Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 11.djvu/469

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THE STATUS OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN.

ples, characterized by chronic militancy, with their later states, characterized by a militancy that had become less constant and diffused, while industrialism had grown, differences of like significance meet us.

We have the statement of Cæsar concerning the Celts of Gaul, that fathers "do not permit their children to approach them openly until they have grown to manhood." In the Merovingian period a father could sell his child, as could also a widowed mother—a power which continued down to the ninth century or later. Under the decayed feudal state which preceded the French Revolution domestic subordination, especially among the aristocracy, was still such that Chateaubriand says, "My mother, my sister, and myself, transformed into statues by my father's presence, only recover ourselves after he leaves the room;" and Taine, quoting Beaumarchais and Bretonne, indicates that this rigidity of paternal authority was general. Then, after the Revolution, De Ségur writes, "Among our good forefathers a man of thirty was more in subjection to the head of the family than a child of eighteen is now."

Our own history furnishes kindred evidence. Describing the manners of the fifteenth century, Wright says: "Young ladies, even of great families, were brought up not only strictly, but even tyrannically. . . . The parental authority was indeed carried to an almost extravagant extent." Down to the seventeenth century, "children stood or knelt in trembling silence in the presence of their fathers and mothers, and might not sit without permission." The literature of even the last century, alike by the deferential use of "sir" and "madam" in addressing parents, by the authority parents assumed in arranging marriages for their children, and by the extent to which sons, and still more daughters, recognized the duty of accepting the spouses chosen, shows us a persistence of filial subordination proportionate to the political subordination. And then, since the beginning of this century, along with the immense development of industrialism and the correlative progress toward a freer type of social organization, there has gone a marked increase of juvenile freedom; as shown by a greatly moderated parental dictation, by a mitigation of punishments, and by that decreased formality of domestic intercourse which has accompanied the changing of fathers from masters into friends.

Differences having like meanings are traceable between the more militant and the less militant European societies as now existing. Along with the relatively-developed industrial type of political organization in England, there goes a less coercive treatment of children than in France and Germany, where industrialism has modified the political organizations less. Joined with great fondness for, and much indulgence of, the young, there is in France a closer supervision of them, and the restraints on their actions are both stronger and more numerous: girls at home are never from under maternal control, and