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