Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Liberal Studies


Helena Rosenblatt

Subject Categories

European History | Family, Life Course, and Society | Intellectual History


Friedrich Engels, John Stuart Mill, History of the Christian Family


This project is concerned with the development of the Christian family in Europe and how its sociological and historical characteristics informed the writings of John Stuart Mill and Friedrich Engels. The term “Christian family” refers to the dominant form of the family seen in Western Europe, namely the atomistic nuclear family. The sociological and ideological foundations of the family are explored to provide context for the writings of John Stuart Mill and Friedrich Engels that utilize the concept of the family for their political projects. Both wrote critically about the state of the family in their lifetimes, particularly in regard to the mistreatment of women. I argue that their respective critiques of the family are informed by their own domestic lives, and that the family is a prominent part of their ideological projects: Mill's Liberalism and Engels' Marxism. Their appeals to science provided legitimacy to their social criticism while also integrating their ideas concerning the family into their larger bodies of work. Their ideas concerning the family are consistent with, and inform, their respective ideological positions.