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Karl Marx

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           KARL MARX



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Karl Marx was one of the greatest thinkers and philosophers of his time.  His views on life and the social structure of his time revolutionized the way people think.  He created an opportunity for the lower class to rise above the aristocrats and then failed due to the creation of the middle class.  Despite this failure, he was still a great political leader and set the basis of Communism in Russia.  His life’s works contributed to the way people think today, and because of him people are more open to suggestion and are quicker to create ideas on political issues.

         Karl Heinrich Marx was born May 5th, 1818 in Trier.  Although he had three younger sisters, he was the favorite child to his father, Heinrich.  His mother, a Dutch Jewess named Henrietta Pressburg, had no interest in Karl's intellectual side during his life.  His father was a Jewish lawyer, and before his death in 1838, converted his family to Christianity to keep his job with the Prussian state.  When Heinrich's mother died, he felt that he no longer had an obligation to his religion, which eventually helped him make the decision to convert to Christianity.

        Karl's childhood was a happy and care-free one.  His parents had a good relationship and it help set Karl in the right direction.  " His ‘splendid natural gifts' awakened in his father the hope that they would one day be used in the service of humanity, whilst his mother declared him to be a child of fortune in whose hands everything would go well”. (The story of his life, Mehring, page 2)

        In High school Karl stood out among the crowd.  When asked to write a report on "How to choose a profession", he took a different approach.  He took the angle that most interested him, by saying that there was no way to choose a profession, but because of circumstances one is placed in an occupation.   A person with a aristocratic background is more likely to have a higher role in society than someone from a much poorer background.

        While at Bonn at the age of eighteen he got engaged to Jenny von Westphalen, the daughter of the upperclassmen Ludwig von Westphalen.  She was a friend of Marx's oldest sister, Sophie.  The engagement was a secret one, meaning they got engaged without asking permission of Jenny's parents.  Heinrich Marx wasn’t happy about this but before long he gave them his blessings.

        Karl's school life, other than his grades is unknown.  He never talked about his friends growing up, and no one ever spoke up about attending school with Marx .  He left high school in August of 1835 to go on to the University of Bonn where he studied law.  His father wanted him to be a lawyer just like himself, but when Karl's reckless life-style was getting in the way, Heinrich transferred him to Berlin.  Also, he did not go to most lectures, and didn’t show much interest in what was being taught.  Karl's reckless ways were not tolerated at Berlin, a more conservative college without the mischievous ways of the other universities.

        While at Berlin, Marx became part of the group known as the Yong Hegelians. The group was organized in part due to the philosophy teacher Hegel that taught from 1818 to his death.  The teachings of Hegel played a big part in the way the school thought towards most things.  Those who studied Hegel and his ideals were known as the Young Hegelians.  Hegel spoke of the development and evolution of the mind and of ideas.  Even though Karl was younger than most in the group, he was recognized for his intellectual ability and became the focus of the group.  

         While at Berlin "He came to believe that all the various sciences and philosophies were part of one overarching, which, when completed, which would give a true and total picture of the universe and man." (Communist Manifesto, Marx (Francis B. Randal), page 15)  Marx was an atheist, and believed that science and philosophy would prove everything.  He had no belief in a god of any type.  Marx believed that Hegel must have been an atheist too because of his strong belief in the mind.

        Marx's doctoral thesis was competed in 1841.  It carried the title "The Difference Between the Philosophies of Nature of Democrtius and Epicurus."(The Making of Marx's Critical Theory, Oakley, page 11)  It had to do with the Greek philosopher Epicurus and how his beliefs related to Marx’s of that day.  This thesis was an early indication of the thinking behind Karl Marx.  Much of his later work and ideas are discussed in this essay.

        He passed his thesis into the University of Jena because Bonn and Berlin required an oral part to the thesis.  The quickness was also a matter in this.  He passed it in early April, and got his degree in history and philosophy in April 15, 1841.

        After graduation he wasn’t able to find a job.  This caused him to take a job with the German newspaper Rheinische Zeitung in 1842.  By the end of the year, Marx made editor- in-chief.  A few months after that in 1843 because of his writings, and his social views, Marx was forced to step down as editor, and soon after that the paper closed altogether.

        He married Jenny von Westphalen, and with a member of the Young Hegelians, Arnold Ruge, went to Paris to publish a radical journal on his beliefs.  “It was obvious in his works that he was a revolutionary that advocated criticism of everything in existence.  This was especially anticipated by the proletariat. The proletariat were the working class of the day”. They were the poor and made up the majority of people.  Marx went
believed that the proletariat would eventually rise up against the

        Then in 1844 Marx met a man that would change his life forever.  When going to England after doing military service, he met Friedrich Engles in Cologne in the offices of the Rheinische Zeitung.  Both of them had gone through the German school and they both came to the same conclusions.  Marx had an understanding of the struggles and the demands of the age basis of the French Revolution, Engles did so on the basis of English industry.  (The Story of His life,Mehring, page 93)  Friedrich Engles was born in 1820 in the Rhine Province of the Kingdom of Prussia.  Like Marx he was brought up with the German philosophies of Hegel, and like Marx, Engles started to follow the works of Hegel.  



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