Tag Archives: private property

The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State (Frederick Engels)

“The increase in wealth gave more status to the man in the family and provided the stimulus to overthrow the traditional order of matrilinial inheritance to establish the institution of patriliny. Engels argues that this gender revolution took place in prehistoric times (i.e., before the development of writing) and therefore the exact knowledge of how and when it took place is unknown but it can be demonstrated ethnographically. He states “the overthrow of mother right was the world-historic defeat of the female sex”.2 Men seized control over the households, women became degraded and slaves to men’s lust and were the instruments for reproducing more children. In fact, the word family comes from the Latin term famulus which means household slave, and familia, the totality of slaves belonging to one man, the patriarch, who inherited all the wealth and wielded absolute power over all members of the household. This shift towards gender inequality was presented as a natural, not a social process.” (excerpt)

Download: Engels-Origin of the Family