Karl Marx was born on May 5, 1818, in a place called Trier in Prussia. His parents were of Jewish descent, however they did not practice Judaism. In 1824 Karl’s father adopted Protestantism. Marx attended the university of Bonn and later the university at Berlin, where he studied in law, while majoring in history and philosophy. After his education, Marx associated himself with the “Left Hegelians,” along with Bruno Bauer, which were a group who formed atheistic and revolutionary ideas from Hegel’s philosophy. The Young Hegelians practiced philosophical idealism.
Here he first meet Arnold Ruge and Ludwig Feuerbach. In 1842 Marx and Bruno Bauer were asked to contribute to the Rheinische Zeitung, a German paper, in Cologne. At the time Marx started, the paper had only 400 subscribers. Marx in October of 1842, became editor-in-chief, and decided to move from Bonn to Cologne. As the paper became more and more revolutionary and widely read, the government decided to censor, and eventually suppress it. The paper was banned in March of 1843. At this time, it had more than 3,400 subscribers from all over Germany.
Karl Marx was married to his childhood friend Jenny von Westphalen, in 1843. Later in the fall of that year Marx along with another Left Hegelian, Arnold Ruge, moved to Paris and began publication of a radical journal entitled Deutsch-Franzosische Jahrbucher. However due to the problems in publishing such a radical paper, only one issue appeared. Karl met his closest friend in September of 1844, when Frederick Engels arrived in Paris. Together they participated in the activities of many revolutionary communities.
They formed the theory and ideas of revolutionary proletarian socialism, also known as communism. Also in 1844, Marx wrote a revolutionary book called the Holy Family. It is a materialist view of the history of man. Basically, it was a critique on his former philosophy group, “The Young Hegelians. ” It expressed the view of history being mans activities. “History’ is not, as it were, a person apart, using man as a means to achieve its own aims; history is nothing but the activity of man pursuing his own aims. ” Finally in 1845 Marx was banished from Paris as a dangerous revolutionary.
He wrote satirical poems for revolutionary-democrats. The paper, “Vorwarts”, was attack by reactionary papers asking for government banning or censorship, but instead they banned Marx from Paris. He decided to head for Brussels, where he and Engels joined, in 1847, a group called the Communist League. At the leagues request, Marx and Engels drew up the Communist Manifesto in 1848. This is one of the most well known works of the pair. Once the Revolution of February 1848 took place, Marx was again banished, except this time from Belgium.
He returned to France for the March Revolution, and then traveled to Germany where he published the Neue Rheinische Zeitung, from June 1, 1848 to May 19, 1849. Again Marx was banished from Germany, and again he returned to Paris. After the demonstration of June 13 1849, Karl Marx, was, yes, banished once again. That would be the last time Karl Marx was banished anywhere. His last trip would take him to London where he would live for the rest of his life. Marx lived a hard life in London. If it had not been for the financial help from his good friend Engels, he would have not been able to continue his lifelong struggle.
Marx got himself involved in political activity in the 1850’s and 1860’s with the revival of democratic activities. Most of the important works written by Marx can be summed up by the results of the revolution in “The Class Struggle of France. ” In these works Marx shows for the first time materialist dialectics to the study of an entire historical period. Marx tells the entire tall of causes, character, and course of the French bourgeois-democratic revolution of 1848. In March of 1950, Marx tried to reorganize the Communist League.
In his efforts to reorganize this League, he wrote several address for the Central Committee. These address’ outlined the need to continue this League and gave local branches slogans and demands. After a few more address’ the League was restored. In 1951, Marx had no regular income. It was difficult for him to support his family. In the summer or that year, he became a correspondent for New York Times. Even then, income was irregular. Because of such hardships, the Marx family lived in very poor conditions. The Marx were so poor that only 3 of the 7 children survived.
Once on better grounds of living, Marx once again studied political economy. He worked with vigor to gain a true understanding of the economy. To do so, he even studied natural science and mechanical science. Through his research, he critiqued Ricardo’s view on capital, the view that it is plainly wealth. Marx concluded that capital was “Capital is the sum-total of values which is again designated for the production, a sum not only of products nor even for the production of products, but a sum for the production of values. ” This means that Ricardo’s belief is a sum of things.
Marx’s belief is that capital is a definite social relation. The social relation coincides with the historical stage of commodity production. In 1857, Marx formed his revolution in political economy. Between 1850 and 1860, the volume of transaction in the world market doubled, railway was tripled, and banks boomed. Marx, with his extensive background, predicted the over production crisis. There were sharp cut backs, massive close downs, numerous bankruptcies, closing markets, plummeting prices and the like. Marx wrote many articles revealing why the world wide capitalist crisis occurred.
Marx’s view shows that capitalism is a cycle where over production is inevitable. Marx then wrote his manuscripts of economy. Marx also became the leader of the International Working Men’s Association, for whom he wrote the first address. He also wrote resolutions and manifestoes for this group. Capital is book on the history and current economy. Capital was published in volumes. In the first volume he summarizes A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, a critique written in 1858. Marx also begins with an analysis of commodity. The meat of capital is placed on exploitation of wage labor.
Marx discovered the fact that it is not labor itself, but labor power that is the commodity which the worker sells and the capitalist purchases. This is the key discovery for the connection for the determination of the commodity value by labor. Capital also establishes two main points. The first is that the capitalist can increase the rate of surplus value by prolonging the working day. This is absolute surplus value. The second is by increasing the intensity of the working day. This is relative surplus value. Marx covers every aspect of capitalist economy, and depicts every flaw.
Though never completed, it is the work of his life time. On December 2, 1881, His lifelong wife passed away. Marx’s health declined due to his strenuous work with the International and the Capital. And just more than a year later Karl Marx died peacefully at his home. Both were buried at Highgate Cemetery in London, where they still lie today. Marx has affected nearly all aspects, whether it be economy, politics, natural science, Darwinism, or even philosophy. His impacts have positively changed the world even still today, Marx’s ingenious is all around us.