Book Notes Of Their Slaves, And of Their Marriages Notes from Utopia

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Utopia Of Their Slaves, And of Their Marriages

Prisoners of war are not turned into slaves, unless they were fighting in the battle in which they were caught. People who commit crimes and are thus condemned to serve the state for life are also slaves, as are the poor of the neighbors. The last type, however, are treated better than the rest, and may leave whenever they wish to do so. Furthermore, the Utopians do not let them leave empty-handed.

As mentioned, the sick are taken care of very well, and there is nothing that could be done for them that is not done. People visit them and constantly try to put them at ease and make their lives as comfortable as possible. For those that are suffering from a terminal illness, a voluntary death is an option; however, this must be done with the consent of a priest and the senate or else the person is thrown in a ditch as opposed having a proper funeral.

Women are not allowed to be married before they are eighteen, and men are not allowed to be married before they are twenty-two. People are punished if they are caught 'embracing' before they are married, part of the punishment being denial of the privilege to ever marry.

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Behaviors like this ruin the family reputation, and are considered the fault of the parents of the family. Men and women see each other naked before getting married in order to determine if there is something they cannot live with about the other person's body. This is considered a better solution than having to live with something you despise. Polygamy and divorce are not allowed, except for divorce in the case of a spouse's adultery or "insufferable perverseness." Slaves/Marriage, pg. 59

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When divorced, the injured person is granted leave to marry again, but the guilty person is not. Furthermore, the adulterer and adulteress are then slaves. Should the injured person still love the guilty party, they may choose to live with them, but have to follow them to work every day. Occasionally, the Prince will forgive the guilty party and have them return to their loved one. However, should they be caught sinning again, they are condemned to death.

Slavery is considered a worse punishment than death, since a person will be serving the state for the rest of his or her life. It is also more beneficial to the state, as a person's death can do the state no good, whereas their labor is very useful. If the slaves rebel, they are put to death; if they are patient and show signs of better character, they are set free. Tempting someone into adultery is considered as bad a crime as adultery itself.

Just as crimes are severely punished, statues of virtuous men, set in marketplaces, publicly honor good deeds. The people love those that run for office, and call them 'fathers'. The Prince is recognized only by a sheath of corn carried before him, as the high priest is recognized by a wax light carried before him. Nothing else distinguishes these people from the public.

The Utopians have few laws, and people defend themselves in court. They have no lawyers, as an occupation in law means people are professionals at disguising the truth. Furthermore, this is said to waste time. Their law is summarized as follows:

"All laws are promulgated for this end, that every man may know his duty; and therefore the plainest and most obvious sense of the words is that which ought to be put upon them." Slaves/Marriage, pg. 62

The Utopians helped some of their neighbors get rid of their tyrants, and the neighbors, seeing what great ruling Utopia had, asked the Prince if they could have magistrates rule over their own countries.

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The Prince agreed, and the magistrates rule over certain countries for a number of years. This appears to be the best system of government for the other countries because the magistrate is unbiased and not interested in wealth. As for countries for which Utopia provides more particular services, those countries are called 'friends.' Utopians do not believe in treaties because the think that "if the common ties of humanity do not knit men together, the faith of promises will have no great effect." Slaves/Marriage, pg. 63 This concept is proven true by their neighbors, who make and break treaties without a second thought. The reason the Utopians do not believe in treaties is their philosophy that:

"No man is to be esteemed our enemy that has never injured us; and that the partnership of the human nature is instead of a league. And that kindness and good-nature unite men more effectually and with greater strength than any agreements whatsoever; since thereby the engagements of men's hearts become stronger than the bond and obligation of words." Slaves/Marriage, pg. 64

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