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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/663

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THE LEGAL POSITION OF MARRIED WOMEN.

discover the law which underlies the varieties and changes in the condition of married women to be a law which concerns itself first, not with the rights of any individual inside the family, but with the development and defense of the family itself. For this development and defense of the family the following conditions must necessarily be secured:

a. Certainty of parentage of offspring on both male and female side, that inheritance may be secured.
b. Protection of the family from external encroachments of war, conquest, etc.
c. Nourishment of offspring, and such protection of the mother as will secure that end.
d. Repression of sexual passion to certain recognized limits.
e. Preservation of the family against the disruptive tendencies of internal strife.

Bearing these general principles in mind, we turn to the next division of our subject, viz.:

The Classification of the Principal Types of Marriage.—If our previous positions are correct, we must rank marriage types, from lowest to highest, by their growing ability to fulfill these conditions, tabulated above, of the development and defense of the family order:

We find the first primitive marriage to be a simple announcement of intention to live together by a man and woman, ratified by some such rude ceremony as that of the "Navajos, who sit down on opposite sides of a basket made to hold water and filled with some kind of food, and partake of it. . . . This proceeding makes them husband and wife." This type of union offers perfect freedom of choice to both parties to the contract, and, being broken at pleasure, is repeated as many times and dissolved as often as caprice indicates. Hence it offers but slight protection to the offspring, and the society in which it is found the prevailing type of sexual union is among the lowest in grade of development.

The next step up in marriage conditions is that called polyandry, or the union of several husbands to one wife. It is not to be inferred from this definition that polyandry at first, or generally, restrains the sexual indulgence of men to the fractional marital rights indicated. Far from it. Polyandry simply lays the corner-stone of the family foundation-wall by making a local home—i. e., a place where children can be generally known to belong. Let us see how this is done. Nature makes certain the parentage of the child on the mother's side, as she does not on the father's. Hence the primitive necessity in building the family is to put the mother in a definite place, and cluster her children round her, whether you can know the paternity of those children or not. Descent of name and inheritance