The Relation of Sex to Primitive Social Control

THE first expressions of culture, feeble, unformulated, and unreflective in their nature, are incidental accompaniments of physiological desires and of their satisfaction through appropriate forms of activity. The two physiological desires of the first magnitude are nutrition and reproduction, and associated life in human as in animal society is reached more immediately through the activities connected with the fact of sex than through the activities connected with the stimulus furnished by food. And further, the characteristic steps in culture are to be referred in their genesis to organic peculiarities of the male and female, and of the two the female is the more immediately social nature.[1]

The old theory of promiscuity, associated conspicuously with the name of Lubbock, has been elaborately discredited by Westermarck, [2] but it must be recognized that in arguing for a definite system of monogamy in early society, after the analogy of monogamous unions in animal society, Westermarck is quite as wide of the mark in the opposite direction. There was a tendency to monogamy among animals, dictated, along with other instinctive practices, by natural selection. But the very powerful animal instinct of copulation-for- reproduction-only disappeared completely in the human species with the introduction of memory, imagination, and clothing, and there intervened between animal monogamy and civilized monogamy a period when the reflective attention of society was fixed on the fact of sex, resulting in a type of sexual union more inconstant than that found among certain animals, and yet not systematically promiscuous, in the sense that it implied the commonly

(755) recognized right of every male of the group to every female of the group -- a relation which, from its tendency to the assertion of choice, and the rapidly shifting fixation of choice, may be by courtesy called discontinuous monogamy.

While at a disadvantage in point of force when compared with the male, the female has enjoyed a negative superiority in the fact that her sexual appetite was not so sharp as that of the male. Primitive man, when he desired a mate, sought her. The female was more passive and stationary. She exercised the right of choice, and had the power to transfer her choice more arbitrarily than has usually been recognized; but the need of protection and assistance in providing for offspring inclined her to a permanent union. and doubtless natural selection favored the groups in which parents cooperated in caring for the offspring. But assuming a relation permanent enough to be called marriage, the man was still, as compared with the woman, unsettled and unsocial. He secured food by violence or cunning, and hunting and fighting were fit expressions of his somatic habit. The woman was the social nucleus, the point to which he returned from his wanderings. In this primitive stage of society, however, the bond between woman and child was altogether more immediate and constraining than the bond between woman and man. The maternal instinct is reinforced by necessary and constant association with the child. We can hardly find a parallel for the intimacy of association between mother anti child during the period of lactation; anti, in tile absence of domesticated animals or suitable foods, and also, apparently, from simple neglect formally to wean the child, this connection is greatly prolonged. The child is frequently suckled from four to five years, and occasionally from ten to twelve.[3] In consequence we find society literally growing up about the woman. The mother and her children, and her childrens' children, and so on indefinitely in the female line, Form a group. But the men were not so completely incorporated in this group as the women, not only because parentage was uncertain and naming of children consequently on the female side, but because

(756) the man was neither by necessity nor disposition so much a home- keeper as the women and their children.

The tangential disposition of the male is expressed in the system of exogamy so characteristic of tribal life. The movement towards exogamy doubtless originates in the restlessness of the male, the tendency to make new coordinations, the stimulus to seek more unfamiliar women, and the emotional interest in making unfamiliar sexual alliances. But quite aside from its origin, exogamy is an energetic expression of the male nature. Natural selection favors the process by sparing the groups which by breeding out have heightened their physical vigor.[4] There results from this a social condition which, from the standpoint of modern ideas, is very curious. The man makes, and, by force of convention, finally must make, his matrimonial alliances only with women of other groups, but the woman still remains in her own group, and the children are members of her group, while the husband remains a member of his own clan, and is received, or may be received, as a guest in the clan of his wife. Upon his death his property is not shared by his children, nor by his wife, since these are not members of his clan, but it falls to the nearest of kin within his clan -- usually to his sister's children.

The maternal system of descent is found in all parts of the world where social advance stands at a certain level, and the evidence warrants the assumption that every group which advances to a culture state passes through this stage. Morgan gives an account of this system among the Iroquois:

Each household was made up on the principle of kin. The married women, usually sisters, own or collateral, were of the same yens or clan, the symbol or totem of which was often painted upon the house, while their husbands and the wives of their sons belonged to several other gentes. The children were of the yens of their mother. While husband and wife belonged to different gentes. the predominating number in each household would be of the same gens, namely, that of their mothers. As a rule the sons brought home their wives, and in some cases the husbands of the daughters were

(757) admitted to the maternal household. Thus each household was composed of a mixture of persons of different gentes, but this would not prevent the numerical ascendancy of the particular yens to whom the house belonged. In a village of one hundred and twenty houses, as the Seneca village of Tiotohatton described by Mr. Greenbalge in 1677, there would be several houses belonging to each gens. It presented a general picture of the Indian life in all parts of America at the epoch of European discovery. [5]

Morgan also quotes the Rev. Ashur Wright, for many years a missionary among the Senecas, and familiar with their language and customs:

As to their family system, when occupying the old log houses, it is probable that some one clan predominated the women taking in husbands, however, from the other clans, and sometimes for novelty, some of their sons bringing in their young wives until they felt brave enough to leave their mothers. Usually the female portion ruled the house, and were doubtless clannish enough about it. The stores were in common, but woe to the luckless husband or lover who was too shiftless to do his share of the providing No matter how many children or whatever goods he might have in the house, he might at any time be ordered to pick up his blanket and budge, and after such orders it would not be healthful for him to attempt to disobey; the house would become too hot for him, and, unless saved by the intercession of some aunt or grandmother, he must retreat to his own clan, or, as was often done, go and start a new matrimonial alliance in some other. The women were the great power among the clans, as everywhere else. They did not hesitate, when occasion required, to "knock off the horns," so it was technically called, from the head of a chief and send him back to the ranks of the warriors. The original nomination of the chiefs, also, always rested with them. [6]

Traces of the maternal system are everywhere found on the American continent, and in some regions it is still in force. McGee says of the Seri stock of the southwest coast, now reduced to a single tribe, that the claims of a suitor arc pressed by his female relatives, and, if the suit is favorably regarded by the mother and uncles of the girl, the suitor is provisionally installed in the house, without purchase price ice and presents. He is then expected to show his worthiness of a permanent relation by demonstrating his ability as a provider, and by showing himself an implacable fee to aliens He must sup-

(758) port all the female relatives of his bride's family by the products of his skill and industry in hunting and fishing for a year. He is the general protector of the girl's family, and especially of the girl, whose bower and pelican-skin couch he shares, "not as husband, but as continent companion," for a year, If all goes well, he is then permanently received as "consort-guest," and his children are added to the clan of his mother-in-law.[7] With few exceptions, descent was formerly reckoned in Australia in the female line, and the usage survives in some regions. Howitt, in a letter to Professor Tylor, reports of the tribes near Maryborough, Queensland:

When a man marries a woman from a distant locality, he goes to her tribelet and identifies himself with her people. This is a rule with very few exceptions. Of course, I speak of them as they were in their wild state. He becomes a part of, and one of, the family. In the event of a war expedition, the daughter's husband acts as a blood-relation, and will fight and kill his own blood-relations, if blows are struck by his wife's relations. I have seen a father and son fighting under these circumstances, and the son would most certainly have killed the father, if others had not interfere. [8]

In Australia there is also a very sharp social expression of the fact of sex in the division of the group into male and female classes in addition to the division into clans.[9] In the Malay archipelago the same system is found.

Among the Padang Malays the child always belongs to its mother's suku, and all blood-relationship is reckoned through the wife as the real transmitter of the family, the husband being only a stranger. I or this reason his heirs are not his own children, but the children of his sister, his brothers, and other uterine relations; children are the natural heirs of their mother only., ... We may assume that, wherever exogamy is now found coexisting with inheritance through the father (as among Rejangs and Bataks, the people of Nias and Timor, or the Alfurs of Ceram and Buru), this was formerly through the mother; and that the other system has grown up out of dislike to the inconveniences arising from the insecure and dependent condition of the husband in the wife's family.[10]


In Africa descent through females is the rule, with exceptions. The practice of the Wamoima, where the son of the sister is preferred in legacies, because "a man's own son is only the son of his wife," is typical. [11] Battel reported that the state of Loango was ruled by four princes, the sons of the former king's sister, since the own sons of the king never succeeded. [12]

Traces of this system are found in China and Japan, and it is still in full force in parts of India. Among the Kasias of northeast India the husband resides in the house of his wife, or visits her occasionally. " Laws of rank and property follow the strictest maternal type; when a couple separate, the children remain with the mother; the son does not succeed his father, but the raja's neglected offspring may become a common peasant or laborer; the sister's son succeeds to rank, and is heir to the property." [13]

Male kinship prevails among the Arabs, but Professor Robertson Smith has discovered abundant evidence that the contrary practice prevailed in ancient Arabia. "The women of the Jahiliya, or some of them, had the right to dismiss their husbands, and the form of dismissal was this: If they lived in a tent, they turned it round, so that, if the door had faced cast, it now faced west, and when the man saw this, he knew that he was dismissed, and did not enter."[14] And after the establishment of the male system the women still held property -- a survival from maternal times. A form of divorce pronounced by a husband was, " Begone! or I will no longer drive thy flocks to the pasture."[15] " Our evidence seems to show that, when something like regular marriage began, and a free tribeswoman had one husband or one definite group of husbands at a time, the husbands at first came to her and she did not go to them."[16]

Numerous survivals of the older system are also found among the Hebrews. The servant of Abraham anticipated that the bride whom he was sent to bring for Isaac might be unwilling to leave

(760) her home, and the presents which he carried went to Rebekah's mother and brother;[17] Laban says to Jacob, "These daughters are my daughters, and these children are my children ;"[18] the obligation to blood-vengeance rests apparently on the maternal kindred; [19] Sampson's Philistine wife remained among her people; [20] and the injunction in Gen. 2: 24, "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife," refers to the primitive Hebraic form of marriage. [21] Where the matriarchate prevails we naturally find no prejudice against marriage with a half-sister on the father's side, while union with a uterine sister is incestuous. Sara was a half-sister of Abraham on the father's side, and Tamar could have married her half-brother Amnon, [22] though they were both children of David; and a similar condition prevailed in Athens under the laws of Solon.[23] Herodotus says of the Lycians:

Ask a Lycian who he is, and he will answer by giving his own name that of his mother, and so on in the female line. Moreover, if a free woman marry a man who IS a slave, their children are free citizens: but if a free man marry a foreign woman, or cohabit with a concubine, even though he be the first person in the state, the children forfeit all rights of citizenship.[24]

Herodotus also relates that when Darius gave to the wife of Intaphernes permission to claim the life of a single man of her kindred, she chose her brother, saying that both husband and children could be replaced. [25] The declaration of the Antigone of Sophocles,[26] that she would have performed for neither husband nor children the toil which she undertook for Polynices, against the will of the citizens, indicates that the tie of a common womb was stronger than the social tie of marriage. The extraordinary honor, privilege, and proprietary rights enjoyed by ancient Egyptian and Babylonian wives [27] are traceable to an earlier maternal organization.


All ethnologists admit that descent through females has been very widespread, but some deny that this system has been universally prevalent at any stage of culture. Those who have diminished, its importance, however, have done so chiefly in reinforcement of their denials of the theory of promiscuity. It has been very generally assumed that maternal descent is due solely to uncertainty of paternity, and that an admission that the maternal system has been universal is practically an admission of promiscuity. Opponents of this theory have consequently felt called upon to minimize the importance of maternal decent.[28] But descent through females is not, in fact, fully explained by uncertainty of parentage on the male side. It is due to the larger social fact, including this biological one, that the bond between mother and child is the closest in nature, and that the group grew up about the more stationary female; and consequently the questions of maternal crescent and promiscuity are by no means so inseparable as has commonly been assumed. We may accept Sir Henry Maine's terse remark that ``paternity is a matter of inference, as opposed to maternity, which is a matter of observation," [29] without concluding that society would have been first of all patriarchal in organization, even if paternity had been also a matter of observation. For the association of the woman with the child is immediate and perforce, but the immediate interest of the man is in the woman, through the power of her sexual attractiveness, and his interest in the child is secondary and mediated through her. This relation being a constant one, having its roots in the nature of sex rather than in the uncertainty of parentage, we may safely conclude that the so-called "mother-right" has everywhere preceded "father-right," and was the fund from which the latter was evolved.

But while it is natural that the children and the group should grow up about the mother, it is not conceivable that woman should definitely or long control the activities of society, especially on their motor side. In view of his superior power of

(762) making movements and applying force, the male must inevitably assume control of the life-direction of the group, no matter what the genesis of the group. It is not a difficult, conclusion that, if woman's leaping, lifting, running, climbing, and slugging capacity are inferior to man's, by however slight a margin, her fighting capacity is less in the same degree, for battle is only an application of force, and there has never been a moment in the history of society when the law of might, tempered by sexual affinity, did not prevail. We must, then, in fact, recognize a sharp distinction between the law of descent and the fact of authority. The male was everywhere present in primitive society, and everywhere made his force felt. We can see this illustrated most plainly in the animal group, where the male is the leader, by virtue of his strength. There is also a stage of human society which may be called the prematriarchal stage, from the fact that ideas of kinship are so feeble that no extensive social filiation is effected through this principle, in consequence of which the group has not reached the tribal stage of organization on the basis of kinship, but remains in the primitive biological relation of male, female, and offspring. The Botocudos, Fuegians, Eskimos, West Australians, Bushmen, and Veddahs represent this primitive stage more or less-completely; they have apparently not reached the stage where the fact of kinship expresses itself in maternal organization. They live in scattered bands, held together loosely by convenience, safety, and inertia, and the male is the leader, but the leadership of the male in this case, as among animals, is very different from the organized and institutional expression of the male force in systems of political control growing out of achievement. This involves a social history through which these low tribes have not passed. Organization can not proceed very far in the absence of social mass, and the collection of social mass took place unconsciously about the female as a universal preliminary of the conscious synthetization of the mass through males. From the side of organization, the negative accretion of population about female centers and filiation through blood is very

(763) precious, since filiation based on relation to females prepares the way for organization based on motor activities. But in the prematernal stage, in the maternal stage, and in the patriarchal stage the male force was present and was the carrier of the social will. In the fully maternal system, indeed, the male authority is only thinly veiled, or not at all. Filiation through female descent precedes filiation through achievement, because it is a function of somatic conditions, in the main, while filiation through achievement is a function of historical conditions. This advantage of maternal organization in point of time embarrasses and obscures the individual and collective expression of the male force, but under the veil of female nomenclature and in the midst of the female organization we can always detect the presence of the male authority. Bachofen's conception of the maternal system as a political system was erroneous, as Dargun and others have pointed out,[30] though woman has been reinforced by the fact of descent, and has so figured somewhat in political systems.

A most instructive example of . the parallel existence of descent through females and of male authority is found in the Wyandot tribe of Indians, in which also the participation of woman in the regulative activities of society is, perhaps, more systematically developed than in any other single case among maternal peoples. Major Powell gives the following outline of the civil and military government of this tribe:

The civil government inheres in a system of councils and chiefs. In each yens there is a council, composed of four women, called Yu-wai-yu-wa-na. These four women councilors select a chief of the yens from its male members --that is, from their brothers and sons. This gentile chief is the head of the gentile council. The council of the tribe is composed of the aggregated gentile councils. The tribal council, therefore, is composed one-fifth of men and four-fifths of women. The sachem of the tribe, or tribal chief, is chosen by the chiefs of the gentes. There is sometimes a grand council of the gens, composed of the councilors of the yens proper and all the heads of households (women) and leading men -- brothers and sons. There is also a grand council of the tribe, composed of the council of the tribe proper and the heads of households of the tribe, and all the leading men of the tribe . . .


The four women councilors of the yens are chosen by the heads of households, themselves being women. There is no formal election, but frequent discussion is had over the matter from time to time, in which a sentiment grows up within the yens and throughout the tribe that, in the event of the death of any councilor, a certain person will take her place. In this manner there is usually one, two, or more potential councilors in each gens, who are expected to attend all the meetings of the council, though they take no part in the deliberations and have no vote. When a woman is installed as a councilor, a feast is prepared by the yens to which she belongs, and to this feast all the members of the tribe are invited. The woman is painted and dressed in her best attire, and the sachem of the tribe places upon her head the gentile chaplet of feathers, and announces in a formal manner to the assembled guests that the woman has been chosen a councilor .... The gentile chief is chosen by the council women after consultation with the other women and men of the gens. Often the gentile chief is a potential chief through a period of probation. During this time he attends the meetings of the council, but takes no part in the deliberations and has no vote. At his installation, the council women invest him with an elaborately ornamented tunic, place upon his head a chaplet of feathers, and paint the gentile totem upon his face .... The sachem of the tribe is selected by the men belonging to the council of the tribe.

The management of military affairs inheres in the military council and chief. The military council is composed of all the able-bodied men of the tribe; the military chief is chosen by the council from the Porcupine gens. Each gentile chief is responsible for the military training of the youth under his authority. There are usually one or more potential military chiefs, who are the close companions and assistants of the chief in time of war and, in case of the death of the chief, take his place in the order of seniority. [31]

In this tribe the numerical recognition of women is striking, and indicates that they are the original core of society. They are still responsible for society, in a way, but all the offices involving motor activity are deputed to men. Thus women as heads of households choose four women councilors of the clan (gens), and these choose the fifth member, who is a man and the head of the council and chief of the clan. The tribal chief is, however, chosen by males, and in the military organization, which represents the group capacity for violence, the women have not even a nominal recognition. The real authority rests

(765) with those who are most fit to exercise it. Female influence persists as a matter of habit, until, under the pressure of social, particularly of military, activities, the breaking up of the habit and a new accommodation follow the accumulation of a larger fund of social energy.

The men of any group are at any time in possession of the force to change the habits of the group and push aside any existing system. But the savage is not revolutionary; his life and his social sanctions are habitual. He is averse to change as such, and retains form and rite after their meaning is lost. We consequently find an expression of social respect for woman under the maternal system suggestive of chivalry, and even a formal elevation of women to authority in groups where the actual control is in the hands of men.

In the Mariana islands the position of woman was distinctly superior; even when the man had contributed an equal share of property on marriage, the wife dictated everything and the man could undertake nothing without her approval; but, if the woman committed an offense, the man was held responsible and suffered the punishment. The women could speak in the assembly they held property, and if a woman asked anything of a man, he gave it up without a murmur. If a wife was unfaithful, the husband could send her home, keep her property, and kill the adulterer; but if the man was guilty or even suspected of the same offense, the women of the neighborhood destroyed his house and all his visible property, and the owner was fortunate if he escaped with a whole skin; and if a wife was not pleased with her husband, she withdrew, and a similar attack followed. On this account many men were not married, preferring to live with paid women. Likewise, in the Gilbert islands a man shows the same respect to a woman as to a chief, by stepping aside when he meets her. If a man strikes a woman, the other women drive him from the tribe. On Lukunor the men used, in conversation with women, not the usual, but a deferential form of language. [32]

The discoverers of the Friendly islands found there a king in

(766) authority over the people, and his wife in control of the king, receiving homage from him, but not ruling.[33] In these and similar cases woman's early relation to the household is formally retained in the larger group and in the presence of an obviously masculine form of organization.

But, in contrast with the survival in political systems of the primitive respect shown mothers, we find the assertion of individual male force within the very bosom of the maternal organization, in the person of the husband, brother, or uncle of the woman. Among the Caribs " the father or head of the household exerts unlimited authority over his wives and children, but this authority is not founded on legal rights, but upon his physical superiority." [34] In spite of the maternal system in North America, the women were often roughly handled by their husbands. Schoolcraft says of the Kenistenos: "When a young man marries, he immediately goes to live with the father and mother of his wife, who treat him, nevertheless, as an entire stranger till after the birth of his first child." But "it appears that chastity is considered by them as a virtue . .... and it sometimes happens that the infidelity of a wife is punished by the husband with the loss of her hair, nose, or perhaps life. Such severity proceeds, perhaps, less from rigidity of virtue than from its having been practiced without his permission; for a temporary interchange of wives is not uncommon, and the offer of their persons is considered as a necessary part of the hospitality due to strangers."[35] Schoolcraft also says of the women of the Chippeways, among whom the maternal system had given way: " They are very submissive to their husbands, who have, however, their fits of jealousy; and for very trifling causes treat them with such cruelty as sometimes to occasion their death. -They are frequently objects of traffic, and the father possesses the right of disposing of his daughter." [36] Indian fathers also frequently sold their children,

(767) without any show of right. " Kane mentions that the Shastas . . . frequently sell their children as slaves to the Chinooks." [37] Bancroft says of the Columbians: "Affection for children is by no means rare, but in few tribes can they resist the temptation to sell or gamble them away." [38] Descent through mothers is in force among the Negroes of equatorial Africa, the man's property passing to his sister's children, but the father is an unlimited despot, and no one dares to oppose him. So long as his relation with his wives continues, he is master of them and of their children. He can even sell the latter into slavery.[39] In New Britain maternal descent prevails, but wives arc obtained by purchase or capture and are practically slaves; they are cruelly treated, carry on agriculture, and bear burdens which make them prematurely stooped, and are likely, if their husbands arc offended, to be killed and eaten.[40]

In many regions of Australia women are treated with extreme brutality, when their work is not satisfactory, or the husband has any other cause of offense. In Victoria the men often break heir staves over the heads of the women, and skulls of women have been found in which knitted fractures indicated former ill-treatment. In Cape York the women are beaten, and in the interior an angry native burned his wife alive. In the Adelaide dialect the phrase " owner of a woman" means husband. When a man dies, his uterine brother inherits his wife and children.[41]

Where under an exogamous system of marriage a man is forced to go outside his group to obtain a wife, he may do this either by going over to her group, by taking possession of her violently, or by offering her and the members of her group sufficient inducements to relinquish her; and the contrasted male and female disposition is expressed in all the forms of marriage incident to the exogamous system. Every exogamous group is naturally reluctant to relinquish its women, both because

(768) it has in them laborers and potential mothers whose children will be added to the group, and because, in the event of their remaining in the group after marriage, their husbands become additional defenders and providers within the group. Where the husband is to settle in the family of the wife, a test is consequently often made of his ability as a provider. Among the Zuni Indians there is no purchase price, no general exchange of gifts; but as soon as the agreement is reached, the young man must undertake certain duties:

He must work in the field of his prospective mother-in-law, that his strength and industry may be tested; he must collect fuel and deposit it near the maternal domicile, that his disposition as a provider may be made known; he must chase and slay the deer, and make from an entire buckskin a pair of moccasins for the bride, and from other skins and textiles a complete feminine suit, to the end that his skill in hunting, skin- dressing, dressing, and weaving may be displayed; and, finally, he must fabricate or obtain for the maiden's use a necklace of seashell or of silver, in order that his capacity for long journeys or successful barter may be established; but if circumstances prevent him from performing these duties actually, he may perform them symbolically, and such performance is usually acceptable to the elder people. After these preliminaries are completed, he is formally adopted by his wife's parents, yet remains merely a perpetual guest, subject to dislodgment at his wife's behest, though he cannot legally withdraw from the covenant; if dissatisfied, he can only so ill-treat his wife or children as to compel his expulsion.[42]

This practice is seen in a symbolical form where presents are required of the suitor before marriage and their equivalent returned later. By depositing goods accumulated through his activities he demonstrates his ability as a provider, without undergoing a formal test. This practice is reported of the Indians of Oregon:

The suitor never, in person, asks the parents for their daughter; hut he sends one or more friends, whom he pays for their services. The latter sometimes effect their purposes by feasts. The offer generally includes a statement of the property which will be given for the wife to the parents, consisting of horses, blankets, or buffalo robes. The wife's relations at ays raise as many horses (or other property) for her dower as the bridegroom has sent

(769) the parents, but scrupulously take care not to turn over the same horses or the same articles This is the custom alike of the Walla-Wallas, Nez Percés,, Cayuse, Waskows, Flatheads, and Spokans.[43]

In Patagonia the usual custom is for the bridegroom, after he has secured the consent of his damsel, to send either a brother or some intimate friend to the parents, offering so many mares, horses, or silver ornaments for the bride. If the parents consider the match desirable, as soon after as circumstances will permit, the bridegroom, dressed in his best, and mounted on his best horse, proceeds to the toldo of his intended, and hands over the gifts; the parents then return gifts of equivalent value, which, however, in the event of a separation are the property of the bride.[44]

Marriage by capture is an immediate expression of male force. This form of obtaining a wife has been very widespread, and, like marriage by settlement in the house of the wife, is an expedient for obtaining a wife outside the group where marriage by purchase is not developed, or where the suitor cannot offer property for the bride. It is an unsocial procedure and does not persist in a growing society, for it involves retaliation and blood feud. But it is a desperate means of avoiding the constraint and embarrassment of a residence in the family and among the relatives of the wife, where the power of the husband is hindered, and the male disposition is not satisfied in this matter short of personal ownership.

The man also sometimes lives under the maternal system in regular marriage, but escapes its disadvantages by stealing a supplementary wife or purchasing a slave woman, over whom and whose children he has full authority. In the Babar archipelago, where the maternal system persists even in the presence of marriage by purchase, and the man lives in the house of the woman, and the children are reckoned with the mother, it is considered highly honorable to steal an additional wife from another group, and in this case the children belong to the father.[45] Among the Kinbundas of Africa children belong to the maternal uncle, who

(770) has the right to sell them, while the father regards as his children in fact the offspring ofspring a slave woman, and these he treats as his personal property. To the same effect, among the Wanyamwesi, south of the Victoria Nyanza, the children of a slave wife inherit, to the exclusion of children born of legal wife. And husbands among the Fellatahs are in the habit of adopting children, though they may have sons or daughters of their own, and the adopted children inherit the property.[46] In Indonesia a man sometimes marries a woman and settles in her family, and the children belong to her. But he may later carry her forcibly to his own group, and the children then belong to him. [47]

Bosman relates that in Guinea religious symbolism was also introduced by the husband to reinforce and lend dignity to this action. The maternal system held with respect to the chief wife:

It was customary, however, for a man to buy and take to wife a slave, a friendless person with whom he could deal at pleasure, who had no kindred that could interfere for her, and to consecrate her to his Bossum or god. The Bossum wife, slave as she had been, ranked next to the chief wife, and was like her exceptionally treated. She alone was very jealously guarded, she alone was sacrificed at her husband's death. She was, in fact, wife in a peculiar sense. And having, by consecration, been made of the kindred and worship of her husband, her children would be born of his kindred and worship.[48]

Altogether the most satisfactory means of removing a girl from her group is to purchase her. The use of property in the
acquisition of women is not a particular expression of the male nature, since property is accumulated by females as well, but where this form of marriage exists it means practically that the male relatives of the girl are using her for profit, and that her suitor is seeking more complete control of her than he can gain in her group, and viewed in this light the purchase and sale of women is an expression of the dominant nature of the male. In consequence of purchase woman became in barbarous society a chattel, and her socially constrained position in history and the present

(771) hindrances to the outflow of her activities are to be traced largely to the system of purchasing wives. The simplest form of purchase is to give a woman in exchange. "The Australian male almost invariably obtains his wife or wives either as the survivor of a married elder brother, or in exchange for his sisters, or, later in life, for his daughters.[49] A wife is also often sold on credit, but kept at home until the price is paid. On the island of Serang a youth belongs to the family of the girl, living according to her customs and religion until the bride price is paid. He then takes both wife and children to his tribe. But in case he is very poor, he never pays the price, and remains perpetually in the tribe of his wife. [50] Among the Kwakiutl Indians of British Columbia the maternal has only barely given way to the paternal system, and the form of marriage reflects both systems. The suitor sends a messenger with blankets, and the number sent is doubled within three months, making in all about one hundred and fifty. These are to be returned later. He is then allowed to live with the girl in her father's house. Three months later the husband gives perhaps a hundred blankets more for permission to take his wife home.[51] Among the Makassar and Beginese stems of Indionesia the purchase of a wife involves only a partial relinquishment of the claim of the maternal house on the girl, all belonging to the mother's kindred in case full payment is not made; and a similar compromise between the two systems is made on the Molucca islands, where children born before the bride price is paid belong to the mother's side, after that to the father's.[52]

So long as a wife remained in her group, she could rely upon her kindred for protection against ill-usage from her husband, but she forfeited this advantage when she passed to his group. An Arabian girl replies to her father, when a chief seeks her in marriage: "No! I am not fair of face, and I have infirmities

(772) of temper, and I am not his bint'amm (tribeswoman), so that he should respect my consanguinity with him, nor does he dwell in thy country, so that he should have regard for thee; I fear then that he may not care for me and may divorce me, and so I shall be in an evil case."[53] The Hassanyeh Arabs of the White Nile region in Egypt afford a curious example of the conflict of male and female interests in connection with marriage, in which the female passes by contract only partially under the authority of the male:

When the parents of the man and woman meet to settle the price of the woman, the price depends on how many days in the week the marriage tit is to be strictly observed. The woman's mother first of all proposes that, taking everything into consideration, with a due regard for the feelings of the family, she could not think of binding her daughter to a due observance of that chastity which matrimony is expected to command for more than two days in the week. After a great deal of apparently angry discussion, and the promise on the part of the relatives of the man to pay more, it is arranged that the marriage shall hold good, as is customary among the first families of the tribe, for four days in the week, viz.: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday; and, in compliance with old-established custom, the marriage rites during the three remaining days shall not be insisted on, during which days the bride shall be perfectly free to act as she may think proper, either by adhering to her husband and home, or by enjoying her freedom and independence from all observation of matrimonial obligations.[54]

We may understand also that the tolerance of loose conduct in girls before marriage, a tolerance which amounts in many tribes to approval, is due to the tribal recognition of the value of children, and children born out of marriage are added to tile family of the mother. When, on the other hand, the conduct of girls is strictly watched, this is from a consideration that virgins command a higher bride price. Child marriages and long betrothals are means of guaranteeing the proper conduct of a girl to her husband, as they constitute a personal claim and afford him an opportunity to throw more restrictions about her. So

(773) that, in any case, the conduct of the girl is viewed with reference to her value to the tribe.

A social grouping which is not the product of forces more active in their nature than the reproductive force may be expected to yield before male motor activities, when these are for any reason sufficiently formulated. The primitive warrior and hunter comes into honor and property through a series of movements involving judgments of time and space, and the successful direction of force, aided by mechanical appliances and mediated through the hand and the eye. Whether directed against the human or the animal world, the principle is the same; success and honor, and influence in tribal life, depend on the application of violence at the proper time, in the right direction, and in sufficient measure; and this is preeminently the business of the male. The advantage of acting in concert in war and hunting, and under the leadership of those who have shown evidence of the best judgment in these matters, is felt in any body of men who are held together by any tie, and the first tie is the tie of blood, by which we should understand, not that primitive man has any sentimental feeling about kinship, but that he is psychologically inseparable from those among whom he was born and with whom he has to do. Though the father's sense of kinship and interest in his children is originally feeble, it increases with the growth of consciousness in connection with various activities, and, at the point in race development when chieftainship is hereditary in the clan and personal property is recognized, the father feels the awkwardness of a social system which reckons his children as members of another clan and forces him to bequeath his rank and possessions to his sisters' children, or other members of his own group, rather than to his children. The Navajoes [55] and Nairs, [56] and ancient Egyptians [57] avoided this unpleasant condition by giving their property to their children during their own lifetime, and the Shawnees, Miamis, Sauks, and Foxes avoided it by naming the children into the clan of the father,

(774) giving a child a tribal name being equivalent to adoption.[58] The cleverest bit of primitive of which we have record is the device employed in ancient Peru and surviving in historical times in Egypt and elsewhere in the East, by which the ruler married his own sister, contrary to the exogamous practice of the common foil;. The children might then be regularly reckoned as of the kin of the mother, indeed, but they were at the same time of and in the group of the father, and the king secured the succession of his own son by marrying the woman whose son would traditionally succeed.

As we should expect, the desirability of modifying the system of descent and inheritance through females is felt first in connection with situations of honor and profit. At the time of the discovery of the Hawaiian islands the government was a brutal despotism, presenting many of the features of feudalism; the people prostrated themselves before the king and before objects which he had touched, and a man suffered- death whose shadow fell upon the king, or who went uncovered within the shadow of the king's house, or even looked upon the king by day.[59] But descent was in the female line, with a tendency to transfer to the male line in case of the king, and among chiefs, priests, and nobility.[60] This assertion of the male authority was sometimes resented, however, and was a source of frequent trouble. Wilkes states that there was formerly no regularly established order of succession to the throne; the children of the chief wile had the best claim, but the king often named his own successor, and this gave rise to violent conflicts. [61]

Blood-brotherhood, blood-vengeance, secret societies, tribal marks ( totemism, circumcision, tatooing, scarification), and religious dedication, are devices by which, consciously or unconsciously, the men escape from the tyranny of the maternal system. We cannot assume that these practices originate solely or largely in dissatisfaction, for the men would feel the advantage of a combination of interests whenever brought into association

(775) with one another, but these artificial bonds and their display to the eye are among the first attempts to synthesize the male forces of the group, and it is quite apparent that such unions are unfavorable to the continuance of the influence of women and of the system which they represent. In West Africa and among some of the negro tribes the initiatory ceremony is apparently deliberately hostile to the maternal organization. The youth is taken from the family of his mother and symbolically killed and buried, and resurrected by the priests into a male organization, and dedicated to his father's god.[62]

Spatial conditions have played an important role in the development of societies. Through movements the individual or the group is able to pick and choose advantageous relations, and by changing its location adjust itself to changes in the food conditions. That the success of the group is definitely related to its motor capacity is revealed by the following law of population, worked out by statisticians for the three predominant races of modern Europe: In countries inhabited jointly by these three races, the race possessing the smallest portion of wealth and the smallest representation among the more influential and educated classes constitutes also the least migratory element of the population, and tends in the least degree to concentrate in the cities and the more fertile regions of the country; and in countries inhabited jointly by the three races, the race possessing the largest portion of wealth and the largest representation among the more influential and educated classes is also the. most migratory element of the population, and tends in the greatest degree to concentrate in the cities and the more fertile portions of the country.[63] The primitive movements of population necessitated by climatic change, geological disturbances, the failure of water or exhaustion of the sources of food, were occasions for the expression of the superior motor disposition of the male and for the dislodgment of the female from her position of advantage.

(776) We know that the migrations of the natural races are necessary and frequent, and the movements of the culture races have been even more complex. The leadership of these mass movements and spatial reaccommodations necessarily rests with the men, who, in their wanderings, have become acquainted with larger stretches of space, and whose specialty is motor coordination. The progressive races have managed the space problem best. At every favorable point they have pushed out their territorial boundaries or transferred their social activities to a region more favorable to their expansion. Under male leadership, in consequence, territory has become the prize in every conflict of races, the modern state is based not on blood but on territory, and territory is at present the reigning political ideal.

In the process of coming into control of a larger environment through the motor activities of the male, the group comes into collision with other groups within which the same movement is going on, and it then becomes a question which group can apply force more destructively and remove or bring under control this human portion of its environment. Military organization and battle afford the grand opportunity for the individual and mass expression of the superior force-capacity of the male. They also determine experimentally which groups and which individuals are superior in this respect, and despotism, caste, and slavery are concrete expressions of the trial.

The nominal headship of woman within the maternal group existed only in default of forms of activity fit to formulate headship among the men, and when chronic militancy developed an organization among the males, the political influence of the female was completely shattered. At a certain point in history women became an unfree class, precisely as slaves became an unfree class - because neither class showed a superior fitness on the motor side; and each class is regaining its freedom because the race is substituting other forms of decision for violence.



  1. Cf. AMERICAN JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY, Vol.. III, pp. 54 ff., "On a Difference in the Metabolism of the Sexes."
  2. E. WESTERMARCK The History of Human Marriage.
  3. H. Ploss,,, Das Weib in der Natur-- und Volkerkunde,, 3. Aufl.,.,., Vol. II, p. 379.
  4. Endogamous tribes have survived, in the main, in isolated regions where competition was not sufficiently sharp to set a premium on exogamy. It may be assumed that the history of exogamous groups has been more cataclysmical.
  5. L. H. MORGAN, Houses and House-life of the American Aborigines p. 64.
  6. L. H. MORGAN, ibid.
  7. W. J. McGee, `'The Beginning of Marriage,,, American Anthropologist, Vol Ix, p. 376.
  8. E, B. TYLOR, " The Matriachal Family System, Nineteenth Century, July 1896, P. 89.
  9. FISON and HOWITT. Kamilaroi and Kurnai PP. 33 ff.
  10. F. RATZEL, Volkerkunde (Engl. ed.), Vol. 1, p. 438.
  11. J. LIPPERT, Kulturgeschichte, Vol. 11, p. 57.
  12. LUBBOCK, Origin of Civilization, p 151.
  13. TYLOR, loc. cit. p. 87.
  14. W. ROBERTSON SMITH, Kinship and Marriage in Early Arabia, p. 65.
  15. SMITH, loc. cit., p 94.
  16. SMITH loc. cit., p. 173.
  17. Gen 24:5 and 53.
  18. Gen. 31 :43
  19. Judges 8: 19.
  20. Judges 1: 5.
  21. Cf., SMITH, loc cit., 176.
  22. 2 Sam. 13:13.
  23. G. A. WILKEN, Das Matriarchat, p. 41.
  24. Herodotus (Rawlinson), 1, 173.
  25. Herodotus 1 11, 1 19.
  26. Lines 905 ff.,
  27. F. J. SIMCOX, Primitive Civilisations, Vol. 1, pp. 200-11; 233 et passim.
  28. Notably, Westermarck, loc cit., pp 100 ff.
  29. Dissertation on Early Law and Custom, p. 202.
  30. See L. VON DARGUN, Mutterrecht und Vaterrecht, 1892.
  31. J. W. POWELL, "Wyandot Government," First Annual Report of of Bureau of American Ethnology, 1879-80, pp. 61 ff.
  32. WAITZ-GERLAND, Anthropologie der Naturvolker, Vol. V, pp. 107 ff.
  33. LIPPERT, Kulturgeschichte, Vol. 11, p. 50.
  34. C.N. STARCKE, The Primitive Family, p. 37.
  35. H.R. SCHOOLCRAFT, History, Condition, and Prospects of the Indian Tribes of the United S tates, Vol. V, p. 1 67.
  36. SCHOOLCRAFT, ibid., pp.174-6.
  37. BANCROFT, Native Races of the Pacific States, Vol. I, p.351.
  38. BANCROFT,loc. cit., Vol. I, p. 219.
  39. A. HOVELAQUE, Les Nègres, p. 316.
  40. VON Dargun, loc. cit., p. 5.
  41. WAITZ-GERLAND, loc. cit., Vol. VI, pp. 774 ff.
  42. MCGEE, loc. cit., p 374.
  43. SCHOOLCRAFT, loc. cit., Vol. V, p. 654.
  44. LIEUTENANT MUSTERS, " On the Races of Patagonia," Jour. Anth. Institute, Vol. I, p. 201.
  45. R. STEINMETZ, Ethnologische Studien zur ersten Entwickelung der Strafe. Vol. II, P. 272.
  46. A. G i R AUD-TEULON, Les Origines du Mariage et de la Famille,
  47. VON DARGUN, loc. cit., p. 119.
  48. J. F. McLENNAN, The Patriarchal Theory, p 235.
  49. E. M. CURR, The Australian Race, Vol. 1, p. 107.
  50. STEINMETZ, loc. cit., Vol. 11, p. 273.
  51. F. BOAS, " On the Indians of British Columbia,'' Report of the British Association the Advancement of Science, 1889 , p 838.
  52. VON DARGUN, loc. cit 121-5.
  53. SMITH, loc. cit., p 101.
  54. SPENCER, Descriptive Sociology, Vol. V, p. 8, quotes Petherick, Egypt, the Soudan, and Central Africa, pp. 140-44.
  55. H. H BANCROFT, loc. cit., Vol. I, p. 506
  56. SIMCOX, loc. cit., Vol. I, p. 211.
  57. SIMCOX, ibid.
  58. MORGAN, Ancient Society, p. 169.
  59. WAITZ-GERLAND Vol. VI, p. 20.
  60. ELLIS, Tour Through Hawaii, p 391.
  61. WAITZ-GERLAND, Vol. VI, pp. 201-3.
  62. J. LIPPERT, Kulturgeschichte, Vol II, p. 342.
  63. C. C. CLOSSON, "The Hierarchy of European Races," AMERICAN JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY, Vol. III, pp. 315 ff.

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