The present volume completes the story of woman as told in the series of which it forms part. The history of nations is, in its ultimate analysis, largely that of woman. Therefore this series in its wide inclusiveness forms a more than ordinarily interesting history. The present study of the women of America is innocent of theorizing or philosophy and from the nature of the subject the narrative takes the reader into paths generally unfamiliar in historic studies.
by adoption, of strangers into the gens, in such cases the tribal conscience was satisfied with the fiction that such adoption left undisturbed the relation of the gens as consanguineous. An indeterminate number of these gentes, whose members dwelt together and were under common obligation to assist one another, composed the tribe. There were also "phratries," or religious brotherhoods, composed of smaller groups of the gentes; but these need not here be considered. The gens was autonomic, at least to all practical ends; it selected its own chieftain and decided all matters relating to questions of property or blood-vengeance when these concerned its own members. Each gens was represented in the council of the tribe, which council selected the tribal chief. Members of one gens could not intermarry; and, most important of all to our present purpose, it was by the female line that descent was traced and that property descended. Such is a brief sketch of the American tribal organization.
This, however, wa
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