The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State

The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State

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The most influential theory of the origins of women’s oppression in the modern era, in a beautiful new edition.

In this provocative and now-classic work, Friedrich Engels explores the interrelated development of the family and the state from ancient society to the Victorian era. Drawing on new anthropological theories of his time, Engels argued that matriarchal communal societies had been overthrown by class society and its emphasis on private, not communal, property and monogamous, rather than polygamous, sexual organization. This historical development, Engels argued, constituted “the world-historic defeat of the female sex.”

A masterclass in the application of materialist thought to history and anthropology, and touching on love, monogamy, property, and the development of the human, this landmark work is still foundational in Marxist and socialist feminist theory.