Karl Marx

Karl Marx

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 home town
(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.

Marx's experience in Berlin was crucial
to his introduction to Hegel's philosophy and to his "adherence to the

Young Hegelians." Hegel's philosophy was crucial to the development of
his own ideas and theories. Upon his first introduction to Hegel's beliefs,

Marx felt a repugnance and wrote his father that when he felt sick, it
was partially "from intense vexation at having to make an idol of a view
[he] detested." 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" using 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

It is during his years in Brussels that

Marx really developed