English 10 Honors
May 17, 2000
The Life of Karl Marx
Karl Marx was one of the greatest thinkers ever. Studying law and philosophy, he became an important social philosopher and revolutionary. He influenced the lives of millions of people in generations well past his. A man of mystery in the democratic societies, Karl Marx led an interesting life of new ideas that would influence millions in the future.
Karl Marx was born on May 5th, 1818 (Karl Marx). He was the eldest son of Heinrich and Hennrietta Marx. He was born in Trier, Germany. Karl was the oldest surviving boy of nine children (Coser). Heinrich Marx was a very successful and well-educated lawyer (“Marx, Karl”, Britannica). Both parents were Jewish and descended from a long line of rabbis. About a year before Karl was born, Heinrich and Henrietta converted. Karl’s Jewish background brought him some prejudice (“Marx, Karl”, Encarta). The prejudices, which he may heave experienced in his early life, may have brought him to question the role of religion in society, which may have influenced his desire for social change.
Marx was educated from 1830 to 1835 in his hometown (“Marx, Karl”, Britannica). In October, 1835, he went off to college at the University at Bonn. Marx generally studied humanities (Coser). Marx left Bonn after a year and in October 1836. He then enrolled at the University of Berlin to study law and philosophy (“Marx, Karl”, Grolier). Marx’s studies were not his top priority here, and he soon found himself behind. He submitted an application to the university at Jena, which was known to have low standards in its academic requirements. Karl was accepted and received his degree in April of 1841(“Marx, Karl”, Encarta).
Marx was only seventeen years of age when he got engaged. He engaged to Jenny von Westphalen in 1837. Marx’s parents were very opposed to the engagement because of Marx’s young age (Basgen).
In January 1842 Marx began contributing to a newspaper newly founded in Cologne. It was called the Rheinische Zeitung. Cologne was the center of industries in Prussia (“Marx, Karl”, Britannica). On October 15th, 1842, Marx became editor of the Rheinische Zeitung. He was required to write many editorials from a variety of social issues. He also wrote about the new phenomenon of communism (“Marx, Karl”, Grolier).
On June 19th, 1843, Karl Heinrich Marx was wedded to Jenny von Westphalen. The marriage took place seven years after their engagement (Marx). Jenny was an attractive, intelligent, and much-admired woman. She was four years older than Karl (“Marx, Karl”, Britannica). Karl Marx’s wife was the sister of the women who later became the Prussian Minister of the Interior (Walmsley). Jenny gave birth to seven children, one dying at birth, leaving six. Their names were Jenny, Laura, Edgar, Heinrich, Franziska, and Eleanor. Only Jenny, Laura, and Eleanor survived into their teens (Basgen).
After much writing on social problems Karl began to take much interest in communism, which was a new idea being spread (Walmsley). Marx decided to summarize these ideas into his own book. He would change the way people lived for years to come. In late 1847 Karl Marx wrote the Manifesto of the Communist Party, commonly called the Communist Manfesto (“Marx, Karl”, Grolier). It covers all aspects of communism. All communist governments were based off of the Communist Manifesto (“Marx, Karl”, Encarta). It consists of four parts; they are “Bourgeois and Proletarians”, “Proletarians and Communists”, “Socialist and Communist Literature”, and “Position of the Communists in Relation to the Various Existing Opposition Parties”. After the publishing of the Manifesto of the Communist Party Marx’s name spread across Europe and then around the world.
Karl Marx led an interesting life of new ideas that would influence millions in the future. After his childhood in Trier, Germany, Marx went on to become a successful and well-known philosopher (“Marx, Karl”, Encarta). He was guided by his idol, Heinrich Marx, his father, who was a very well educated lawyer and an intellectual (Marx). After creating one of the most famous books in the world, the Communist Manifesto, Marx lived the rest of his life as an admired man until his death in 1818 (Coser). The name of Karl Marx is one that will always be noted in the history of communism.
Basgen, Brian. Jenny von Westphalen. Internet. 14 May 2000 .
Coser. Marx. Internet. 11 May 2000 < http://www.runet.edu/~lridener /DSS/INDEX.HTML#marx>.
Karl Marx. Marxists. Internet. 9 May 2000 .
“Marx, Karl.” Encarta. Windows, Ver. 95. CD-ROM. Encarta, 1998.
“Marx, Karl.” Encyclopedia Britannica. Windows, Ver. 95. CD-ROM.
Encyclopedia Britannica, 1999.
“Marx, Karl.” Grolier Encyclopedia. Windows, Ver. 95. CD-ROM. Grolier
Walmsley, Trevor. “Karl Marx by Frederick Engels”. Internet. 12 May 2000 .