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THE FAMILY AND PROPERTY

that the father of certain children was a stranger, a man of another tribe, long since departed; indeed, the law of the tribe would not have allowed any other sort of person to become the woman's husband. With the children in common, and the property in common, we have a type of the communalism, not to say communism, which is so captivating to some of our contemporaries among civilized man. It is plain that the society, however, is consistent in its parts, and that its organization is conducive to its interests. Investigation also shows, in every case known to me, that the organization was convenient under the economic circumstances of the tribe, and was dictated by those circumstances, except when it appears to have remained as a survival, under tradition and religious sanction, into a higher social development for which it was unfitted.

Our modern students, then, searching into the history of property, find these rudimentary communal forms, and they present to us the result of their work as if these facts carried with them some proof as to the only correct or justifiable forms of property, or furnished some criticism of present institutions. But, if the primitive forms of property bear any authority as to the proper forms of property, why do not the corresponding facts in regard to primitive marriage and the primitive family carry with them authority for the criticism of existing family institutions? If the fact that communal property has existed widely in primitive society goes to prove that communal property is a presumptively better or purer form of property than that which now exists, why is not the same argument good in favor of communal marriage? In fact, the fallacy is one which is very familiar under the form of the ecclesiastical dogma of "primitiveness."