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 lifetimes."

It is during his years in Brussels that Marx really developed his
views and established his "intellectual standing." From
December of