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 was born in 1820. In 1842 Engels went to Manchester to represent the family firm. Relationships there inspired the famous The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844. Collaboration with Marx began in 1844 and in 1847 he composed the first drafts of the Manifesto. After Marx's death, he prepared the unfinished volumes of Capital for publication. He died in 1895. Dr Tristram Hunt is one of Britain's best known young historians. Educated at Cambridge and Chicago Universities, he is lecturer in British history at Queen Mary, University of London and author of several books. A leading historical broadcaster, he has authored numerous series for the BBC and Channel 4. A regular contributor to The Times, The Guardian and The Observer, he is a Trustee of the National Heritage Memorial Fund and Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.