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The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State (1884), was a provocative and profoundly influential critique of the Victorian nuclear family. Engels argued that the traditional monogamous household was in fact a recent construct, closely bound up with capitalist societies. Under this patriarchal system, women were servants and, effectively, prostitutes. Only Communism would herald the dawn of communal living and a new sexual freedom and, in turn, the role of the state would become superfluous.
Friedrich Engels (1820-1895) was the author of The Condition of the Working Class in England and collaborated with Karl Marx on The Communist Manifesto and Capital.
Tristram Hunt, one of Britain's best-known young historians, is a lecturer in British history at Queen Mary, University of London.