Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Family and Recovery from the Addiction
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For a historical study of family >>

Engels says [extracts]

The “great sequence of inventions and discoveries;” and the history of institutions, with each of its three branches - family, property and government - constitute the progress made by human society from its earliest stages to the beginning of civilization.

Commenting on this outstanding book in the light of which he had written ‘The Origin of Family, Private Property and State’ which again contains a summary of the important facts established by Morgan in “Ancient Society,” Engels says, “Morgan’s great merit lies in the fact that he discovered and re-constructed in its main lines the pre-historic basis of our written history; so long as no important additional material makes changes necessary, his classification will undoubtedly remain in force.”

In like manner, the family has passed through successive forms, and created great systems of consanguinity and affinity which have remained to the present time. These systems, which record the relationships existing in the family of the period, when each system respectively was formed, contain an instructive record of the experience of mankind while the family was advancing from the consanguine, through intermediate forms, to the monogamian.

The fruit of his researches was “The League of the Iroquois” (1851; new ed. 1904) which was the first scientific account of an Indian tribe ever given to the world. The success of the book encouraged him to further research, resulting in his “Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of the Human Family” ( 1869). In 1877 he added to his reputation by publishing “Ancient Society, or Researches in the Lines of Human Progress from Savagery through Barbarism, to Civilization.”

www.marxist. org Morgan in “Ancient Society,” extracts >>>

House architecture, which connects itself with the form of the family and the plan of domestic life, affords a tolerably complete illustration of progress from savagery to civilization. Its growth can be traced from the hut of the savage, through the communal houses of the barbarians, to the house of the single family of civilized nations, with all the successive links by which one extreme is connected with the other.

It may be further observed that the domestic institutions of the barbarous, and even of the savage ancestors of man- kind, are still exemplified in portions of the human family with such completeness that, with the exception of the strictly primitive period, the several stages of this progress are tolerably well preserved. They are seen in the organization of society upon the basis of sex, then upon the basis of kin, and finally upon the basis of territory; through the successive forms of marriage and of the family, with the systems of consanguinity thereby created; through house life and architecture; and through progress in usages with respect to the ownership and inheritance of property.

The family name among ourselves is a survival of the gentile name, with descent in the male line, and passing in the same manner. The modern family, as expressed by its name, is an unorganized gens; with the bond of kin broken, and its members as widely dispersed as the family name is found.

Among savage and barbarous tribes there is no name for the family. The personal names of individuals of the same family do not indicate any family connection between them. The family name is no older than civilization.[12] Indian personal names, however, usually indicate the gens of the individual to persons of other gentes in the same tribe. As a rule each gens had names for persons that were its special property, and, as such, could not he used by other gentes of the same tribe. A gentile name conferred of itself gentile right. These names either proclaimed by their signification the gens to which they belonged, or were known as such by common reputation.[13]

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