Karl Marx Biography

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Social Theorist Karl Marx
The social theorist I chose to do my paper on is Karl Marx. Marx was born in Trier, Rhenish Prussia, on May 5, 1818. Marx was the son of Heinrich Marx, a lawyer, and Henriette Marx. Heinrich and Henriette Marx were descendants from a long line of Jewish rabbis. His father was banned from practicing law because he was a Jew. Marx’s father converted his family to Lutheranism. Marx attended a Lutheran elementary school and later became an atheist and materialist, rejecting both the Christian and Jewish religions. Marx would later coin the aphorism “Religion is the opium of the people,” which is a cardinal principle in modern communism. While Marx attended the Friedrich Wilhelm Gymnasium in Trier he excelled in French and Latin, both in which he became fluent. Marx graduated at age 17 in 1835 from the Gymnasium. In later years Marx’s proficiency for languages would help him to teach himself Spanish, Italian, Dutch, English, Russian, and Scandinavian. Although Marx never lost his Teutonic accent while speaking he came to master the English language and loved Shakespeare, whose works Marx would come to know by heart. In October of 1835 Karl Marx attended Bonn University where he mostly took classes in jurisprudence because it was his fathers wish for his son to follow in his footsteps and become a lawyer. Marx however was more interested in philosophy and literature than he was law because he wanted to become a poet and dramatist. Marx wrote a lot of poetry during his days as a student which later in life he recognized as imitative and mediocre. During his one year at Bonn University Marx did very little studying and more drinking. He was once arrested for disturbing the peace. Marx also fought in one duel in which he was wounded in the right eye. Marx’s father took him out of Bonn University and enrolled him into the University of Berlin. The University of Berlin was full of brilliant thinkers



Cited: British History. A Dictionary of British History. Copyright © 2001, 2004 by Oxford University Press. Columbia Encyclopedia

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