Woman under socialism
by August Bebel
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Thus people remain against their will chained to each other through life. One party becomes the slave of the other, compelled to submit out of "conjugal duty" to that other's most intimate embraces, which, perhaps, it abhors worse than insult or ill-treatment. Fully justified is Montegazza's dictum:[71] "There is probably no worse torture than that which compels a human being to put up with the caresses of a person it does not love."

We ask, Is such a marriage—and their number is infinite—not worse than prostitution? The prostitute has, to a certain degree, the freedom to withdraw from her disgraceful pursuit; moreover, she enjoys the privilege, if she does not live in a public house, to reject the purchase of the embraces of him who, for whatever reason, may be distasteful to her. But a sold married woman must submit to the embraces of her husband, even though she have a hundred reasons to hate and despise him.

When in advance, and with the knowledge of both parties, marriage is contracted as a marriage for money or rank, then, as a rule, matters lie more favorably. The two accommodate themselves mutually, and a modus vivendi is established. They want no scandal, and regard for their children compels them to avoid any, although it is the children who suffer most under a cold, loveless life on the part of their parents, even if such a life does not develop into enmity, quarrel and dissension. Often accommodation is reached in order to avoid material loss. As a rule it is the husband, whose conduct is the rock against which marriage is dashed. This appears from the actions for divorce. In virtue of his dominant position, he can indemnify himself elsewhere when the marriage is not pleasing to him, and he can not find satisfaction in it. The wife is not so free to step on side-roads, partly because, as the receiving sex, such action is, for physiologic reasons, a much more risky one on her part; then, also, because every infraction of conjugal fidelity is imputed a crime to her, which neither the husband nor society pardons. Woman alone makes a "slip"—be she wife, widow or maid; man, at worst, has acted "incorrectly." One and the same act is judged by society with wholly different standards, according as it be committed by a man or a woman. And, as a rule, women themselves judge a "fallen" sister most severely and pitilessly.[72]

As a rule, only in cases of crassest infidelity or maltreatment, does the wife decide upon divorce. She is generally in a materially dependent position, and compelled to look upon marriage as a means of support: moreover, as a divorced wife, she finds herself socially in no enviable situation: unless special reasons render intercourse with her desirable, she is considered and treated by society as a neuter, so to speak. When, despite all this, most actions for divorce proceed from wives, the circumstance is an evidence of the heavy moral torture that they lie under. In France, even before the new divorce law came into effect (1884), by far the more numerous actions for separation from bed and board came from women. For an absolute divorce they could apply only if the husband took his concubine into the married home, against the will of his wife. Actions for separations from bed and board occurred:[73]

Average Per Average Per Year Years. Year by Wives. by Husbands. 1856-1861 1729 184 1861-1866 2135 260 1866-1871 2591 330

But not only did women institute by far the larger number of actions; the figures show that these increased from period to period. Furthermore, so far as reliable information before us goes, it appears that actions for absolute divorce also proceed preponderatingly from wives. In the Kingdom of Saxony, during the period of 1860-1868, there were instituted, all told, 8,402 actions for divorce; of these, 3,537 (42 per cent.) were by men, 4,865 (58 per cent.) by wives.

In the period from 1871 to 1878, there were actions for divorce in Saxony[74]:

Year. By Husbands. By Wives. 1871 475 574 1872 576 698 1873 553 673 1874 643 697 1875 717 752 1876 722 839 1877 746 951 1878 754 994 ——- ——- Total 5,186 6,178

The fact that divorce, as a rule, hurts women more, did not restrain them in Saxony either from instituting most of the actions. The total actions for divorce increased, however, in Saxony, as in France, much faster than population. In Switzerland, during the year 1892, there were granted 1,036 applications for divorce. Of these, wives had instituted 493, husbands 229, and both parties 314.

Statistics teach us, however, not alone that wives institute the larger number of actions for divorce; they also teach us that the number of divorces is in rapid increase. In France, divorce has been regulated anew by law since 1884. Since then, divorces have greatly increased from year to year. The number of divorces, and years they fell in, were as follows:

1884 1,657 1885 2,477 1886 2,950 1887 3,636 1888 4,708 1889 4,786 1890 5,457

In Vienna there were, from 1870 to 1871, 148 divorces; they increased from year to year; from 1878 to 1879 they ran up to 319 cases.[75] But in Vienna, being a preponderatingly Catholic city, divorce is hard to obtain. That notwithstanding, about the year 1885 a Vienna Judge made the remark: "Complaints on the ground of broken marriage vows are as frequent as complaints for broken window-panes." In England and Wales there was, in 1867, 1 divorce to every 1,378 marriages, but in 1877 there was 1 to every 652 marriages; and in 1886, 1 to as few as 527. In the United States the number of divorces for 1867 was 9,937, and for 1886 as many as 25,535. The total number of divorces in the United States between 1867 and 1886 was 328,716, and the fault fell in 216,176 cases upon the husband, in 112,540 upon the wife.

Relatively speaking, the largest number of divorces occurs in the United States. The proportion between marriages and divorces during the period of 1867 to 1886 stood for those States in which an accurate record is kept:

Marriages to Every One States. Marriages. Divorces. Divorce. Connecticut 96,737 8,542 11.32 Columbia 24,065 1,105 21.77 Massachusetts 308,195 9,853 31.28 Ohio 544,362 26,367 20.65 Rhode Island 49,593 4,462 11.10 Vermont 54,913 3,238 19.95

In the other States of the Union, from which less accurate returns are at hand, the proportion seems to be the same. The reasons why in the United States divorces are more frequent than in any other country, may be sought in the circumstance, first, that divorce is there more easily obtained than elsewhere; secondly, that women occupy in the United States a far freer position than in any other country, hence are less inclined to allow themselves to be tyrannised by their marital lords.[76]

In Germany there was, by judicial decision, 1 dissolution of marriage—

In the Years To Population. To Marriages. 1881-1885 8,410 1,430 1886 7,585 1,283 1887 7,261 1,237 1888 6,966 1,179 1889 7,155 1,211

According to Dr. S. Wernicke, there were to every 1,000 marriages, divorces in:

Years. Belgium. Sweden. France. 1841-1845 0.7 4.2 2.7 1846-1850 0.9 4.4 2.8 1851-1855 1.0 4.4 4.0 1856-1860 1.4 4.3 4.9 1861-1865 1.6 4.8 6.0 1866-1870 1.9 5.0 7.6 1871-1875 2.8 5.8 6.5 1876-1880 4.2 7.1 9.0

It would be an error to attempt to arrive at any conclusion touching the different conditions of morality, by deductions from the large discrepancy between the figures for the different countries cited above. No one will dare assert that the population of Sweden has more inclination or cause for divorce than that of Belgium. First of all must the legislation on the subject be kept in mind, which in one country makes divorce difficult, in another easier, more so in some, less in others. Only in the second instance does the condition of morality come into consideration, i. e., the average reasons that, now the husbands, then the wives, consider determining factors in applying for separation. But all these figures combine in establishing that divorces increase much faster than population; and that they increase while marriages decline. About this, more later.

On the question how the actions for divorce distribute themselves among the several strata of society, there is only one computation at our disposal, from Saxony, but which is from the year 1851.[77] At that time, to each 100,000 marriages, there were actions for divorce from the stratum of

Domestic servants 289 or 1 application to 346 marriages Day laborers 324 or 1 application to 309 marriages Government employes 337 or 1 application to 289 marriages Craftsmen and merchants 354 or 1 application to 283 marriages Artists and scientists 485 or 1 application to 206 marriages

Accordingly, the actions for divorce were at that period in Saxony 50 per cent. more frequent in the higher than in the lower social strata.

The increasing number of divorces signifies that, in general, the marriage relations are becoming ever more unfavorable, and that the factors multiply which destroy marriage. On the other hand, they also furnish evidence that an ever larger number of spouses, women in particular, decide to shake off the unbearable oppressing yoke.

But the evils of matrimony increase, and the corruption of marriage gains ground in the same measure as the struggle for existence waxes sharper, and marriage becomes ever more a money-match, or be it, marriage by purchase. The increasing difficulty, moreover, of supporting a family determines many to renounce marriage altogether; and thus the saying that woman's activity should be limited to the house, and that she should fill her calling as housewife and mother, becomes ever more a senseless phrase. On the other hand, the conditions can not choose but favor the gratification of sexual intercourse outside of wedlock. Hence the number of prostitutes increases, while the number of marriages decreases. Besides that, the number increases of those who suffer from unnatural gratification of the sexual instinct.

Among the property classes, not infrequently the wife sinks, just as in old Greece, to the level of a mere apparatus for the procreation of legitimate offspring, of warder of the house, or of nurse to a husband, wrecked by debauchery. The husbands keep for their pleasure and physical desires hetairae—styled among us courtesans or mistresses—who live in elegant abodes, in the handsomest quarters of the city. Others, whose means do not allow them to keep mistresses, disport themselves, after marriage as before, with Phrynes, for whom their hearts beat stronger than for their own wives. With the Phrynes they amuse themselves; and quite a number of the husbands among the "property and cultured classes" is so corrupt that it considers these entertainments in order.[78]

In the upper and middle classes of society, the money matches and matches for social position are the mainspring of the evils of married life; but, over and above that, marriage is made rank by the lives these classes lead. This holds good particularly with regard to the women, who frequently give themselves over to idleness or to corrupting pursuits. Their intellectual food often consists in the reading of equivocal romances and obscene literature, in seeing and hearing frivolous theatrical performances, and the fruition of sensuous music; in exhilarating nervous stimulants; in conversations on the pettiest subjects, or scandals about the dear fellow mortals. Along therewith, they rush from one enjoyment into another, from one banquet to another, and hasten in summer to the baths and summer retreats to recover from the excesses of the winter, and to find fresh subjects for talk. The chronique scandaleuse recruits itself from this style of life: people seduce and are seduced.

In the lower classes money-matches are unknown, as a rule, although they occasionally do play a role. No one can wholly withdraw himself from the influence of the society he lives in,—and the existing social conditions exercise a particularly depressing influence upon the circumstances of the lower classes. As a rule, the workingman weds out of inclination, but there is no lack of causes to disturb his marriage. A rich blessing of children brings on cares and troubles; but too often want sets in. Sickness and death are frequent guests in the workingman's family. Lack of work drives misery to its height. Many a circumstance pares off the worker's earnings, or temporarily robs him wholly of it. Commercial and industrial crises throw him out of work; the introduction of new machinery, or methods of work, casts him as superfluous on the sidewalk; wars, unfavorable tariffs and commercial treaties, the introduction of the new indirect taxes, disciplinary acts on the part of the employer in punishment for the exercise of his convictions, etc., destroy his existence, or seriously injure it. Now one thing, then another happens, whereby, sometimes for a shorter, sometimes for a longer period, he becomes an unemployed, i. e., a starving being. Uncertainty is the badge of his existence. When such blows of fortune happen, they at first produce dissatisfaction and bitterness, and in the home life this mood finds its first expression when daily, every hour, demands are made by wife and children for the most pressing needs, needs that the husband can not satisfy. Out of despair, he visits the saloon, and seeks comfort in bad liquor. The last penny is spent. Quarrel and dissension break out. The ruin of both marriage and the family is accomplished.

Let us take up another picture. Both—husband and wife—go to work. The little ones are left to themselves, or to the care of older brothers and sisters, themselves in need of care and education. At noon, the so-called lunch is swallowed down in hot haste,—supposing that the parents have at all time to rush home, which, in thousands of cases is impossible, owing to the shortness of the hour of recess, and the distance of the shop from the home. Tired out and unstrung, both return home in the evening. Instead of a friendly, cheerful home, they find a narrow, unhealthy habitation, often lacking in light and air, generally also in the most necessary comforts. The increasing tenement plague, together with the horrible improprieties that flow therefrom, is one of the darkest sides of our social order, and leads to numerous evils, vices and crimes. Yet the plague increases from year to year in all cities and industrial regions, and it draws within the vortex of its evils ever new strata of society: small producers, public employes, teachers, small traders, etc. The workingman's wife, who reaches home in the evening tired and harassed, has now again her hands full. She must bestir herself at breakneck speed in order but to get ready the most necessary things in the household. The crying and noisy children are hurried off to bed; the wife sits up, and sews, and patches deep into the night. The so-much-needed mental intercourse and encouragement are absent. The husband is often uneducated and knows little, the wife still less; the little they have to say to each other is soon got through with. The husband goes to the saloon, and seeks there the entertainment that he lacks at home; he drinks; however little that be that he spends, for his means it is too much. At times he falls a prey to gambling, which, in the upper circles of society also, claims many victims, and he loses more than he spends in drink. The wife, in the meantime, sits at home and grumbles; she must work like a dray-horse; for her there is no rest or recreation; the husband avails himself of the freedom that accident gives him, of having been born a man. Thus disharmony arises. If, however, the wife is less true to duty, she seeks in the evening, after she has returned home tired, the rest she is entitled to; but then the household goes back, and misery is twice as great. Indeed, we live "in the best world possible."

Through these and similar circumstances, marriage is shattered ever more among the working class also. Even favorable seasons of work exert their destructive influence: they compel him to work Sundays and overtime: they take from him the hours he still had left for his family. In many instances he has to travel hours to reach the shop; to utilize the noon recess for going home is an impossibility; he is up in the morning at the very earliest, when the children are still sound asleep, and returns home late, when they are again in the same condition. Thousands, especially those engaged in the building trades in the cities, remain away from home all week, owing to the vastness of the distance, and return only on Saturdays to their family. And yet it is expected of family life that it thrive under such circumstances. Moreover, female labor is ever on the increase, especially in the textile industry, whose thousands of steam weaving and spinning looms are served by cheap woman and children's hands. Here the relations of sex and age have been reversed. Wife and child go into the mill, the now breadless husband sits at home and attends to household duties. In the United States, that, due to its rapid large-capitalist development, produces all the evils of European industrial States in much larger dimensions, a characteristic name has been invented for the state of things brought on by such conditions. Industrial places that employ women mainly, while the husbands sit at home, are called "she-towns."

The admission of women to all the manual trades is to-day conceded on all hands. Capitalist society, ever on the hunt for profit and gain, has long since recognized what an excellent subject for exploitation is woman—more docile and submissive, and less exacting woman—in comparison with man. Hence the number of trades and occupations, in which women are finding employment increases yearly. The extension and improvement of machinery, the simplification of the process of production through the ever minuter subdivision of labor, the intenser competition of capitalists among themselves, together with the competitive battle in the world's market among rival industrial countries,—all these continue to favor the ever further application of female labor. It is a phenomenon noticeable in all industrial countries alike. But in the same measure that the number of working-women increases, competition among the workingmen is thereby intensified. One branch of industry after another, one branch of work after the other, is being taken by working-women, who are ever more displacing the men. Numerous passages in the reports of factory inspectors, as well as in the statistical figures on the occupation of working-women, go to confirm the fact.

The condition of the women is worst in the industrial branches in which they preponderate, for instance, the clothing and underwear industry, those branches, in general, in which work can be done at home. The inquiry into the condition of the working-women in the underwear and confectionery industries, ordered in 1886 by the Bundesrath, has revealed the fact that the wages of these working-women are often so miserable that they are compelled to prostitute their bodies for a side-source of income. A large number of the prostitutes are recruited from the strata of ill-paid working-women.

Our "Christian" Government, whose Christianity, as a rule, is looked for in vain there where it should be applied, and is found where the same is superfluous and harmful,—this Christian Government acts exactly like the Christian capitalists, a fact that does not astonish him who knows that the Christian Government is but the agent of our Christian capitalists. The Government only with difficulty decides in favor of laws to limit woman-labor to a normal measure, or to wholly forbid child-labor;—on the same principle that that Government denies many of its own employes both the requisite Sunday rest and normal hours of work, and in that way materially disturbs their family life. Post Office, railroad, penitentiary and other Government employes often must perform their functions far beyond the time limit, and their salaries stand in inverse ratio to their work. That, however, is, to-day, the normal condition of things, still considered quite in order by the majority.

Seeing, furthermore, that rent, in comparison to the wages and earnings of the workingmen, the lower Government employes and the small men included, is much too high, these must exert themselves to the utmost. Lodgers are taken into these homes, only males in some, females in others, often both. The young and the old live together in narrow quarters, without separating the sexes, and are crowded together even during the most private acts. How the sense of shame, or morality fares thereby, horrifying facts proclaim. The increasing brutalization of the youth, so extensively discussed, is due mainly to the conditions prevalent in our industrial system, with which the wretchedness of the home is closely connected. And, as to the children, what must be upon them the effect of industrial labor! The very worst imaginable, both physically and morally.

The ever increasing industrial occupation of married women also is accompanied with fatal results. Especially is this the case in connection with pregnancy and child-birth, as also during the early life of the child when it depends upon the nourishment of the mother. A number of ailments arise during pregnancy that affect destructively both the fruit and the organism of the woman, and cause premature and still-born births, upon all of which more later. After the child is born, the mother is compelled to return as quickly as possible to the factory, lest her place be taken by a competitor. The inevitable results to the little ones are: neglected care, improper or total lack of nourishment. They are drugged with opiates to keep them quiet. The further results are: a vast mortality, or stunted development; in short, the degeneration of the race. The children often grow up without having enjoyed true motherly and fatherly love, or having on their part, felt filial affection. Thus is the proletariat born, thus does it live and die. And the "Christian" Government, this "Christian" society wonders that rudeness, immorality and crime cumulate.

When, in the early sixties of last century, due to the American Civil War for the emancipation of the negroes, many thousands of workingmen in the English cotton industries were out of work, physicians made the remarkable discovery that, despite great want among the population, mortality among children had declined. The cause was simple. The children now enjoyed the mother's nourishment and better care than they had ever had during the best seasons of work. The same fact was attested by physicians during the crisis of the seventies in the United States, especially in New York and Massachusetts. The general lack of employment compelled the women to rest from labor, and left them time for the care of their children. Similar observations were also made by Dr. v. Recherberg during the inquiry into the condition of the weavers of the region of Zittau in Saxony, as shown by him in a work that he wrote during the summer of 1890.

In the home-industries, which romantic economists love to represent as idyllic, conditions are no better. Here the wife is chained to her husband, at work early and late into the night, and the children are from an early age hitched on. Crowded into the narrowest space imaginable, husband, wife and family, boys and girls, live together, along with the waste of materials, amidst the most disagreeable dusts and odors, and without the necessary cleanliness. The bedrooms are of a piece with the sitting and working rooms: generally dark holes and without ventilation, they would be sufficiently unsanitary if they housed but a part of the people huddled into them. In short, the conditions of these places are such as to cause the skin to creep of anyone accustomed to a life worthy of a human being.

The ever harder struggle for existence often also compels women and men to commit actions and tolerate indignities that, under other circumstances, would fill them with disgust. In 1877 it was authentically established in Munich that, among the prostitutes, registered by and under the surveillance of the police, there were not less than 203 wives of workingmen and artisans. And how many are not the married women, who, out of distress, prostitute themselves without submitting to a police control that deeply lacerates the sense of shame and dignity!

But we have wandered somewhat from our subject. It was shown that the number of actions for divorce is on the increase in all countries of civilization, and that the majority of these actions proceed from wives. This steadily rising figure of actions for divorce is a sign of the decay of bourgeois marriage, which is answering its purpose ever less. But a still much worse sign of its decay is the circumstance that, simultaneously, the number of marriages is in almost all these countries steadily on the decline. Experience tells that high prices for corn in one single year have an unfavorable effect both upon the number of marriages and that of births. Long industrial crises, and increasing deterioration of the general economic condition must, accordingly, have a lasting evil effect. This is confirmed by the statistics of marriages for almost all countries in civilization.

In France, marriages between 1881-1890 cast the following picture on the canvas. Marriages were contracted in—

1881 282,079 1886 283,208 1882 281,060 1887 277,060 1883 284,519 1888 276,848 1884 289,555 1889 272,934 1885 283,170 1890 269,332

There is, accordingly, a considerable decrease of marriages.

In the German Empire, the number of marriages was highest after the close of the war between Germany and France, during which they had stood still. In 1872 there were 423,900 marriages contracted, but in 1876 they numbered only 366,912, and during the worst year of the crisis, the year 1879, they dropped to 335,113. They have since risen again slowly, and numbered in

1882 350,457 1889 389,339 1886 372,326 1892 398,775

Although in the year 1892 the population of Germany was larger by 8,000,000 heads than in 1872, the number of marriages was not even as large as in 1874 when it amounted to 400,282. In the period between 1871-1880, there were, to an average of 1,000 inhabitants in Germany, 8.6 marriages; in the period between 1881-1888, only 7.8.

In Prussia, to the average 10,000 inhabitants, there married—

Between 1831-35 1,849 Between 1866-70 1,605 Between 1871-75 1,896 Between 1881-85 1,529 And in 1888 1,624

A similar, partly even more unfavorable picture than in Germany, is furnished by the statistical tables for other European countries.

Out of every 10,000 persons, there married—

Year Holland Switzerland Austria France Italy Belgium England 1873 171 152 188 178 159 156 176 1874 168 166 181 167 153 152 170 1875 167 179 171 164 168 145 167 1876 165 162 165 158 163 142 166 1877 162 157 150 150 154 149 157 1878 155 147 152 151 142 135 152 1879 153 138 155 152 150 136 144 1880 150 137 152 149 140 141 149 1881 146 136 160 150 162 142 151 1882 143 135 164 149 157 140 155 1883 142 136 157 150 161 136 154 1884 144 136 157 153 164 136 151 1885 139 138 152 149 158 136 144 1886 139 137 155 149 158 134 141 —- —- —- —- —- —- —- Average 153 147 161 155 156 141 156

Year Scotland Ireland Denmark Norway Sweden Hungary 1873 155 96 162 145 146 226 1874 152 92 164 153 145 214 1875 148 91 170 157 140 218 1876 150 99 171 154 141 198 1877 144 93 161 151 137 182 1878 134 95 148 146 129 187 1879 128 87 147 135 126 205 1880 132 78 152 133 126 182 1881 139 85 156 128 124 198 1882 140 86 154 134 127 203 1883 140 85 154 132 128 205 1884 135 91 156 137 131 201 1885 129 86 151 133 133 ... 1886 124 84 142 131 ... ... —- — —- —- —- —- Average 139 89 156 141 133 202

These figures are interesting in more respects than one. In the first place, they prove that, in all the countries named, the number of marriages declines. Like Germany, all these countries show the highest frequency of marriage in the beginning of 1872, and then follows a drop in most of them. Hungary comes out best; Ireland, on the contrary, worst, showing the smallest figures of all. The ejectment of the Irish population from their lands, and the ever greater concentration of the same in the hands of the large landlords, express themselves clearly in the figures given.[79]

Industrial conditions have a marked effect upon the number of marriages. As the former has, on an average, become ever more unfavorable since the middle of the seventies, the decline in marriages is not astonishing. But not the industrial conditions only, also the manner in which the property relations develop affects marriages in a high degree, as just seen in Ireland. The Year-Book of Schmoller for 1885, section 1, gives information on the statistics of population of the Kingdom of Wuertemberg, from which it appears strikingly that with the increase of large age declines, while the number of unmarried men between the ages of 40 and 50 rises:

Percentage of Males. Percentage of Landed Married Unmarried Property by of the of the Hectares. Age of Age of Districts. Up to 5. 5-20. Over 20. 25-30. 40-50. Upper Neurenburg 79.6 20.4 0.0 63.6 4.4 East of Stuttgart 78.9 17.7 3.4 51.3 8.1 South of Stuttgart 67.6 24.8 7.6 48.6 8.7 North of Stuttgart 56.5 34.8 8.8 50.0 10.0 Schwarzwald 50.2 42.2 7.6 48.6 10.1 Upper Neckar 43.6 40.3 16.1 44.3 10.8 Eastward 39.5 47.6 12.8 48.7 10.0 Northeast, except north of Hall 22.2 50.1 27.7 38.8 10.6 Swabian Alb 20.3 40.8 38.3 38.8 7.5 North Upper Swabia 19.7 48.0 32.3 32.5 9.7 From Hall eastward 15.5 50.0 34.5 32.5 13.8 Bodensee district 14.2 61.4 24.4 23.5 26.4 Middle and South Upper Swabia 12.6 41.1 46.3 30.0 19.1

There can be no doubt: small landed property favors marriages: it makes a living possible for a larger number of families, although the living be modest. Large landed property, on the contrary, works directly against marriage, and promotes celibacy. All the figures here quoted prove, accordingly, that, not morals, but purely material causes are the determining factor. The number of marriages, like the moral conditions of a commonwealth, depends upon its material foundations.

The fear of want, the mental worry lest the children be not educated up to their station,—these are further causes that drive the wives, in particular, of all ranks to actions that are out of keeping with nature, and still more so with the criminal code. Under this head belong the various means for the prevention of pregnancy, or, when, despite all care, this does set in, then the removal of the unripe fruit—abortion. It were an error to claim that these measures are resorted to only by heedless, unconscionable women. Often, rather, it is conscientious women, who wish to limit the number of children, in order to escape the dilemma of either having to deny themselves their husbands, or of driving them to paths that they are naturally inclined to. It often is such women who prefer to undergo the dangers of abortion. Besides these, there are other women, especially in the higher walks of life, who, in order to conceal a "slip," or out of aversion for the inconveniences of pregnancy, of child-birth and of nursing, perhaps, out of fear of sooner losing their charms, and then forfeiting their standing with either husband or male friends, incur such criminal acts, and, for hard cash, find ready medical and midwife support.

To conclude from diverse indications, artificial abortion is coming ever more into practice; nor is the practice new. Artificial abortion was in frequent use among the ancient peoples, and is, to this day, from the most civilized down to the barbarous. According to Jules Roget,[80] the women of Rome took recourse to abortion for several reasons: They either sought to destroy the evidence of illicit relations—a reason that even to-day is often at its bottom; or they wished to be able to indulge their excesses without interruption. There were also other reasons: they wished to avoid the changes that pregnancy and child-birth work upon woman's physique. Among the Romans, a woman was old from twenty-five years to thirty. Accordingly, she sought to avoid all that might impair her charms. In the Middle Ages, abortion was punishable with severe bodily chastisement, often even with death; the free woman, guilty thereof, became a serf. At present, abortion is especially in use in the United States. In all large cities of the Union, there are institutions in which girls and women are prematurely delivered: many American papers contain the advertisements of such places: abortion is talked of there almost as freely as of a regular birth. In Germany and Europe, opinion on the subject is different: the German criminal code, for instance, makes the act of both the principal and the accessory a penitentiary offense.[81]

Abortion is, in many cases, accompanied by the most serious results. The operation is dangerous; death not infrequently occurs; often the result is a permanent impairment of health. "The troubles of troublesome pregnancy and child-birth are infinitely less than the sufferings consequent upon artificial abortion."[82] Barrenness is one of its most common consequences. All that, notwithstanding, abortion is practiced also in Germany, ever more frequently, and for the reasons given. Between 1882-1888, the number of cases in Berlin, of which the criminal courts took cognizance, rose 155 per cent. The chronique scandaleuse of the last years dealt frequently with cases of abortion, that caused great sensation, due to the circumstance that reputable physicians and women, prominent in society, played a role in them. Furthermore, to judge from the rising number of announcements in our newspapers, the institutions and places increase in which married and unmarried women of the property class are offered an opportunity to await the results of a "slip" in perfect secrecy.

The dread of a large increase of children—due to the smallness of means, and the cost of bringing up—has, among all classes and even peoples, developed the use of preventatives into a system, that here and yonder has grown into a public calamity. It is a generally known fact that, in all strata of French society, the "two-child system" is in force. In few countries of civilization are marriages relatively as numerous as in France, and in no country is the average number of children so small, and the increase of population so slow. The French capitalist, like the small-holder and allotment peasant, pursues the system; the French workingman follows suit. In many sections of Germany the special situation of the peasants seems to have led to similar conditions. We know a charming region in Southwest Germany, where, in the garden of every peasant, there stands the so-called "Sevenbaum," whose properties are applied to abortive purposes. In another district of the same country the regular two-child system prevails among the peasants: they do not wish to divide the places. Moreover, striking is the measure in which literature, that treats with and recommends the means of "facultative sterility," increases in Germany both in volume and demand,—of course, always under the colors of science, and in allusion to the alleged threatening danger of over-population.

Along with abortion and the artificial prevention of conception, crime plays its role. In France, the murder of children and their exposure is perceptibly on the increase, both promoted by the provision of the French civil code that forbids all inquiry after the paternity of the child. Section 340 of the Code Civil decrees: "La recherche de la paternite est interdite;" on the other hand, Section 314 provides: "La recherche de la maternite est admise." To inquire after the paternity of a child is forbidden, but is allowed after its maternity,—a law that glaringly brings out the injustice contemplated towards the seduced woman. The men of France are free to seduce as many women and girls as they are able to; they are free from all responsibility; they owe no support to the child. These provisions were instituted under the pretext that the female sex should be frightened against seducing the men. As you see, everywhere it is the weak man, this limb of the stronger sex, who is seduced, but never seduces. The result of Section 340 of the Code Civil was Section 312, which provides: "L'enfant concu pendant le marriage a pour pere le mari."[83] Inquiry after the paternity being forbidden, it is logical that the husband, crowned with horns, rest content with having the child, that his wife received from another, considered his own. Inconsistency, at any rate, can not be charged to the French capitalist class. All attempts to amend Section 340 have so far failed. Lately, February, 1895, the Socialist deputies in the French Chamber of Deputies presented a bill intended to put an end to the disfranchised position of the seduced or betrayed woman. Whether the attempt will be crowned with success is doubtful.

On the other hand, the French capitalist class—sensible of the cruelty it committed in so framing the law as to make it impossible for the deceived woman to turn for support to the father of her child—sought to make up for its sins by establishing foundling asylums. According to our famous "morals," there is no paternal feeling towards the illegitimate child; that exists only for "legitimate heirs." Through the foundlings' asylums the mother also is taken from the new-born child. According to the French fiction, foundlings are orphans. In this way, the French capitalist class has its illegitimate children brought up, at the expense of the State, as "children of the fatherland." A charming arrangement. In Germany, things bid fair to be switched on the French track. The provisions in the bill for a civil code for the German Empire contain maxims on the legal status of illegitimate children, strongly in contrast with the humane law still in force.

According to the bill, a dishonored girl—even if blameless, or seduced with the promise of subsequent marriage, or induced to consent to coition through some criminal act—has no claim against the seducer except as indemnity for the costs of delivery, and for support during the first six weeks after the birth of the child, and then only within the bounds of what is strictly necessary. Only in some of the cases of the worst crimes against morality, can a slight money indemnity be granted to the seduced girl, at the discretion of the court, and without the necessity of proving actual damages. The illegitimate child has no claim upon the seducer of his mother, except for the merest necessaries of life, and then only until its fourteenth year. All claims of the child on its father are, however, barred if, within pregnancy, any other man cohabit with its mother. The plaintiff child has, moreover, to prove that its mother has not accepted the embraces of any other man.

Menger, the expositions in whose treatise[84] we here follow, justly raises against the bill the serious charge that it only accrues to the advantage of the well-to-do, immoral men, seducers of ignorant girls, often girls who sin through poverty, but leaves these fallen girls, together with their wholly guiltless children, entirely unprotected, aye, pushes them only deeper into misery and crime. Menger cites, in this connection, the provisions of the Prussian law. According thereto, an unmarried woman or widow of good character, who is made pregnant, is to be indemnified by the man according to his means. The indemnity shall, however, not exceed one-fourth of his property. An illegitimate child has a claim upon its father for support and education, regardless of whether his mother is a person of good character: the expenditure, however, shall be no higher than the education of a legitimate child would cost to people of the peasant or of ordinary citizen walks of life. If the illicit intercourse occurred under promise of future marriage, then, according to the further provisions of Prussian law, the Judge is duly to award the woman, pronounced innocent and a wife, the name, standing and rank of the man, together with all the rights of a divorced woman. The illegitimate child has, in such cases, all the rights of children born in wedlock. We may await with curiosity to see whether the provisions of this bill, so hostile to woman, will acquire the force of a civil code of law in Germany. But retrogression is the key-note in our legislation.

Between the years of 1830-1880, there were 8,563 cases of infanticide before the French court of assizes, the figures rising from 471 in 1831, to 980 in 1880. During the same period, 1,032 cases of abortion were tried, 41 in 1831, and in 1880 over 100. Of course, only a small part of the abortions came to the knowledge of the criminal court; as a rule, only when followed by serious illness or death. In the cases of infanticide, the country population contributed 75 per cent., in the cases of abortion the cities 65 per cent. In the city, the women have more means at command to prevent normal birth; hence, the many cases of abortion and the small number of infanticides. It is the reverse in the country.

Such is the composition of the picture presented by modern society in respect to its most intimate relations. The picture differs wide from that that poets and poetically doused phantasists love to paint it. Our picture, however, has this advantage,—it is true. And yet the picture still calls for several strokes of the brush to bring out its character in full.

In general, there can be no difference of opinion touching the present and average mental inferiority of the female sex to the male. True enough, Balzac, by no means a woman-lover, claims: "The woman, who has received a male education, possesses in fact the most brilliant and fruitful qualities for the building of her own happiness and that of her husband;" and Goethe, who knew well both the men and women of his times, expresses himself in Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship (confessions of a pure soul): "Learned women were ridiculed, and also the educated ones were disliked, probably because it was considered impolite to put so many ignorant men to shame." We agree with both. Nevertheless, the fact is no wise altered that, in general, women stand intellectually behind the men. This difference is compulsory, because woman is that which man, as her master, has made her. The education of woman, more so than that of the working class, has been neglected since time immemorial; nor are latter-day improvements adequate. We live in days when the aspiration after exchange of thought grows in all circles, in the family also; and there the neglected education of woman is felt as a serious fault, and it avenges itself upon the husband.

The object of the education of man—at least it is so claimed, although due to the mistaken methods, the object is often missed, perchance, also, is not meant to be reached—aims at the development of the intellect, the sharpening of the powers of thought, the broadening of the field of practical knowledge, and the invigoration of the will-power, in short, at the cultivation of the functions of the mind. With woman, on the contrary, education, so far as at all attended to in a higher degree, is mainly aimed at the intensification of her feelings, at formality and polite culture—music, belles-letters, art, poetry—all of which only screw her nervous sensitiveness and phantasy up to a higher pitch. This is a mistaken and unhealthy policy. In it the fact transpires that the powers, which determine the measure of woman's education, are guided only by their ingrained prejudices regarding the nature of the female character, and also by the cramped position of woman. The object must not be to develop still further the sentimental and imaginative side of woman, which would only tend to heighten her natural inclination to nervousness; neither should her education be limited to etiquette and polite literature. The object, with regard to her as to man, should be to develop their intellectual activity and acquaint them with the phenomena of practical life. It would be of greatest benefit to both sexes if, in lieu of a superfluity of sentiment, that often becomes positively uncanny, woman possessed a good share of sharpened wit and power for exact reasoning; if, in lieu of excessive nervous excitation and timidity, she possessed firmness of character and physical courage; in lieu of conventional, literary refinement, in so far as she at all has any, she had a knowledge of the world, of men and of the powers of Nature.

Generally speaking, what is termed the feeling and spirituality of woman has hitherto been nurtured without stint, while her intellectual development has, on the contrary, been grossly neglected and kept under. As a consequence, she suffers of hypertrophy of feeling and spirituality, hence is prone to superstition and miracles,—a more than grateful soil for religious and other charlataneries, a pliant tool for all reaction. Blockish men often complain when she is thus affected, but they bring no relief, because often they are themselves steeped up to the ears in prejudices.

By reason of woman's being almost generally as here sketched, she looks upon the world differently from man. Hence, again, a strong source of contrariety between the two sexes.

Participation in public life is to-day one of the most essential duties of a man; that many men do not yet understand this does not alter the fact. Nevertheless, the number of those is ever increasing who realize that public institutions stand in intimate connection with the private lot of the individual; that his success or failure, together with that of his family, depend infinitely more upon the condition of public affairs than upon his own personal qualities and actions. The fact is beginning to receive recognition that the greatest efforts of the individual are powerless against evils that lie in the very condition of things, and that determine his state. On the other hand, the struggle for existence now requires much greater efforts than before. Demands are now made upon man that engage ever more his time and strength. The ignorant, indifferent wife stands dumb before him, and feels herself neglected. It may be even said that, the mental difference between man and woman is to-day greater than formerly, when the opportunities for both were slight and limited, and lay more within the reach of her restricted intellect. Furthermore, the handling of public affairs occupies to-day a large number of men to a degree before unknown; this widens their horizon; but it also withdraws them ever more from the mental sphere of their homes. The wife deems herself set back, and thus another source of friction is started. Only rarely does the husband know how to pacify his wife and convince her. When he does that, he has escaped a dangerous rock. As a rule the husband is of the opinion that what he wants does not concern his wife, she does not understand it. He takes no pains to enlighten her. "You don't understand such matters," is his stereotyped answer, the moment the wife complains that she is neglected. Lack of information on the part of wives is promoted by lack of sense on the part of most husbands. More favorable relations between husband and wife spring up in the rank of the working class in the measure that both realize they are tugging at the same rope, and that there is but one means towards satisfactory conditions for themselves and their family,—the radical reformation of society that shall make human beings of them all. In the measure that such insight gains ground among the wives of the proletariat, then, despite want and misery, their married life is idealized: both now have a common aim, after which they strive; and they have an inexhaustible source of mutual encouragement in the mutual interchange of views, whereto their joint battle leads them. The number of proletarian women who reach this insight is every year larger. Herein lies a movement, that is in process of development, and that is fraught with decisive significance for the future of mankind.

In other social strata, the differences in education and views—easily overlooked at the beginning of married life, when passion still predominates—are felt ever more with ripening years. Sexual passion cools off, and its substitution with harmony of thought is all the more needful. But, leaving aside whether the husband has any idea of civic duties and attends to the same, he, at any rate, thanks to his occupation and constant intercourse with the outer world, comes into continuous touch with different elements and opinions, on all sorts of occasions, and thus floats into an intellectual atmosphere that broadens his horizon. As a rule, and in contrast with his wife, he finds himself in a state of intellectual molting, while she, on the contrary, due to her household duties, which engage her early and late, is robbed of leisure for further education, and, accordingly, becomes mentally stunted and soured.

The domestic wretchedness in which the majority of wives live to-day, is correctly depicted by the bourgeois-minded Gerhard von Amyntor in his "Marginal Notes to the Book of Life."[85] In the chapter entitled "Deadly Gnat-bites" he says among other things:

"Not the shocking events, that none remain unvisited by, and that bring, here the death of a husband, yonder the moral downfall of a beloved child; that lie, here in a long and serious illness, yonder in the wrecking of a warmly nursed plan;—not these undermine her (the housewife's) freshness and strength. It is the small, daily-recurring marrow and bone-gnawing cares.... How many millions of brave little house-mothers cook and scour away their vigor of life, their very cheeks and roguish dimples, in attending to domestic cares until they become crumpled, dried and broke-up mummies. The ever-recurring question, what shall be cooked to-day? the ever-recurring necessity of sweeping, and beating, and brushing, and dusting is the continuously falling drop that slowly, but surely, wears away mind and body. The kitchen-hearth is the place where the saddest balances are drawn up between income and expense, where the most depressing observations are forced upon the mind on the rising dearness of the necessaries of life, and on the ever increasing difficulty to earn the needed cash. On the flaming altar, where the soup kettle bubbles, youth and mental ease, beauty and good humor are sacrificed; and who recognizes in the old care-bent cook, the one-time blooming, overbearing, coy-coquette bride in the array of her myrtle crown? Already in antiquity the hearth was sacred, near it were placed the Lares and patron deities. Let us also hold sacred the hearth at which the dutiful German bourgeois house-wife dies a slow death, in order to keep the house comfortable, the table covered and the family in health." Such is the consolation offered in bourgeois society to the wife, who, under the present order of society, is miserably going to pieces.

Those women, who, thanks to their social condition, find themselves in a freer state, have, as a rule, a one-sided, superficial education, that, combined with inherited female characteristics, manifests itself with force. They generally have a taste for mere superficialities; they think only about gew-gaws and dress; and thus they seek their mission in the satisfaction of a spoiled taste, and the indulgence of passions that demand their pay with usury. In their children and the education of these they have hardly any interest: they give them too much trouble and annoyance, hence are left to the nurses and servants, and are later passed on to the boarding-schools. At any rate their principal task is to raise their daughters as show-dolls, and their sons as pupils for the jeunesse dore (gilded youth) out of which dudedom recruits its ranks—that despicable class of men that may be fairly put upon a level with procurers. This jeunesse dore furnishes the chief contingent to the seducers of the daughters of the working class. They look upon idleness and squandering as a profession.


[58] Mainlaender, "Philosophie der Erloesung," Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1886, E. Koenitzer.

[59] D. A. Debay, "Hygiene et Physiologue du Marriage," Paris, 1884. Quoted in "Im Freien Reich" by Ioma v. Troll-Borostyani, Zurich, 1884.

[60] "Das Geschlechtsleben des Weibes, in physiologischer, pathologischer und therapeutischer Hinsicht dargestellt."

[61] "Die Prostitution vor dem Gesetz," by Veritas. Leipsic, 1893.

[62] V. Oettingen, "Moralstatistik." Erlangen, 1882.

[63] "Lehrbuch der Psychiatrie," Vol. I, Stuttgart, 1883.

[64] Vol. II. Leipsic, 1887.

[65] "The moods and feelings in and which husband and wife approach each other, exercise, without a doubt, a definite influence upon the result of the sexual act, and transmit certain characteristics to the fruit." Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, "The Moral Education of the Young In Relation to Sex." See also Goethe's "Elective Affinities," where he sketches clearly the influence exerted by the feelings of two beings who approach each other for intimate intercourse.

[66] "Denkwuerdigkeiten," Vol. I, p. 239, Leipsic, F. A. Brockhaus.

[67] "Mr. E., a manufacturer ... informed me that he employed females exclusively, at his power-looms ... gives a decided preference to married females, especially those who have families at home dependent on them for support; they are attentive, docile, more so than unmarried females, and are compelled to use their utmost exertions to procure the necessities of life. Thus are the virtues, the peculiar virtues of the female character to be perverted to her injury—thus all that is most dutiful and tender in her nature is made a means of her bondage and suffering." Speech of Lord Ashley, March 15, 1884, on the Ten Hour Factory Bill. Marx's "Capital."

[68] "Die Frau auf dem Gebiete der Nationaloekonomie."

[69] See "Fuerst Bismarck und seine Leute," Von Busch.

[70] Sections 180 and 181.

[71] "The Physiology of Love."

[72] Alexander Dumas says rightly, In "Monsieur Alfonse:" "Man has built two sorts of morals; one for himself, one for his wife; one that permits him love with all women, and one that, as indemnity for the liberty she has forfeited forever, permits her love with one man only."

[73] L. Bridel, "La Puissance Maritale," Lausanne. 1879.

[74] v. Oettingen, "Moralstatistik," Erlangen, 1882.

[75] v. Oettingen, "Moralstatistik."

[76] [According to the census of 1900, there were in the United States 198,914 divorced persons: males 84,237, females 114,677. The percentage of divorced to married persons was 0.7. The census warns, however, that "divorced persons are apt to be reported as single, and so the census returns in this respect should not be accepted as a correct measure of the prevalence of divorce throughout the country."—THE TRANSLATOR.]

[77] v. Oettingen, "Moralstatistik."

[78] In his work frequently cited by us, "Die Frauenfrage im Mittelalter," Buecher laments the decay of marriage and of family life; he condemns the increasing female labor in industry, and demands a "return" to the "real domain of woman," where she alone produces "values" in the house and the family. The endeavors of the modern friends of woman appear to him as "dilettanteism" and he hopes finally "that the movement may be switched on the right track," but he is obviously unable to point to a successful road. Neither is that possible from the bourgeois standpoint. The marriage conditions, like the condition of woman in general, have not been brought about arbitrarily. They are the natural product of our social development. But the social development of peoples does not cut capers, nor does it perpetrate any such false reasonings in a circle; it takes its course obedient to imminent laws. It is the mission of the student of civilization to discover these laws, and, planted upon them, to show the way for the removal of existing evils.

[79] "Neue Zeit," Jahrgang 1888, p. 239.

[80] "Etudes Medicales sur l'Ancienne Rome," Paris, 1859.

[81] The above account of the United States, concerning the contrast between it and Europe, is incorrect. At the time in the nation's history when material conditions were easy, theoretically, the thought of abortion, let alone its execution, could not spring up; and it did not. All the reports of that time, not forgetting Washington Irving's humorous account of the custom of "bundling," confirm the fact. Births were numerous, families large.

Subsequently, when conditions became less easy, and in the measure that the country entered increasingly into the sphere of the material hardships implied in advancing capitalism, theoretically, again, the thought of abortion, and, along with it, the deed, must be expected to have sprung up; and so they did. But the same development that carried the country into the material sphere of capitalism, also, and at the same time, carried its people into the sphere of capitalist affectation of morality and measuredness of language; in short, of hypocrisy. The being, that will commit the crimes of a higher civilization with the plain-spokenness of the barbarian, is a monstrosity. Capitalist United States is abreast of, and moves in even step with, capitalist Europe, not in the practice only of crime, but in the Pharisees of its condemnation and the severity of its punishment also.—THE TRANSLATOR.

[82] "Geschichte und Gefahren der Fruchtabtreibung," Dr. Ed. Reich, Leipsic, 1893.

[83] "The child conceived during marriage has the husband for father."

[84] "Das buergerliche Recht und die besitzlosen Klassen," Tuebingen, 1890.

[85] Sam. Lucas, Elberfeld.



Cast in the mold of the conditions above described, many a feature of woman's character took shape, and they reached ever fuller development from generation to generation. On these features men love to dwell with predilection, but they forget that they are themselves the cause thereof, and have promoted with their conduct the defects they now make merry about, or censure. Among these widely censured female qualities, belong her dreaded readiness of tongue, and passion for gossip; her inclination to endless talk over trifles and unimportant things; her mental bent for purely external matters, such as dress, and her desire to please, together with a resulting proneness to all the follies of fashion; lastly, her easily arousable envy and jealousy of the other members of her sex.

These qualities, though in different degrees, manifest themselves generally in the female sex from early childhood. They are qualities that are born under the pressure of social conditions, and are further developed by heredity, example and education. A being irrationally brought up, can not bring up others rationally.

In order to be clear on the causes and development of good or bad qualities, whether with the sexes or with whole peoples, the same methods must be pursued that modern natural science applies in order to ascertain the formation and development of life according to genus and species, and to determine their qualities. They are the laws that flow from the material conditions for life, laws that life demands, that adapt themselves to it, and finally became its nature.

Man forms no exception to that which holds good in Nature for all animate creation. Man does not stand outside of Nature: looked at physiologically, he is the most highly developed animal,—a fact, however, that some would deny. Thousands of years ago, although wholly ignorant of modern science, the ancients had on many matters affecting man, more rational views than the moderns; above all, they gave practical application to the views founded on experience. We praise with enthusiastic admiration the beauty and strength of the men and women of Greece; but the fact is overlooked that, not the happy climate, nor the bewitching nature of a territory that stretched along the bay-indented sea, but the physical culture and maxims of education, consistently enforced by the State, thus affected both the being and the development of the population. These measures were calculated to combine beauty, strength and suppleness of body with wit and elasticity of mind, both of which were transmitted to the descendants. True enough, even then, in comparison with man, woman was neglected in point of mental, but not of corporal culture.[86] In Sparta, that went furthest in the corporal culture of the two sexes, boys and girls went naked until the age of puberty, and participated in common in the exercises of the body, in games and in wrestling. The naked exposure of the human body, together with the natural treatment of natural things, had the advantage that sensuous excitement—to-day artificially cultivated by the separation of the sexes from early childhood—was then prevented. The corporal make-up of one sex, together with its distinctive organs, was no secret to the other. There, no play of equivocal words could arise. Nature was Nature. The one sex rejoiced at the beauty of the other. Mankind will have to return to Nature and to the natural intercourse of the sexes; it must cast off the now-ruling and unhealthy spiritual notions concerning man; it must do that by setting up methods of education that fit in with our own state of culture, and that may bring on the physical and mental regeneration of the race.

Among us, and especially on the subject of female education, seriously erroneous conceptions are still prevalent. That woman also should have strength, courage and resolution, is considered heretical, "unwomanly," although none would dare deny that, equipped with such qualities, woman could protect herself against many ills and inconveniences. Conversely, woman is cramped in her physical, exactly as in her intellectual development. The irrationalness of her dress plays an important role herein. It not only, unconscionably hampers her in her physique, it directly ruins her;—and yet, but few physicians dare take a stand against the abuse, accurately informed though they are on the injuriousness of her dress. The fear of displeasing the patient often causes them to hold their tongues, if they do not even flatter her insane notions. Modern dress hinders woman in the free use of her limbs, it injures her physical growth, and awakens in her a sense of impotence and weakness. Moreover, modern dress is a positive danger to her own and the health of those who surround her: in the house and on the street, woman is a walking raiser of dust. And likewise is the development of woman hampered by the strict separation of the sexes, both in social intercourse and at school—a method of education wholly in keeping with the spiritual ideas that Christianity has deeply implanted in us on all matters that regard the nature of man.

The woman who does not reach the development of her faculties, who is crippled in her powers, who is held imprisoned in the narrowest circle of thought, and who comes into contact with hardly any but her own female relatives,—such a woman can not possibly raise herself above the routine of daily life and habits. Her intellectual horizon revolves only around the happenings in her own immediate surroundings, family affairs and what thereby hangs. Extensive conversations on utter trifles, the bent for gossip, are promoted with all might; of course her latent intellectual qualities strain after activity and exercise;—whereupon the husband, often involved thereby in trouble, and driven to desperation, utters imprecations upon qualities that he, the "chief of creation," has mainly upon his own conscience.

With woman—whose face all our social and sexual relations turn toward marriage with every fibre of her being—marriage and matrimonial matters constitute, quite naturally, a leading portion of her conversation and aspirations. Moreover, to the physically weaker woman, subjected as she is to man by custom and laws, the tongue is her principal weapon against him, and, as a matter of course, she makes use thereof. Similarly with regard to her severely censured passion for dress and desire to please, which reach their frightful acme in the insanities of fashion, and often throw fathers and husbands into great straits and embarrassments. The explanation lies at hand. To man, woman is, first of all, an object of enjoyment. Economically and socially unfree, she is bound to see in marriage her means of support; accordingly, she depends upon man and becomes a piece of property to him. As a rule, her position is rendered still more unfavorable through the general excess of women over men,—a subject that will be treated more closely. The disparity intensifies the competition of women among themselves; and it is sharpened still more because, for a great variety of reasons, a number of men do not marry at all. Woman is, accordingly, forced to enter into competition for a husband with the members of her own sex, by means of the most favorable external presentation of her person possible.

Let the long duration, through many generations, of these evils be taken into account. The wonder will cease that these manifestations, sprung from equally lasting causes, have reached their present extreme form. Furthermore, perhaps in no age was the competition of women for husbands as sharp as it is in this, due partly to reasons already given, and partly to others yet to be discussed. Finally, the difficulties of obtaining a competent livelihood, as well as the demands made by society, combine, more than ever before, to turn woman's face towards matrimony as an "institute for support."

Men gladly accept such a state of things: they are its beneficiaries. It flatters their pride, their vanity, their interest to play the role of the stronger and the master; and, like all other rulers, they are, in their role of masters, difficult to reach by reason. It is, therefore, all the more in the interest of woman to warm towards the establishment of conditions that shall free her from so unworthy a position. Women should expect as little help from the men as workingmen do from the capitalist class.

Observe the characteristics, developed in the struggle for the coveted place, on other fields, on the industrial field, for instance, so soon as the capitalists face each other. What despicable, even scampish, means of warfare are not resorted to! What hatred, envy and passion for calumny are not awakened!—observe that, and the explanation stands out why similar features turn up in the competition of women for a husband. Hence it happens that women, on the average, do not get along among themselves as well as men; that even the best female friends lightly fall out, if the question is their standing in a man's eye, or pleasingness of appearance. Hence also the observation that wherever women meet, be they ever such utter strangers, they usually look at one another as enemies. With one look they make the mutual discovery of ill-matched colors, or wrongly-pinned bows, or any other similar cardinal sin. In the look that they greet each other with, the judgment can be readily read that each has passed upon the other. It is as if each wished to inform the other: "I know better than you how to dress, and draw attention upon myself."

On the other hand, woman is by nature more impulsive than man; she reflects less than he; she has more abnegation, is naiver, and hence is governed by stronger passions, as revealed by the truly heroic self-sacrifice with which she protects her child, or cares for relatives, and nurses them in sickness. In the fury, however, this passionateness finds its ugly expression. But the good as well as the bad sides, with man as well as woman, are influenced, first of all, by their social position; favored, or checked, or transfigured. The same impulse, that, under unfavorable circumstances, appears as a blemish, is, under favorable circumstances, a source of happiness for oneself and others. Fourier has the credit of having brilliantly demonstrated how the identical impulses of man produce, under different conditions, wholly opposite results.

Running parallel with the effects of mistaken education, are the no less serious effects of mistaken or imperfect physical culture upon the purpose of Nature. All physicians are agreed that the preparation of woman for her calling as mother and rearer of children leaves almost everything to be wished. "Man exercises the soldier in the use of his weapons, and the artisan in the handling of his tools; every office requires special studies; even the monk has his novitiate. Woman alone is not trained for her serious duties of mother."[87] Nine-tenths of the maidens who marry enter matrimony with almost utter ignorance about motherhood and the duties of wedlock. The inexcusable shyness, even on the part of mothers, to speak with a grown-up daughter of such important sexual duties, leaves the latter in the greatest darkness touching her duties towards herself and her future husband. With her entrance upon married life, woman enters a territory that is wholly strange to her. She has drawn to herself a fancy-picture thereof—generally from novels that are not particularly to be commended—that does not accord with reality.[88] Her defective household knowledge, that, as things are to-day, is inevitable, even though many a function, formerly naturally belonging to the wife, has been removed from her, also furnishes many a cause for friction. Some know nothing whatever of household matters: They consider themselves too good to bother about them, and look upon them as matters that concern the servant girl; numerous others, from the ranks of the masses, are prevented, by the struggle for existence, from cultivating themselves for their calling as householders: they must be in the factory and at work early and late. It is becoming evident that, due to the development of social conditions, the separate household system is losing ground every day; and that it can be kept up only at the sacrifice of money and time, neither of which the great majority is able to expend.

Yet another cause that destroys the object of marriage to not a few men is to be found in the physical debility of many women. Our food, housing, methods of work and support, in short, our whole form of life, affects us in more ways than one rather harmfully than otherwise. We can speak with perfect right of a "nervous age." Now, then, this nervousness goes hand in hand with physical degeneration. Anaemia and nervousness are spread to an enormous degree among the female sex: They are assuming the aspect of a social calamity, that, if it continue a few generations longer, as at present, and we fail to place our social organization on a normal footing, is urging the race towards its destruction.[89]

With an eye to its sexual mission, the female organism requires particular care,—good food, and, at certain periods, the requisite rest. Both of these are lacking to the great majority of the female sex, at least in the cities and industrial neighborhoods, nor are they to be had under modern industrial conditions. Moreover, woman has so habituated herself to privation that, for instance, numberless women hold it a conjugal duty to keep the tid-bits for the man, and satisfy themselves with insufficient nourishment. Likewise are boys frequently given the preference over girls in matters of food. The opinion is general that woman can accommodate herself, not with less food only, but also with food of poorer quality. Hence the sad picture that our female youth, in particular, presents to the eyes of the expert. A large portion of our young women are bodily weak, anaemic, hypernervous. The consequences are difficulties in menstruation, and disease of the organs connected with the sexual purpose, the disease often assuming the magnitude of incapacity to give birth and to nurse the child, even of danger to life itself. "Should this degeneration of our women continue to increase in the same measure as before, the time may not be far away when it will become doubtful whether man is to be counted among the mammals or not."[90] Instead of a healthy, joyful companion, of a capable mother, of a wife attentive to her household duties, the husband has on his hands a sick, nervous wife, whose house the physician never quits, who can stand no draught, and can not bear the least noise. We shall not expatiate further on this subject. Every reader—and as often as in this book we speak of "reader," we mean, of course, the female as well as the male—can himself further fill the picture: he has illustrations enough among his own relatives and acquaintances.

Experienced physicians maintain that the larger part of married women, in the cities especially, are in a more or less abnormal condition. According to the degree of the evil and the character of the couple, such unions can not choose but be unhappy, and, they give the husband the right, in public opinion, to allow himself freedoms outside of the marriage bed, the knowledge of which throws the wife into the most wretched of moods. Furthermore the, at times, very different sexual demands of one party or the other give occasion to serious friction, without the so much wished-for separation being possible. A great variety of considerations render that, in most cases, out of all question.

Under this head the fact may not be suppressed that a considerable number of husbands are themselves responsible for certain serious physical ailments of their wives, ailments that these are not infrequently smitten with in marriage. As consequences of the excesses indulged in during bachelorship, a considerable number of men suffer of chronic sexual diseases, which, seeing these cause them no serious inconvenience, are taken lightly. Nevertheless, through sexual intercourse with the wife, these diseases bring upon her disagreeable, even fatal troubles of the womb, that set in, soon after marriage, and often develop to the point of rendering her unable to conceive or to give birth. The wretched woman usually has no idea of the cause of the sickness, that depresses her spirits, embitters her life, and uproots the purpose of marriage. She blames herself, and accepts blame for a condition, that the other party is alone responsible for. Thus many a blooming wife falls, barely married, a prey to chronic malady, unaccountable to either herself or her family.

"As recent investigations have proved, this circumstance—that, as a result of gonorrhea, the male sperm no longer contains any seed-cells, and the man is, consequently, incapacitated for life from begetting children—is a comparatively frequent cause of matrimonial barrenness, in contradiction to the old and convenient tradition of the lords of creation, who are ever ready to shift to the shoulder of the wife the responsibility for the absence of the blessing of children."[91]

Accordingly, a large number of causes are operative in preventing modern married life, in the large majority of instances, from being that which it should be:—a union of two beings of opposite sexes, who, out of mutual love and esteem, wish to belong to each other, and, in the striking sentence of Kant, mean, jointly, to constitute the complete human being. It is, therefore, a suggestion of doubtful value—made even by learned folks, who imagine thereby to dispose of woman's endeavors after emancipation—that she look to domestic duties, to marriage,—to marriage, that our economic conditions are ever turning into a viler caricature, and that answers its purpose ever less!

The advice to woman that she seek her salvation in marriage, this being her real calling,—an advice that is thoughtlessly applauded by the majority of men—sounds like the merest mockery, when both the advisers and their claqueurs do the opposite. Schopenhauer, the philosopher, has of woman only the conception of the philistine. He says: "Woman is not meant for much work. Her characteristicon is not action but suffering. She pays the debt of life with the pains of travail, anxiety for the child, subjection to man. The strongest utterances of life and sentiment are denied her. Her life is meant to be quieter and less important than man's. Woman is destined for nurse and educator of infancy, being herself infant-like, and an infant for life, a sort of intermediate stage between the child and the man, who is the real being.... Girls should be trained for domesticity and subjection.... Women are the most thorough-paced and incurable Philistines."

In the same spirit as Schopenhauer, who, of course, is greatly quoted, is cast Lombroso and Ferrerro's work, "Woman as a Criminal and a Prostitute." We know no scientific work of equal size—it contains 590 pages—with such a dearth of valid evidence on the theme therein treated. The statistical matter, from which the bold conclusions are drawn, is mostly meager. Often a dozen instances suffice the joint authors to draw the weightiest deductions. The matter that may be considered the most valuable in the work is, typically enough, furnished by a woman,—Dr. Tarnowskaja. The influence of social conditions, of cultural development, is left almost wholly on one side. Everything is judged exclusively from the physiologico-psychologic view-point, while a large quantity of ethnographic items of information on various peoples is woven into the argument, without submitting these items to closer scrutiny. According to the authors, just as with Schopenhauer, woman is a grown child, a liar par excellence, weak of judgment, fickle in love, incapable of any deed truly heroic. They claim the inferiority of woman to man is manifest from a large number of bodily differences. "Love, with woman, is as a rule nothing but a secondary feature of maternity,—all the feelings of attachment that bind woman to man arise, not from sexual impulses, but from the instincts of subjection and resignation, acquired through habits of conformancy." How these "instincts" were acquired and "conformed" themselves, the joint authors fail to inquire into. They would then have had to inquire into the social position of woman in the course of thousands of years, and would have been compelled to find that it is that that made her what she now is. It is true, the joint authors describe partly the enslaved and dependent position of woman among the several peoples and under the several periods of civilization; but as Darwinians, with blinkers to their eyes, they draw all that from physiologic and psychologic, not from social and economic reasons, which affected in strongest manner the physiologic and psychologic development of woman.

The joint authors also touch upon the vanity of woman, and set up the opinion that, among the peoples who stand on a lower stage of civilization, man is the vain sex, as is noticeable to-day in the New Hebrides and Madagascar, among the peoples of the Orinoco, and on many islands of the Polynesian archipelago, as also among a number of African peoples of the South Sea. With peoples standing on a higher plane, however, woman is the vain sex. But why and wherefor? To us the answer seems plain. Among the peoples of a lower civilization, mother-right conditions prevail generally, or have not yet been long overcome. The role that woman there plays raises her above the necessity of seeking for the man, the man seeks her, and to this end, ornaments himself and grows vain. With the people of a higher grade, especially with all the nations of civilization, excepting here and there, not the man seeks the woman, but the woman him. It happens rarely that a woman openly takes the initiative, and offers herself to the man; so-called propriety forbids that. In point of fact, however, the offering is done by the manner of her appearance; by means of the beauty of dress and luxury, that she displays; by the manner in which she ornaments herself, and presents herself, and coquets in society. The excess of women, together with the social necessity of looking upon matrimony as an institute for support, or as an institution through which alone she can satisfy her sexual impulse and gain a standing in society, forces such conduct upon her. Here also, we notice again, it is purely economic and social causes that call forth, one time with man, another with woman, a quality that, until now, it was customary to look upon as wholly independent of social and economic causes. Hence the conclusion is justified, that so soon as society shall arrive at social conditions, under which all dependence of one sex upon another shall have ceased, and both are equally free, ridiculous vanity and the folly of fashion will vanish, just as so many other vices that we consider to-day uneradicable, as supposedly inherent in man. Schopenhauer, as a philosopher, judges woman as one-sidedly as most of our anthropologists and physicians, who see in her only the sexual, never the social, being. Schopenhauer was never married. He, accordingly, has not, on his part, contributed towards having one more woman pay the "debt of life" that he debits woman with. And this brings us to the other side of the medal, which is far from being the handsomer.

Many women do not marry, simply because they cannot. Everybody knows that usage forbids woman to offer herself. She must allow herself to be wooed, i. e., chosen. She herself may not woo. Is there no wooer to be had, then she enters the large army of those poor beings who have missed the purpose of life, and, in view of the lack of safe material foundation, generally fall a prey to want and misery, and but too often to ridicule also. But few know what the discrepancy in numbers between the two sexes is due to; many are ready with the hasty answer: "There are too many girls born." Those who make the claim are wrongly informed, as will be shown. Others, again, who admit the unnaturalness of celibacy, conclude from the fact that women are more numerous than men in most countries of civilization, that polygamy should be allowed. But not only does polygamy do violence to our customs, it, moreover, degrades woman, a circumstance that, of course, does not restrain Schopenhauer, with his underestimation of and contempt for women, from declaring: "For the female sex, as a whole, polygamy is a benefit."

Many men do not marry because they think they cannot support a wife, and the children that may come, according to their station. To support two wives is, however, possible to a small minority only, and among these are many who now have two or more wives,—one legitimate and several illegitimate. These few, privileged by wealth, are not held back by anything from doing what they please. Even in the Orient, where polygamy exists for thousands of years by law and custom, comparatively few men have more than one wife. People talk of the demoralizing influence of Turkish harem life; but the fact is overlooked that this harem life is possible only to an insignificant fraction of the men, and then only in the ruling class, while the majority of the men live in monogamy. In the city of Algiers, there were, at the close of the sixties, out of 18,282 marriages, not less than 17,319 with one wife only; 888 were with two; and only 75 with more than two. Constantinople, the capital of the Turkish Empire, would show no materially different result. Among the country population in the Orient, the proportion is still more pronouncedly in favor of single marriages. In the Orient, exactly as with us, the most important factor in the calculation are the material conditions, and these compel most men to limit themselves to but one wife. If, on the other hand, material conditions were equally favorable to all men, polygamy would still not be practicable,—for want of women. The almost equal number of the two sexes, prevalent under normal conditions, points everywhere to monogamy.

As proof of these statements, we cite the following tables, that Buecher published in an essay.[92]

In these tables the distinction must be kept in mind between the enumerated and the estimated populations. In so far as the population was enumerated, the fact is expressly stated in the summary for the separate main divisions of the earth. The sexes divide themselves in the population of several divisions and countries as follows:


Females for Every Census 1,000 Countries. Year. Males. Females. Population. Men. Great Britain and Ireland 1891 18,388,756 19,499,397 37,888,153 1,060 Denmark and Faror 1890 1,065,447 1,119,712 2,185,159 1,052 Norway 1891 951,496 1,037,501 1,988,997 1,090 Sweden 1890 2,317,105 2,467,570 4,784,675 1,065 Finland 1889 1,152,111 1,186,293 2,338,404 1,030 Russia 1886 42,499,324 42,895,885 85,395,209 1,009 Poland 1886 3,977,406 4,279,156 8,256,562 1,076 German Empire 1890 24,231,832 25,189,232 49,421,064 1,039 Austria 1880 10,819,737 11,324,507 22,144,244 1,047 Hungary 1880 7,799,276 7,939,192 15,738,468 1,019 Liechtenstein 1886 4,897 4,696 9,593 959 Luxemburg 1890 105,419 105,669 211,088 1,002 Holland 1889 2,228,487 2,282,925 4,511,415 1,024 Belgium 1890 3,062,656 3,084,385 6,147,041 1,007 Switzerland 1888 1,427,377 1,506,680 2,934,057 1,055 France 1886 18,900,312 19,030,447 37,930,759 1,007 Spain and the Canary Islands 1887 8,608,532 8,950,776 17,559,308 1,039 Gibraltar (Civil population) 1890 9,201 9,326 18,527 1,013 Portugal 1878 2,175,829 2,374,870 4,550,699 1,091 Italy 1881 14,265,383 14,194,245 28,459,628 995 Bosnia and Herzegovina 1885 705,025 631,066 1,336,091 895 Servia 1890 1,110,731 1,052,028 2,162,759 947 Bulgaria 1881 1,519,953 1,462,996 2,982,949 962 Roumania 1860 2,276,558 2,148,403 4,424,961 944 Greece 1889 1,133,625 1,053,583 2,187,208 929 Malta 1890 82,086 83,576 165,662 1,018 —————- —————- —————- ——- Total 170,818,561 174,914,119 345,732,680 1,024

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