“The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles”.
Communist Manifesto - Karl Marx
A philosopher, political economist, and revolutionary - Karl Marx, often known as the Father of Communism, was all the above mentioned and more. Born on May 5th, 1818, Karl Marx is known for his approach to a wide range of political as well as social issues. He is best known for his spread of Communism and stated that capitalism will be replaced after a revolution and a new emergence of a classless society where the masses would rule. He has penned down some of the greatest works in the history like Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital. Though he remained obscure when he was alive, it was after he died that people sat up and took notice of his philosophies and adapting them.
Childhood and Early Years
Karl Marx was born Karl Heinrich Marx in a Jewish family and was the third of the seven children in his family. His father was a lawyer named Heinrich and his mother was Henrietta. He was born in the Kingdom of Prussia's Province of the Lower Rhine. He was educated at home till the age of 13 after which he graduated from Trier Gymnasium. He then enrolled himself in the University of Bonn when he was 17 years to study law. Though he was interested in studying literature and philosophy, his father wouldn’t let him since he thought it would help his son earn a wage comfortable enough to support himself. He was then sent to Wilhelms-Universitat in Berlin and he earned his doctorate in 1841 with a thesis on ‘Difference between Democritean and Epicurean Philosophy of Nature’.
Profile and Philosophy
In June 1843, Karl Marx married Jenny von Westphalen. In the later half of 1843, Karl Marx came to Paris. Here he met one of the most influential and important persons of his life, Friedrich Engels. They both had met once the year before and now he came to display one of his greatest works, ‘Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844’. Marx wrote a number of essays during this time and they were essentially a critique of the notions of civil and human rights present at that time. He became a devoted communist and penned down his views in ‘Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844’. Along with Engels, Marx moved to Brussels and subsequently penned down one of their most famous works “The Communist Manifesto”.
Karl Marx led a difficult life due to the political exile, when he was asked to move out of Paris. It was due to the constant financial aid provided by Engels that Marx was able to finish “Das Kapital’. In his famous work, ‘Das Kapital’, he presents a critical analysis of capitalism in an economy. His work is based on the foundations of Adam Smith, David Ricardo, John Stuart Mill and even Benjamin Franklin. He basically advocated the principle that the defining feature of capitalism is the alienation of human work. He showed how capitalism eventually paved way for socialism and how the working class would subsequently rise up and create a revolution of sorts to gain control.. His philosophy is regarded as one of the most exhaustive analysis of the workings of an economy and continues to impart knowledge to economists over the world. The great thinker breathed his last on March 14th 1883.