Picture of MarxKarl Marx

German social Philosopher and Revolutionary


With Friedrich Engels, a founder of modern socialism and communism. The son of a lawyer, he studied law and philosophy; he rejected the idealism of Hegel but was influenced by Ludwig Feuerbach and Moses Hess. His editorship (1842-43) of the Rheinische Zeitung ended when the paper was suppressed. In 1844 he met Engels in Paris, beginning a lifelong collaboration. With Engels he wrote the Communist Manifesto (1848) and other works that broke with the tradition of appealing to natural rights to justify social reform, invoking instead the laws of history leading inevitably to the triumph of the working class. Exiled from Europe after the Revolutions of 1848, Marx lived in London, earning some money as a correspondent for the New York Tribune but dependent on Engels's financial help while working on his monumental work Das Kapital (3 vol., 1867-94), in which he used dialectical materialism to analyze economic and social history; Engels edited vol. 2 and 3 after Marx's death. With Engels, Marx helped found (1864) the International Workingmen's Association, but his disputes with the anarchist Mikhail Babuknin eventually led to its breakup. Marxism has greatly influenced the development of socialist thought; further, many scholars have considered Marx a great economic theoretician and the founder of economic history and sociology.

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