Karl Marx: A Biography

Topics: Karl Marx, Marxism, Friedrich Engels Pages: 5 (1708 words) Published: April 30, 2012
Brief Bio

Germany May 5th 1818, Karl Heinrich Marx came into the world. Philosopher, sociologist, economist, journalist; Marx’s ideas would go on to be catalyst for the socialist movement in 1883. In fact many regimes today consider themselves to be of Marxist thought even though many of them have diluted many of Marx’s original ideas. Scholars only have recently been able to view and study many of his writings being as though Marx had delayed publication of many works. Two of Marx’s most notable works include The Communist Manifesto published around 1848 and Das Kapitol (Capitol) published in or around 1867, Capitol contained many volumes and was referred to as ‘the Bible of the working class’. Born in a wealthy middle class family in the small town of Trier located in Prussia, Karl’s ancestry line supplied many of Triers rabbis since 1723. Karl’s father, Herchel Marx, converted from Judaism to Protestant Christian as well as changing his forename to Heinrich during the time Purssia had anti Jewish laws. In 1815 he began working as an attorney and moved his family into a ten room house. Karl’s mother, born Henrietta Pressburg was a Dutch Jew, unlike her husband she was illiterate, devoting all her time to her family. Karl was educated in his youth in Trier, not much else is known of his younger life, what we do know is that he attended Trier High School whose headmaster had employed many liberal humanists. The government raided the school in 1832 confiscating literature being shared between students which they believed was arousing political liberalis.

In 1835, Karl now seventeen started attending the University of Bonn. He was interested in studying philosophy and literature, though his father insisted he study law. While studying at Bonn, met Jenny von Westphalen who he then engaged, being the daughter of a prominent business man in Trier. Karl was a big socialite in Bonn, he ended up racking up a large amount of debts, as well as being injured in a duel. Fearing for his sons future, Heinrich Marx paid off his sons debts and insisted Karl attend the University of Berlin. Karl focused heavily on his studies while at the University of Berlin, even coming under the wing of one professor Bruno Bauer, who introduced Karl to the writings of G.W.F. Hegel. Hegel was once a professor of philosophy at the University of Berlin until his death in 1831. One philosophical theory of Hegel’s that aroused Karl’s interest was the idea that a thing or thought could not be separated from its opposite in other words, the slave could not exist without the master, and vice versa. In 1838, Karl’s father Heinrich passed away, striking out on his own with girlfriend Jenny, he decided to become a lecturer at the university level. Completing his doctorate with University of Jenna, his thesis The Difference Between the Democritean and Epicurean Philosophy of Nature was hailed as "a daring and original piece of work in which he set out to show that theology must yield to the superior wisdom of philosophy". Karl had hoped his mentor Bauer might be able to help him find a teaching position. Unfortunately for Karl, Bauer was expelled from teaching for his outspokenness on atheism. So with a PHD he dropped the idea of an academic career and went back to journalism. In 1842 Karl moved to Cologne where he started writing for a newspaper called Rheinische Zeitung. Many of Karls articles were aimed at politics and his socialist views towards the latter. Attracting unwelcome attention from the Prussian government, they started censoring many of his articles. Karl was quoted as saying "Our newspaper has to be presented to the police to be sniffed at, and if the police nose smells anything un-Christian or un- Prussian, the newspaper is not allowed to appear."Russia’s Tsar Nicholas 1 and ally to Prussia put pressure on the Prussian government to ban the paper. In 1843...
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