The Use of Persuasion in The Communist Manifesto
Written in 1848, The Communist Manifesto is a foundational document of Communist ideology. The document describes the rise of the bourgeoisie as elite actors in the capitalist system while asserting that class struggle between the proletariat, or working class, and the bourgeoisie will lead to a worldwide Communist revolution. In the manifesto, authors Karl Marx and Friederich Engels share their critiques of the capitalist economic system with the expressed purpose of presenting the views of Communism. Yet, while the authors claim that their purpose is to inform the public on Communism, The Communist Manifesto is dominated by a persuasive tone. By analyzing the text, it can be determined that the primary motive of the publication is not merely to present Communist ideas, but to persuade the public of the merits of Communist ideology. Utilizing effective methods of persuasion, Marx and Engels build a case for the merits of Communism by carefully selecting their audience, utilizing the rhetorical appeal of ethos and pathos, and establishing Communism as an inevitable historical trend. By combining these three persuasive techniques, Marx and Engels seek to persuade the reader to take part in the revolution for Communism.
In the introduction of The Communist Manifesto, authors Marx and Engels appear to be certain that Communism is a dominant force in Europe. Expressing this confidence, the authors open the text with the phrase, “A spectre is haunting Europe – the spectre of communism” (14). As the authors claim, Communism was already a growing force in European politics before the publication of their work (14). Thus, the authors assert that the objective of their manifesto is to present an official publication of the view and aims of Communism (14). Yet, a closer examination of the text calls into question the authors’ confidence in the appeal of Communism.
The examination of the structure of Marx and...
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