The History of Human Marriage - Vol. 1

By Edward Westermarck | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III
A CRITICISM OF THE HYPOTHESIS OF PROMISCUITY: ALLEGED INSTANCES OF PEOPLES LIVING IN PROMISCUITY

THE inference that marriage and the family consisting of parents and children existed among primitive man is opposed to the views held by many sociologists who have written upon early history. It is often said that the human race must have originally lived in a state of promiscuity, where individual marriage did not exist, where all the men in a horde or tribe had indiscriminately access to all the women, and where the children born of these unions belonged to the community at large. This opinion has been expressed by Bachofen, McLennan, Morgan, Lord Avebury, GiraudTeulon, Lippert, Kohler, Post, Wilken, Kropotkin, Wilutzky, Bloch, and many others.1 It is apparently somewhat less

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1
Bachofen, Das Mutterrecht, pp. xix. xx. 10. Idem, Antiquarische Briefe, p. 20 sq. McLennan, Studies in Ancient History, pp. 92, 95. Idem, Studies in Ancient History. Second Series, pp. 55, 57. Morgan, Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity, pp. 480, 487sq. Idem, Ancient Society, pp. 418, 500sqq. Avebury, Origin of Civilisation, p. 68sqq. Idem, Marriage, Totemism and Religion, p. 3sqq. Giraud-Teulon, Les origines du mariage et de la famille, p. 70. Lippert, Kulturgeschichte der Menschheit, ii. 7. Kohler, "'Ein Beitrag zur ethnologischen Jurisprudenz,'" in Zeitschr. vergl. Rechtswiss. iv. 267. Post, Die Geschlechtsgenossenschaft der Urzeit, p. 16sq. Idem, Die Grundlagen des Rechts, p. 183sq. Idem, Studien zur Entwickelungsgeschichte des Familienrechts, p. 54sq. Wilken, "'Over de primitieve vormen van het huwelijk en den oorsprong van het gezin,'" in De Indische Gids, 1880, vol. ii. 611. Idem, Das Matriarchat bei den alten Arabern, p. 7sq. Kropotkin, Mutual Aid, pp. 86, 313sqq. Wilutzky, Vorgeschichte des Rechts, i. 12sqq. Bloch, Sexual Life of Our Time, p. 188sqq. Fiske, Outlines of Cosmic Philosophy, ii. 345. Kulischer, "'Die geschlecht"

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