The Life of Karl Heinrich Marx (Marx)June 27, 2021
He was born as Karl Heinrich Marx as the third child of a Jewish family of seven children in Trier, a city of the Kingdom of Prussia.
His father, Heinrich (1777–1838) admired the Enlightenment thinkers Voltaire and Rousseau. Since the Prussian authorities would not give a Jew a law degree, the official Prussian sect chose Lutheranism and became Christian. Her mother, Henrietta (1788–1863), was named after her siblings Sophie, Hermann, Henriette, Louise, Emilie, and Caroline.
Marx was home-schooled until the age of thirteen. After graduating from the Trier gymnasium, he enrolled at the University of Bonn to study law at the age of 17. Marx’s desire to study literature and philosophy was rejected on the grounds that his father would not be able to take care of him economically in the future. The next year he was sent by his father to the more prestigious Friedrich-Wilhelms University in Berlin. During this period, Marx wrote many poems and essays on life, influencing the atheistic thinking of the Young Hegelians at the university. He received his doctorate in 1841 with his thesis titled “The Differences Between Democritus and Epicurean Philosophy of Nature”.
Marx and the Young Hegelians
The Young Hegelians consisted of a group of philosophers and journalists centered around Ludwig Feuerbach and Bruno Bauer who were critical of their teacher Hegel. Despite their criticism of Hegel’s metaphysical inferences, they used the dialectical method, which they detached from its theological dimension, to analyze religion and politics. Some members of this group draw an analogy between post-Aristotelian philosophy and post-Hegelian philosophy. One of them, Max Stirner, criticizes Feuerbach and Bauer in his book The Uniqueness and Ownership (1845, “Der Einzige und sein Eigenthum”), saying that these atheists gain a religious appearance by reifying abstract concepts. A Feuerbach follower, influenced by this book, Marx abandoned Feuerbach’s materialism and approached what would later be called the epistemological break. After that, he wrote The German Ideology (1846 Die Deutsche Ideologie), in which he criticized Stirner and Feuerbach and laid the foundations for the concept of historical materialism, but could not publish this book.
In the last days of October 1843, Marx went to Paris, France. On August 28, 1844, one of the most important friendships of his life and history was established in a famous cafe (Café de la Régence) in France, and Marx met Friedrich Engels. The most important reason for Engels to come to Paris is to meet Marx, they met him once in the office of the Rheinische Zeitung newspaper published by Marx in 1842. Engels shows Marx one of his most important works, “The Conditions of the Working Class in England in 1844.” Paris was home to British, German, and Italian revolutionaries at the time, just as Marx came to Paris to work with Arnold Ruge, the duo could publish the newspaper Deutsch–Französische Jahrbücher once in February 1844.
After the failure of this newspaper, Marx wrote to the most radical German newspaper in Paris, the Vorwärts, which may even be considered the most important radical newspaper in Europe. Marx often writes on Hegel, working for his article On the Jewish Question. He studies the French Revolution and Proudhon and begins to reflect on the proletariat.
On the Jewish Question is published as an answer to Bauer, in which he sets his distance from the Young Hegelians. While this article includes a critique of the concepts of civil and human rights and political emancipation, it also brings important criticisms of Judaism and Christianity from the point of view of social emancipation. Engels helps Marx concentrate his fields of study on economics and the condition of the working class. The first examples of this are found in the 1844 Manuscripts, but these manuscripts remained unpublished until the 1930s. These manuscripts mainly contain factual analysis of the alienation of human labor under capitalism.
In January 1845, when Vorwärts publicly expressed his support for the assassination attempt on King Frederick William IV of Prussia, Marx and his friends were ordered to leave Paris. Together with Engels they go to Brussels, Belgium.
Thereafter, Marx devoted himself to the study of history and the view of historical materialism, which he laid the foundations for in The German Ideology. The basic thesis of this view is “It is not their consciousness that determines the existence of people, but their social existence that determines their consciousness.” can be summarized as Marx now begins to treat history “in relation to the relations of production” and works on the inevitable collapse of existing industrial capitalism. This period is the period of break with Young Marx, which was later separated by academicians and whose Feuerbach effect was seen.
The Poverty of Philosophy, written in 1847, is a critique and response to Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and French socialist thought. On February 21, 1848, Marx and Engels’ most famous work, The Communist Manifesto, was published as a manifesto for the Communist League and some communist groups in Europe.
The year 1848 was a year when radical revolutions began in Europe. Marx is captured and flees from Belgium.