Karl Marx Biography and Synopsis of Views Karl Marx Biography and Synopsis of Views Karl Heinrich Marx was born on May 5, 1818, in the city of Trier in Prussia, now, Germany. He was one of seven children of Jewish Parents. His father was fairly liberal, taking part in demonstrations for a constitution for Prussia and reading such authors as Voltaire and Kant, known for their social commentary. His mother, Henrietta, was originally from Holland and never became a German at heart, not even learning to speak the language properly. Shortly before Karl Marx was born, his father converted the family to the Evangelical Established Church, Karl being baptized at the age of six. Marx attended high school in his hometown (1830-1835) where several teachers and pupils were under suspicion of harboring liberal ideals.
Marx himself seemed to be a devoted Christian with a “longing for self-sacrifice on behalf of humanity.” In October of 1835, he started attendance at the University of Bonn, enrolling in non-socialistic-related classes like Greek and Roman mythology and the history of art. During this time, he spent a day in jail for being”drunk and disorderly-the only imprisonment he suffered” in the course of his life. The student culture at Bonn included, as a major part, being politically rebellious and Marx was involved, presiding over the Tavern Club and joining a club for poets that included some politically active students. However, he left Bonn after a year and enrolled at the University of Berlin to study law and philosophy. The Hegelian doctrines exerted considerable pressure in the “revolutionary student culture” that Marx was immersed in, however, and Marx eventually joined a society called the Doctor Club, involved mainly in the “new literary and philosophical movement” who’s chief figure was Bruno Bauer, a lecturer in theology who thought that the Gospels were not a record of History but that they came from “human fantasies arising from man’s emotional needs” and he also hypothesized that Jesus had not existed as a person. Bauer was later dismissed from his position by the Prussian government.
By 1841, Marx’s studies were lacking and, at the suggestion of a friend, he submitted a doctoral dissertation to the university at Jena, known for having lax acceptance requirements. Unsurprisingly, he got in, and finally received his degree in 1841. His thesis “analyzed in a Hegelian fashion the difference between the natural philosophies of Democritus and Epicurus” uses his knowledge of mythology and the myth of Prometheus in his chains. In October of 1842, Marx became the editor of the paper Rheinische Zeitung, and, as the editor, wrote editorials on socio-economic issues such as poverty, etc. During this time, he found that his “Hegelian philosophy was of little use” and he separated himself from his young Hegelian friends who only shocked the bourgeois to make up their “social activity.” Marx helped the paper to succeed and it almost became the leading journal in Prussia.
However, the Prussian government suspended it because of “pressures from the government of Russia.” So, Marx went to Paris to study “French Communism.” In June of 1843, he was married to Jenny Von Westphalen, an attractive girl, four years older than Marx, who came from a prestigious family of both military and administrative distinction. Although many of the members of the Von Westphalen family were opposed to the marriage, Jenny’s father favored Marx. In Paris, Marx became acquainted with the Communistic views of French workmen. Although he thought that the ideas of the workmen were “utterly crude and unintelligent,” he admired their camaraderie. He later wrote an article entitled “Toward the Critique of the Hegelian Philosophy of Right” from which comes the famous quote that religion is the “opium of the people.” Once again, the Prussian government interfered with Marx and he was expelled from France.
He left for Brussels, Belgium, and, in 1845, renounced his Prussian nationality. During the next two years in Brussels, the lifelong collaboration with Engels deepened further. He and Marx, sharing the same views, pooled their “intellectual resources” and published The Holy Family, a criticism of the Hegelian idealism of Bruno Bauer. In their next work, they demonstrated their materialistic conception of history but the book found no publisher and “remained unknown during its author’s lifetimes.” It is during his years in Brussels that Marx really developed his views and established his “intellectual standing.” From December of 1847 to January of 1848, Engels and Marx wrote The Communist Manifesto, a document outlining 10 immediate measures towards Communism, “ranging from a progressive income tax and the abolition of inheritances to free education for all children.” When the Revolution erupted in Europe in 1848, Marx was invited to Paris just in time to escape expulsion by the Belgian government. He became unpopular to German exiles when, while in Paris, he opposed Georg Hewegh’s project to organize a German legion to invade and “liberate the Fatherland.” After traveling back to Cologne, Marx called for democracy and agreed with Engels that the Communist League should be disbanded.
During this time, Marx got into trouble with the government; he was indicted on charges that he advocated that people not pay taxes. However, after defending himself in his trial, he was acquitted unanimously. On May 16, 1849, Marx was “banished as an alien” by the Prussian government. Marx then went to London. There, he rejoined the Communist League and became bolder in his revolutionary policy. He advocated that the people try to make the revolution “permanent” and that they should avoid subservience to the bourgeois peoples.
The faction that he belonged to ridiculed his ideas and he stopped attending meetings of the London Communists, working on the defense of 11 communists arrested in Cologne, instead. He wrote quite a few works during this time, including an essay entitled “Der Achtzenhnte Brumaire des Louis Bonaparte” (The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte) and also a pamphlet written on the behalf of the 11 communists he was defending in Cologne. From 1850 to 1864, Marx lived in poverty and “spiritual pain,” only taking a job once. He and his family were evicted from their apartment and several of his children died, his son, Guido, who Marx called “a sacrifice to bourgeois misery” and a daughter named Franziska. They were so poor that his wife had to borrow money …