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Table of contents
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.1
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.2
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.3
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.4
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.5
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.6
FOOTNOTES
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.1
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.2
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.3
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.4
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.5
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.6
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.7
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.8
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.9
MARRIAGE-10.1
MARRIAGE-10.2
MARRIAGE-10.3
MARRIAGE-10.4
MARRIAGE-10.5
MARRIAGE-10.6
MARRIAGE-10.7
MARRIAGE-10.8
MARRIAGE-10.9
MARRIAGE-10.10
MARRIAGE-10.11
MARRIAGE-10.12
FOOTNOTES
THE ART OF LOVE-11.1
THE ART OF LOVE-11.2
THE ART OF LOVE-11.3
THE ART OF LOVE-11.4
THE ART OF LOVE-11.5
THE ART OF LOVE-11.6
THE ART OF LOVE-11.7
THE ART OF LOVE-11.8
THE ART OF LOVE-11.9
THE ART OF LOVE-11.10
THE ART OF LOVE-11.11
FOOTNOTES
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.1
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.2
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.3
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.4
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.5
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.6
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.7
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.8
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.9
FOOTNOTES
INDEX OF AUTHORS

duty; and the results of such coercive institutions do not at all 

correspond to the intentions in which they originate." 

 

A long succession of distinguished thinkers--moralists, 

sociologists, political reformers--have maintained the social 

advantages of divorce by mutual consent, or, under guarded 

circumstances, at the wish of one party. Mutual consent was the 

corner-stone of Milton's conception of marriage. Montesquieu said 

that true divorce must be the result of mutual consent and based 

on the impossibility of living together. Senancour seems to agree 

with Montesquieu. Lord Morley (_Diderot_, vol. ii, Ch. I), 

echoing and approving the conclusions of Diderot's _Supplement au 

Voyage de Bougainville_ (1772), adds that the separation of 

husband and wife is "a transaction in itself perfectly natural 

and blameless, and often not only laudable, but a duty." Bloch 

(_Sexual Life of Our Time_, p. 240), with many other writers, 

emphasizes the truth of Shelley's saying, that the freedom of 

marriage is the guarantee of its durability. (That the facts of 

life point in the same direction has been shown in the previous 

chapter.) The learned Caspari (_Die Soziale Frage ueber die 

Freiheit der Ehe_), while disclaiming any prevision of the 

future, declares that if sexual relationships are to remain or to 

become moral, there must be an easier dissolution of marriage. 

Howard, at the conclusion of his exhaustive history of 

matrimonial institutions (vol. iii p. 220), though he himself 

believes that marriage is peculiarly in need of regulation by 

law, is yet constrained to admit that it is perfectly clear to 

the student of history that the modern divorce movement is "but a 

part of the mighty movement for social liberation which has been 

gaining in volume and strength since the Reformation." Similarly 

the cautious and judicial Westermarck concludes the chapter on 

marriage of his _Origin and Development of the Moral Ideas_ (vol. 

ii, p. 398) with the statement that "when both husband and wife 

desire to separate, it seems to many enlightened minds that the 

State has no right to prevent them from dissolving the marriage 

contract, provided the children are properly cared for; and that, 

for the children, also, it is better to have the supervision of 

one parent only than of two who cannot agree." 

 

 

 

 

In France the leaders of the movement of social reform seem to be 

almost, or quite, unanimous in believing that the next step in 

regard to divorce is the establishment of divorce by mutual 

consent. This was, for instance, the result reached in a 

symposium to which thirty-one distinguished men and women 

contributed. All were in favor of divorce by mutual consent; the 

only exception was Madame Adam, who said she had reached a state 

of skepticism with regard to political and social forms, but 

admitted that for nearly half a century she had been a strong 

advocate of divorce. A large number of the contributors were in 

favor of divorce at the desire of one party only (_La Revue_, 

March 1, 1901). In other countries, also, there is a growing 

recognition that this solution of the question, with due 

precautions to avoid any abuses to which it might otherwise be 

liable, is the proper and inevitable solution. 

 


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