Karl Marx: Historical Investigation

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History 10 Diploma Prep: Historical Investigation - Essay

Karl Marx and his developed theory of Marxism played a vital role in influencing Lenin’s efforts to overthrow the Provisional Government eventually leading to the Russian Revolution of 1917.

“A spectre is haunting Europe - the spectre of Communism.”1, the opening sentence to The Communist Manifesto written by Karl Marx and Frederich Engels. Karl Marx was a German philosopher, journalist and revolutionary socialist whose famous works include The Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital. Historians have largely credited Marx’s works for influencing the key figures that went on to lead the Russian Revolution. The Russian Revolution took place in 1917 and disassembled the Tsarist monarchy, preparing for the creation of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, commonly referred to as the Soviet Union or USSR. Although there were many factors that contributed to the Russian Revolution of 1917, Karl Marx and his developed theory of Marxism played a vital role in influencing Lenin’s efforts to overthrow the Provisional Government eventually leading to the Russian Revolution of 1917.

The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It stretched from Europe to the Pacific Ocean and included people with diverse cultures and traditions.2 Russia was a land of disparity and contradiction by the turn of the 20th century. It was caught in between two worlds: the traditional world of the peasantry and the modern world of the westernized elite.3 As these two world coexisted, their values, culture, and way of life extremely differed. Regardless of the persistence of a rural society and economy, Russia became exposed to profound urban and industrial growth during the second half of the 19th century. 4Many peasants surfed out into the urban cities in search of employment as factory workers, laborers, servants, waiters, and clerks. Toward the end of the century the government embarked on a campaign to promote Russia’s industrialized growth. The tsarist regime requested foreign investment, promoted the development of manufacturing and took exporting grain to pay for the technology needed for industrialization.5 By the 1900’s Russia became a great industrial power.

In 1906 Imperial Russia had a vast population that consisted of mostly peasants. Before 1861 these peasants had been serfs who worked hard labor for large land owners or government-owned land. The serfs lived in very primordial conditions and had few law rights as they were slaves.6 As they started attempting to revolt, Tsar Alexander II, ruling from 1855 to 1881, issued an emancipation proclamation in 1861 which freed the serfs. They were liberated entirely from the rule of the landowners and now owned land themselves. However, the system implemented was not as simple as it seemed; the Tsarist Russian Government had bought the territory from the nobel owners and through a mortgage agreement sold the land to the peasants. This required the peasants to pay the government back over years, as there was interest to be paid as well as taxes. This system prevented the peasants from obtaining full ownership of the land as they were only a little better off.

The sudden death of Tsar Alexander III resulted in Tsar Nicholas II’s reign from 1894 until his abdication in 1917. Between the years of 1895 and 1903, Nicholas sired four daughters and in 1904, a son, Alexis; Imperial Russia finally had her heir.7 It was soon to be discovered, however, that Alexis had hemophilia - a life threatening disease that he inherited from his mother. It is a medical condition that causes one’s blood to clot making it easier for them to bleed when injured. After several bleeding episodes, the doctors were unable to put a stop to them. At the end of...
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