In 1869, a Christian philanthropist named James Campbell published a book titled The History and Philosophy of Marriage: Polygamy and Monogamy Compared. Filled with incredible wisdom and thought into natural law as well as Scripture regarding the societal effects of monogamy and polygamy. (Technically, the author always refers to polygyny, but uses the umbrella term polygamy.)
This is a highly recommended book that I have found republished beautifully by Partiarch Publishing House as well as a less readable or visually appealing version of photographs of the original edited by Don Milton.
Instead of reviewing and recapping the book, I would simply like to share a few of the many terrific quotes. All citations use page numbering from the Don Milton version.
Love was not made for marriage, but marriage for love. Love is an inherent and necessary attribute of humanity; marriage a subsequent relationship instituted to minister love’s wants. Love is the mistress, marriage the handmaid. Marriage must wait the demands of love, and not love the demands of marriage. It is, therefore, equally disrespectful to our Creator, and dishonorable to man, to require that love should be suppressed because marriage is inconvenient, and still more dishonorable and disrespectful to require anyone to be deprived of the rights of love on account of the impossibility of marriage; for marriage ought to be possible to all. If love be refining and ennobling, if it be the spontaneous, instinctive birthright of all, and if our Creator has restricted its indulgence to the marriage relation, then marriage must be the right of all, or else God is not a benevolent being. But all nature and all revelation have demonstrated that He is a benevolent being, and it is both impious and absurd to believe that His laws have made no adequate provision for every one to be married to who wishes to be. We may waive our rights, and live in celibacy, if we prefer to; but no one who loves and who wishes to marry ought to be compelled to remain unmarried.
It is, therefore, demonstrated that any form of society which fails to provide for the marriage of all is a defective system, and opposed to the natural, inherent, and inalienable rights of man.Chapter III
Within his work, Mr. Campbell has statistical information from censuses in Massachusetts during the 1860s. As with all times and epochs, the marriageable women outnumbered the marriageable men, only in the wake of the War Between the States, the ratio was wildly out of balance.
But under the system of monogamy it is impossible for half the women to live in the enjoyment of the married state. This cruel and oppressive system is compelling them either to repress the fondest sensibilities and the most imperative demands of Nature, and to renounce their dearest rights, or else to assert them in a clandestine and forbidden manner, and thus to abandon themselves to a life of infamy and an eternity of shame and woe.Chapter III
An idolatrous nation practising monogamy has never been able long to exist. History does not furnish one example. Such nations soon become incurably corrupt as to incur the wrath of God, and are swept from the face of the earth….
…On the other hand, the polygamist of Asia have preserved their social purity, and along with it many of their nationalities, through every age, notwithstanding their idolatry and Mohammedanism. Such are the nations of China, Japan, Persia, and Arabia, whose living languages and existing laws date back to the very earliest records of antiquity. An intelligent Christian nation practising polygamy has never yet existed, simply because the two institutions have hitherto been falsely deemed incompatible and irreconcilable.Chapter IV
As soon as mankind were multiplied upon the earth, it was discovered that the number of the women exceeded that of the men; and also that the amorous passions of the men were stronger than those of the women. Polygamy brings both these inequalities together, and allows them to correct each other. It furnishes every woman who wishes to marry, a husband and a home; and gives every man an opportunity of expending his superabundant vitality in an honest way.Chapter IV
Christ Himself was altogether silent in respect to polygamy, not once alluding to it; yet it was practised at the time of His advent throughout Judea and Galilee, and in all the other countriesof Asia and Africa, and, without doubt, by some of His own disciples.Chapter IV
Monogamy is the Dissolute Daughter of Paganism and Romanism
I have demonstrated that monogamy is not commanded in the Bible, and that it is not the doctrine of Christianity. I shall now account for its origin, by proving that it is the joint offspring of paganism and Romanism. The social system of European monogamy is proved to be derived from the ancient Greeks and Romans (especially form the latter), by the early histories of the nations of Europe, and by an uninterrupted descent of traditional customs from them to our own times. It is one of those pagan abominations which we have inherited, which the Roman Church has sanctioned and confirmed, and from which we find it so difficult to emancipate ourselves.Chapter V
The Bible forbids prostitution, but permits polygamy. The ancient Greeks and Romans forbade polygamy, but permitted prostitution. Modern monogamy pretends to forbid both, but really permits prostitution also. Our monogamous morality is, therefore, that of ancient paganism, and not that of the Bible; and prostitution is as much a necessary part of our social system as it was of that at Athens, at Corinth, and or Rome. Our magistrates are not ignorant of the extent of public licentiousness; but they do not attempt to suppress it….Chapter VII
Let us have either an honest monogamy or an avowed polygamy. Hence it is that I am called by the justice of God and the sufferings of humanity to appeal to every honorable sentiment in mankind in behalf of a greater freedom to marry and a greater purity of the marriage relation. Let us have such marriage laws, that whatever relations any honorable man shall determine to form with the opposite sex can be honorably formed and honorably maintained.Chapter VII
The more rich and luxurious monogamous society becomes, the more abandoned women there will be, and the fewer marriages and the more crime. But let the system of polygamy be adopted, and then all the women will be wanted for wives; and, as they can obtain husbands and homes of their own, but few will prefer to follow a loose and vicious course of life. And then the men, being deprived of the opportunity of illicit indulgence, will be compelled to marry; and their marriages will refine and humanize them, and preserve them from the many vices and immoralities to which they are now addicted.Chapter VIII
Many, many more excellent quotes. The author has well thought through the social and moral ills that are advanced as a result of a monogamy-only system. I highly recommend adding this book to your library!!