Karl Marx, A Summary Of His Life

5480 words - 22 pages

Karl MarxKarl Marx was born into a progressive Jewish family in Prussian Trier (now in Germany). His father Herschel, descending from a long line of rabbis, was a lawyer and his brother Samuel was--like many of his ancestors--chief rabbi of Trier. The family name was originally "Marx Levi", which derives from the old Jewish surname Mardochai. In 1817 Heinrich Marx converted to the Prussian state religion of Lutheranism to keep his position as a lawyer, which he had gained under the Napoleonic regime. The Marx family was very liberal and the Marx household hosted many visiting intellectuals and artists during Karl's early life.EducationMarx received good marks in gymnasium, the Prussian ...view middle of the document...

Nevertheless Stirner's book was the main reason Marx abandoned the Feuerbachian view and developed the basic concept of historical materialism.Georg Hegel had recently died in 1831, and during his lifetime was an extremely influential figure at Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität and in German academia in general. The Hegelian establishment (known as the Right Hegelians) in place at Friedrich-Wilhelms maintained that the series of historical dialectics had been completed, and that Prussian society as it existed was the culmination of all social development to date, with an extensive civil service system, good universities, industrialization, and high employment. The Young Hegelians with whom Marx was associated believed that there were still further dialectical changes to come, and that the Prussian society of the time was far from perfect as it still contained pockets of poverty, government censorship was in place, and non-Lutherans suffered from religious discrimination.Marx was warned not to submit his doctoral dissertation at the Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität, as it would certainly be poorly received there due to his reputation as a Young Hegelian radical. Marx instead submitted his dissertation, which compared the atomic theories of Democritus and Epicurus, to the University of Jena in 1840, where it was accepted.CareerWhen his mentor Bruno Bauer was dismissed from the philosophy faculty in 1842, Marx abandoned philosophy for journalism and went on to edit the Rheinische Zeitung, a radical Cologne newspaper. After the newspaper was shut in 1843, in part due to Marx's conflicts with government censors, Marx returned to philosophy, turned to political activism, and worked as a freelance journalist. Marx soon moved, however, something he would do often as a result of his radical views.Marx first moved to France, where he re-evaluated his relationship with Bauer and the Young Hegelians, and wrote On the Jewish Question, mostly a critique of current notions of civil rights and political emancipation. It was in Paris that he met and began working with his life-long collaborator Friedrich Engels, who called Marx's attention to the situation of the working class and guided Marx's interest in economics. After he was forced to leave Paris for his writings, he and Engels moved to Brussels, Belgium.An older MarxThere they co-wrote The German Ideology, a critique of the philosophy of Hegel and the Young Hegelians. Marx next wrote The Poverty of Philosophy (1847), a critique of French socialist thought. These works laid the foundation for Marx and Engels' most famous work, The Communist Manifesto, first published on February 21, 1848, which was commissioned by the Communist League (formerly, the League of the Just), an organization of German émigrés whom Marx had met in London.That year Europe experienced revolutionary upheaval; a working-class movement seized power from King Louis Philippe in France and invited Marx to return to...

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