August Bebel 1879/1910

Woman and Socialism

Jubilee 50th Edition

title page

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First edition written and published in German in 1879;
Authorized Translation by Meta L. Stern (Hebe)[1];
Published by Socialist Literature Co., 15 Spruce Street, New York. 1910;
Copyright 1910 by the Socialist Literature Company. New York;
Printed by the Co-operative Press, 15 Spruce St., New York.

Transcribed: for by Andy Blunden;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) 2005.

Woman and Socialism was published in numerous editions in many languages, updated continuously during Bebel’s lifetime, and many of these editions contained only a part of the original work (see for example the version published by Progress Publishers in 1971). This edition is complete, and was produced to mark the 50th Jubilee of the formation of German Workers Clubs in America.

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Chapter I. – The Position of Woman in Primeval Society

1. Chief Epochs of Primeval History
2. Family Forms
3. The Matriarchate

Chapter II. – Conflict Between Matriarchate and Patriarchate

1. Rise of the Patriarchate
2. Traces of the Matriarchate in Greek Myths and Dramas
3. Legitimate Wives and Courtesans in Athens
4. Remnants of the Matriarchate in the Customs of Various Nations
5. Rise of the State – Dissolution of the Gens in Rome

Chapter III. – Christianity

Chapter IV. – Woman in the Mediaeval Age

1. The Position of Woman Among the Germans
2. Feudalism and the Right of the First Night
3. The Rise of Cities – Monastic Affairs – Prostitution
4. Knighthood and the Veneration of Women

Chapter V. – The Reformation

1. Luther
2. Results of the Reformation – The Thirty Years’ War

Chapter VI. – The Eighteenth Century

1. Court Life in Germany
2. Commercialism and the New Marriage Laws
3. The French Revolution and the Rise of Industry


Chapter VII. – Woman as a Sex Being

1. The Sexual Impulse
2. Celibacy and the Frequency of Suicide

Chapter VIII. – Modern Marriage

1. Marriage as a Profession
2. Decline of the Birthrate
3. Mercenary Marriage and the Matrimonial Market

Chapter IX. – Disruption of the Family

1. Increase of Divorce
2. Bourgeois and Proletarian Marriage

Chapter X. – Marriage as a Means of Support

1. Decline of the Marriage Rate
2. Infanticide and Abortion
3. Education for Marriage
4. The Misery of Present Day Marriages

Chapter XI. – The Chances of Matrimony

1. The Numerical Proportion of the Sexes
2. Obstacles to Marriage – The Excess of Women

Chapter XII. – Prostitution a Necessary Social Institution of Bourgeois Society

1. Prostitution and Society
2. Prostitution and the State
3. The White Slave Trade
4. The Increase of Prostitution – Illegitimate Motherhood
5. Crimes Against Morality and Sexual Diseases

Chapter XIII. – Woman in Industry

1. Development and Extension of Female Labor
2. Factory Work of Married Women – Sweatshop Labor and Dangerous Occupations

Chapter XIV. – The Struggle of Woman for Education

1. The Revolution in Domestic Life
2. The Intellectual Abilities of Women
3. Differences in Physical and Mental Qualities of Man and Woman
4. Darwinism and the Condition of Society
5. Woman and the Learned Professions

Chapter XV. – The Legal Status of Women

1. The Struggle for Equality Before the Law
2. The Struggle for Political Equality


Chapter XVI. – The Class-State and the Modern Proletariat

1. Our Public Life
2. Aggravation of Social Extremes

Chapter XVII. – The Process of Concentration in Capitalistic Industry

1. The Displacement of Agriculture by Industry
2. Increasing Pauperization – Preponderance of Large Industrial Establishments
3. Concentration of Wealth

Chapter XVIII. – Crises and Competition

1. Causes and Effects of the Crises
2. Intermediate Trade and the Increased Cost of Living

Chapter XIX. – The Revolution in Agriculture

1. Transatlantic Competition and Desertion of the Country
2. Peasants and Great Landowners
3. The Contrast Between City and Country


Chapter XX. – The Social Revolution

1. The Transformation of Society
2. Expropriation of the Expropriators

Chapter XXI. – Fundamental Laws of Socialistic Society

1. Duty to Work of All Able-bodied Persons
2. Harmony of Interests
3. Organization of Labor
4. The Growth of the Productivity of Labor
5. Removal of the Contrast Between Mental and Manual Work
6. Increase of Consumption
7. Equal Duty to Work for All
8. Abolition of Trade – Transformation of Traffic

Chapter XXII. – Socialism and Agriculture

1. Abolition of the Private Ownership of Land
2. The Amelioration of Land
3. Changed Methods of Farming
4. Agriculture on a Large and Small Scale – Electric Appliances
5. Vine Culture of the Future
6. Measures to Prevent Exhaustion of the Soil
7. Removal of the Contrast Between City and Country

Chapter XXIII. – Abolition of the State

Chapter XXIV.The Future of Religion

Chapter XXV.The Socialist System of Education

Chapter XXVI.Literature and Art its Socialistic Society

Chapter XXVII.Free Development of Individuality

1. Freedom From Care
2. Changes in the Methods of Nutrition
3. The Communistic Kitchen
4. Transformation of Domestic Life

Chapter XXVIII. – Woman in the Future

Chapter XXIX. – Internationality

Chapter XXX. – The Question of Population and Socialism

1. Fear of Overpopulation
2. Production of Overpopulation
3. Poverty and Fecundity
4. Lack of Human Beings and Abundance of Food
5. Social Conditions and Reproductive Ability


Footnote by MIA

1. Throughout the text the translator mixes up the terms “commodities” and “goods” as translations for the word “Waren”. Whereas in everyday speech “Waren” can be translated as “goods”, in Marxist discourse the proper translation is “:commodities” (goods produced for the market). Referring to an earlier translation of Bebel’s book, Eleanor Marx remarked:

Before concluding this short review, I feel it my duty to call attention to the supremely careless manner in which the English translation of Bebel’s book has been printed. Of slight errors as to the meaning of the original, due chiefly to the translator’s want of familiarity with the technical terms of economy, and of certain grammatical errors for which the translator may also be accountable, I do not speak. I refer only to simple mistakes in printing and the use of type. Of these, in a volume of 264 pages, there are no less than 176!

She was, of course, referring primarily to the quality of the printing and editing of that earlier translation, but “the translator’s want of familiarity with the technical terms of economy” seems to have been a problem with later translations as well.