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Additional resources for Daily Life through World History in Primary Documents: Volume 3, The Modern World
Religion, law, and custom impose upon men many duties to be discharged towards their wives. An honest man must discharge these duties, and indeed it is very difficult to find many men who are able to fulfill their obligations as husbands towards more than one wife. It has been proved that in many parts of the Ottoman empire the number of women does not exceed that of men, a fact which alone is enough to show the absurdity of the notion prevailing in England about the plurality of wives in that country.
When an Englishman uses the word harem, he means thereby the numerous wives whom a man in our part of the East is supposed to shut up in his house. He, moreover, believes that every man in the Mohammedan East may marry as many women as he pleases. This idea is not only mistaken, but grotesque. There are thousands of men who would consider themselves fortunate if they could marry even a single woman; while, on the other hand, there are thousands who would be happy to get rid of the single wife they have.
Not including wood, cobblestone, brick, or macadam—none of which were well suited to automobiles—there were only 10 miles of paved roads in the United States in 1900, but by the end of the century, there were nearly 6 million miles of paved roadways. Cars, trucks, buses, and other vehicles have become the main means of personal transportation. At the same time, this development has been dramatically uneven. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, for example, a central African country roughly the size of Western Europe, there are fewer than 1,500 miles of paved roads.