Karl Marx is a name that is known in almost every part of the world. The names refer to a German philosopher and revolutionary socialist whose works have helped so many in understanding different aspects of life in general. In fact, his works have played a great role in influencing social, political and economic thoughts. Karl Marx published quite a number of books in his lifetime, some of which include The Communist Manifesto (1848) and Das Kapital (1867 to 1894).
Karl Heinrich Marx was born on May 5th, 1818 in Trier, Prussia. Marx was among the nine children of Heinrich and Henrietta Marx. His father, apart from being a successful lawyer was also an ardent supporter and activist for Prussian reform. Marx has been described as an average student who was educated at home until the age of 12 years. He went to school in Jesuit High School and University of Bonn where he was at some point imprisoned for being drunk and disorderly, participation in duel and incurring debts. It is from then that his father transferred him to the University of Berlin.
Marx studied law and philosophy at the University of Berlin. It is here that he also got introduced to the philosophy of G.W.F Hegel. Even though at first Marx was not enamored with Hegel, he soon began associating himself with a radical group of students calling themselves the Young Hegelians. This group of students criticized the political and religious establishments of the day.
As he continued with his zeal in politics, Marx secretly got engaged to Jenny von Westphalen, a woman who apart from being sought after by many was four years older than Marx. However, he failed to settle down. After receiving his Doctorate from the University of Jena in 1841, Marx could not be hired as a teacher due to his involvement in politics. Thus, he began working as a journalist, becoming the editor of Rheinische Zeitung, a liberal publication in Cologne. Just one year later, the government suppressed the newspaper leading to Marx’s resignation. He then got married to Westphalen in October 1843 and moved to Paris.
In Paris, Karl Marx evolved into a revolutionary communist and formed friendship ties with his lifelong collaborator, Friedrich Engels. His time in France did not last long since he was expelled. He further moved to spend two years in Brussels where their ties with Engels intensified. Together, they published the pamphlet titled, The Communist Manifesto in 1848.
Marx moved to London in 1849 and spent the rest of his life there. For several years, his family lived in poverty and often received help from the Engels who were wealthier. It is then that he published; ’Das Kapital.’ The rest of his works were edited and published by Engel post-humously.
Karl Marx spent most of his final years at health spas, trying to get relief from the distress caused by the death of his wife in 1881, and also one of his daughters. He passed away on March 14th 1883 and was buried at Highgate Cemetery in London.
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