage society went through group marriage, pairing marriage, and eventually monogamy With the origin of mass production and the private property, Engels elaborates in his thesis how a female descent based society became a male descent one, how the property rights of a woman were slowly curtailed and how that of a man grew, and how monogamy the ultimate result gave man the ultimate freedom in his sexual activities while forcing the woman to maintain her chastity Therefore, what is understood by monogamy is essentially, monogamy only for women The discussion explains a number of observations in history and the present polygamy male , prostitution female , dowry, lack of female ownership, etc Engels concludes that the household activities of the woman, that were a social activity in the stages of barbarism, were no longer so in the new model of private property The means of production being owned by the man as according to his activities of hunting and food gathering in the early stages , made him much powerful than the woman Engels further concludes that with the arrival of machine based mass production, the woman can find her part in the social production, and thereby regain her rights of property making her equal to man 3 The Division of Labor From Barbarism to Civilization Engels concludes his thesis with a summary of the above two evolutions together with an evolution of the division of labour starting from the primitive tribes of barbarism The 3 revolutionary stages of the division of labour, which separate barbarism from civilization are Division of labour between tribes which had cattle v s those who did not This signifies the first stage of exchange of mass produced goods Division of labour between agriculture and handicraft industry The amount of work prevented a single person to be involved in both Introduction of the middle man the trader, and along with him, the minted currency for exchange of goods For the first time, a class is introduced that does not concern itself with the production but with the exchange of goods The introduction of the trader marks the threshold of the civilization, and also, the state as described above Engels describes civilization as Civilization is, therefore, according to the above analysis, the stage of development in society at which the division of labor, the exchange between individuals arising from it, and the commodity production which combines them both, come to their full growth and revolutionizes the whole of previous society Finally, Engels follows up with a number of consequences loss of control of produce by the producer, slave labour, mortgages, and a growing hypocrisy in the society to cover up its contradictions IV References 1 2 For a well formatted review Goodreads really needs to improve their formatting , please go to In 1877 an American anthropologist, Lewis Henry Morgan, published a book, Ancient Society In this book, Morgan offered an approach, based on Darwin s theory of evolution, to tracing the development of the family structure in different stages of society, According to Morgan, there is a historical road of progress from savage, via barbaric, to civilized society There are two important lines of thought in Morgan s work 1 Man learns to make tools, apparatus and machines, and gains every greater In 1877 an American anthropologist, Lewis Henry Morgan, published a book, Ancient Society In this book, Morgan offered an approach, based on Darwin s theory of evolution, to tracing the development of the family structure in different stages of society, According to Morgan, there is a historical road of progress from savage, via barbaric, to civilized society There are two important lines of thought in Morgan s work 1 Man learns to make tools, apparatus and machines, and gains every greater control over production The savage collects fish and plants the barbarian uses axes, knifes and bow arrow the civilized man sustains himself with domesticated animals and highly developed agriculture 2 As society passes from one phase to another, the social relations, or the structure of society, changes Savages live in matrilineal clans, with only a taboo on paternal incest barbarians live in group marriages, with taboos on all forms of incest and with exogamy sexual intercourse only outside the clan civilization is characterised by patriarchal family structure, based on inheritance of accumulated property Morgan based his findings in evolutionary anthropology and sociology on his observations on American Indian tribes He was a fervent student of the Indian customs, traditions and ways of life, and he thought he saw in these people the pure state of mankind Or rather, the most purest state, since according to him, the ultimate natural state of Man was long gone and didn t fossilize, so was untraceable.Karl Marx, already in 1845 The German Ideology , proclaimed that history proceeds in a dialectic fashion Mankind inherits the past from his parents property, knowledge, etc and uses this material, combined with his own conscious reflections, to build the future In other words economics determines politics material determines thought So, it doesn t surprise us to see Marx becoming excited and happy when he read Morgan s book In fact, he was so happy and excited that he decided to write a book and incorporate Morgan s sociological ideas into his own economic theories Alas, Marx died before he could finish the book But then Engels picked up the manuscripts and decided to finish the work himself Enter The Origin of the Family, Property and the State 1884 In this book, Engels extends the ideas of Morgan to fit into the dialectical materialistic framework he and Marx developed over the years The result A highly speculative story about how the family structure, private property and the State arose necessarily out of historical developments, culminating of course in nineteenth century capitalism As man passes the stages of savagery and barbarism, and enters civilization, the family structure changes As savages, mankind lived in groups, in which everyone had sex with everyone People lived in clans in which every child was everyone s child, and property wasn t there it would perish, since it comprised natural products or was communal Soon, man learns to use tools and fire with which to process new foods , and the primitive division of labour arises man hunts, women gathers fruits and vegetables and takes care of the kids With this way of living, man is passing into a state of barbarism, in which clans form and sexual intercourse becomesrestricted No incest allowed, and gradually people start to live in family groups and look for mates in other clans i.e exogamy Stable pair bonding forms, and regulations to start and terminate marriage originate.But then something peculiar happened In the Old World i.e on the Eurasian continent people found domesticable animals and cultivatable plants So now a new division of labour developed tribes comprised of multiple clans herding flocks of animals on pastures, and tribes who traded their products with these nomads for meat and milk With this new way of production, social relations changed immediately as animals became domesticated, it became important to own as much of them as possible and to pass them over to your offspring Hence, private property becomes a part of the way of life But private property and herding animals have one precondition If you own animals, you want to make sure that your offspring are really your offspring you don t want to be cheated by your wife, and pass over your property to another man s children This is a deep rooted evolutionary problem the woman is sure of her parenthood, the man isn t This way of living, this way of production, forced upon the clans the need for patriarchal family structure The man dominates the family and sexual intercourse is highly restricted of course, the man is allowed mistresses and prostitution, but the woman is punished severely for any form of adultery The monogamous family and private property are both a product of this new form of production.And then things start to proceed faster The division of labour into herdsmen and agricultural producers leads immediately to a second division of labour As capital cattle starts to accumulate, rich and poor become concepts The family is now the social unit within society, and property becomes a dividing force.Now, Engels, has managed to get his foot in between the door, and he proceeds brilliantly Population increases due to increased productivity of food and clothing i.e division of labour , family wealth increases, but also growing differences between have s and have not s, and this calls for a structural authority that can impose order on society And when you can get some from someone else, why produce yourself War becomes an end in itself plunder and rape become instruments of the tribe to acquire property without producing Witness here the third major division of labour working for a living becomes degrading, the use of power and force become tools, and slavery becomes an important part of social production and slave economies become widespread Working becomes something particularly suited to the oppressed, money is to be made primarily in trading the products of slavery, or through the possession of land and cattle It is here that civilization truly breaks through Being a merchant becomes a profession parasites or genuine social sycophants , as Engels calls them and metallic money replaces cattle as the universal commodity The commodity is now a tool for non producers to dominate the producers and appropriate their production We have here, for the first time, a class society an aristocracy inherited wealth , workers, artisans and slaves Slaves, money and land lead to new social relationships and create a heterogeneous society, in which class relationships cut through existing genealogical clan relationships Gentile constitution consisted of elections, assemblies and appointed military commanders, but lacked coercive power the exploitation of the many demands permanent coercion and force This phase of society thus sees the end of the gentile i.e clan constitution and its replacement by the State and its laws.According to Engels, the state is the product of a society that has plunged itself into self contradictions and split itself up into class antagonisms A power is wanted to resolve these conflicts of economic interests This power is the state 1 it has a territorial basis as opposed to bonds of kinship 2 it possesses public force police, army, prison system, etc 3 it taxes the people to finance itself later on state debts emerge 4 authority enters the hands of permanent officials, who are above and alienated from society as opposed to earlier appointed temporary military leaders 5 the rights of a citizen are based on property as opposed to earlier family relationships later on, this becomes universal suffrage and the state plays off the people against each other Engels has Bismarck in mind So, for Engels, there is a direct historical development to be traced by studying American Indians, ancient Greece and Rome, the Germans and Celts, and contemporary for Engels society It shows multiple divisions of labour between the sexes, between rich and poor families , between merchants and producers, between slaves and freemen culminating in a class society that is completely determined by the means of social production and in which the oppressed multitude becomes due to the law of accumulation of capital becomes ever greater, until it reaches the breaking point Class antagonisms and self contradictions run rampant and money is the universal commodity The monogamous family and adulterating husband is the social unit of this society, and women are oppressed To summarize the monogamous family in which the woman is oppressed , private property and the state and its laws all arise from the historical development of social division of labour Culture follows economics new ways of production lead to new values and ways of living Some societies remain in the stage of savagery or barbarism, while others develop, both for contingent historical reasons like climate, availability of domesticable animals, etc , into civilizations of which some perish ancient Greece and Rome and some proceed yet further contemporary Britain and Germany.As always, Engels just like Marx ends his interesting speculations with threats and promises Civilization, with its state, its laws, its monogamous family structure, its private property, is a transitory historical phase Communism will end this and herald a new time, in which class relationships are broken down, sexual freedom will reign and property will be communal In short a Utopian vision of how mankind should live Engels and Marx weren t really familiar with the naturalistic fallacy, which says that you can t get an ought from an is throughout their work they mix up their highly interesting and speculative theories with their own ideological values Engels predictions about Communism as prophylactic to modern day civilization are nothing but ideological wishes, and have nothing to do with the theories he describes earlier in the book But to be fair, this doesn t make the content of The Origin of the Family, Property and the State less interesting Although Engels primarily uses Morgan s findings, which are by now superseded by newer anthropological theories, there are two major issues which deserve to be remembered 1 Engels is one of the first to recognize human biology in the problem of sexual freedom Why don t communal living and free sex work Because human beings come equipped with emotions, like jealousy, lust, uncertainty about parenthood for men Marriage and oppression of women can be traced to the ultimate biological dilemma I want to know for sure that the child of my wife is mine all cultures have found ways to tackle this question, some of which we disapprove highly the treatment of women in Muslim societies and some which aren t working at all the way Western society is functioning right now Engels points to human sexuality as an important causal factor in family structure, marriage regulations, property rights, etc 2 Engels is also the first one to clearly state the impact of contingent historical factors in the development of societies The availability of domesticable animals, cultivatable and eatable plants, favourable climatic and geographical conditions, etc True, Montesquieu and Adam Smith also pointed to things like climate and geography as causes of juridical and economic developments, but in my opinion they weren t so explicit as Friedrich Engels in this book Contemporary scholar Jared Diamond has come to the conclusion in his Guns, Germs and Steel 1997 that the availability of domesticable animals and plants was a contingent factor in the rise of European civilization For this, Engels deserves to be praised.Nevertheless, he bases his own theory of dialectical materialism on evolutionary anthropological theories of Morgan, which were highly speculative Both Marx, Engels and Morgan have a conception of history as a succession of phases this is flawed thinking There is no ladder to civilization , just like there is no hierarchy of species In the times of Engels and Morgan, intellectuals still believed in Victorian Britain as the culmination of civilization and in British Man as the supreme organism tribes in far off regions colonies, mostly were deemed to be brutes or savages, the Africans, for example, were regarded as a station of passage from ape to Man The way people spoke about other cultures during these times betrays racism and supremacist colonist thinking For this reason, one cannot really accept the principles underlying the sociological theories of those times This is, by the way, not the same as contemporary cultural relativism, which states that all cultures are equal, etc Up to World War II, racism and racial theories were mainstream ideas and should be treated, in my opinion, as merely historical facts without drawing any ethical implications about those ideas or their proponents We all know these ideas were ethically wrong, but let s leave that outside historical analysis of past ideas Anyway, this book is the second work of Friedrich Engels that I read Engels is a muchclear and accessible writer than Marx was And in general they adhered to the same economic theory It s just that Engels picked muchinteresting subjects to write about and did a much better job explaining his underlying ideas But due to the materials, theories and facts that Engels used in this book, it is possibly slightly outdated as a purely scientific work Read The Origin of the Family, Property, and the State if you re interested in understanding Marxism and don t want to read through 3000 pages of Marx Honestly it took me forever to read this i think i started sometime last year because outside of the fact that Engels simply is not a good writer he isn t and some of the examples in here are made up colonial anthropology which they are and don t really hold water as examples you would get in trouble for citing the research although you can cite Engels conclusions frequently for all of his proclaiming the historical materialist method as answering questions about family private prope Honestly it took me forever to read this i think i started sometime last year because outside of the fact that Engels simply is not a good writer he isn t and some of the examples in here are made up colonial anthropology which they are and don t really hold water as examples you would get in trouble for citing the research although you can cite Engels conclusions frequently for all of his proclaiming the historical materialist method as answering questions about family private property the state, Engels absolutely fails to interrogate sexuality at all almost as a concept or gender roles appealing to a vague essentialism this is a footnote and it isn t though feminist marxists haven t used this as a jumping off point for much better work but this is the sort of analysis that holds back dogmatic marxists from having any sort of intelligent conversation about gender or sexuality On the bright side, this isn t Freud or Lacan This is a very interesting work, specially considering the time when it was written Engels, being very modern for his time, portrays how the first class antagonism in history coincides with the development of a patriarchal society, as man started to settle down and gain private properties He also shows a parallel between the domination of the male in the household with the antagonism between social classes. {Ebook} Ã أصل العائلة والملكية الخاصة والدولة Ä How the emergence of class divided society gave rise to repressive state bodies and family structures that protect the property of the ruling layers and enable them to pass along wealth and privilege Engels discusses the consequences for working people of these class institutions from their original forms to their modern versionsAlso available in French Spanish I re read this after some 30 years after having recommended it to someone Engels provides a materialist view of the origin and development of human social structures by linking the then recent findings of Lewis Morgan on primitive families to the underlying means of procurring food, shelter, and tools He traces the origin of the modern male dominated monogamous family through early group marriage, development of the incest taboos, and gens clan structure arriving at the monogamous family with I re read this after some 30 years after having recommended it to someone Engels provides a materialist view of the origin and development of human social structures by linking the then recent findings of Lewis Morgan on primitive families to the underlying means of procurring food, shelter, and tools He traces the origin of the modern male dominated monogamous family through early group marriage, development of the incest taboos, and gens clan structure arriving at the monogamous family with the advent of private property and the ability for a human to producethan necessary to stay alive With private property comes class divided society, the relegation of women to the status of domestic slave, the need to know heirs to pass the property to, and the begining of the exploitation of man by man, in the first instance, through ancient slavery He additionally shows that the end of the oppression of women will occur only when that family structure disappears, she is fully freed from the constraints of household drudgery and she plays a full role in productive society A triumph of the application of historical materialism A few years ago I read Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond who summarizes contemporary understanding of the transition of the hunter gatherer to settled agricultural status By my memory, he doesn t deal at all with social structures Diamond decides that environmental accident governs differences between European versus other human development It would be interesting to re look at the Diamond book now