In this book I intend to develop a unified system analysis of the classpatriarchy relationship. I shall analyse class and patriarchy as part of a single historical process. I shall begin with what I believe was Marx’s perception of social reality. For Marx, social reality was a complex network of internal relations, single elements which are only what they are by virtue of their relationship to other elements.1 For example, neither wage labour nor capital can be defined without reference to each other. The existence of a class of wage labourers can only be understood by reference to a class of capitalists; the social categories of wage labour and capital actually imply each other. It will be my argument that the class-patriarchy relationship for the period of English history covered in this study was of this kind: that the social relationships of class and patriarchy contained each other; that neither would have taken the form it did without the other; that it is impossible to understand class or patriarchy during this period as independent, atomistic entities related only contingently; that class and patriarchy were integral parts of a single historical process. Once this is grasped, it should become clear that questions about primacy and autonomy-questions which have dogged the structural debate about class and patriarchy-are in fact misplaced. An internal relations perspective is very different from ‘traditional historical materialism’—a version of Marxism which has been adopted by many since the Second International.2 In my view, this version of historical materialism-already widely confuted on various other grounds-also fails when Marxism’s potential to become a gendered system of analysis is recognised. It is a version which rests on a specific reading (a misreading, I would argue) of the 1859 ‘Preface to a Critique of Political Economy.’