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Karl Marx (1818-1883)

German political philosopher and economist. The founder of modern revolutionary socialism and the developer (along with his main associate Friedrich Engels) of historical or dialectical materialism, a method for interpreting and making sense of the world. Born in 1818 in Trier (Treves), Prussia, Marx attended the universities of Bonn and Berlin. He was editor of Rheinische Zeitung in Cologne (Koln) in 1842, forced to flee when the paper was banned by the government the following year, and spent five years in exile in Brussels and Paris. In 1848, with revolution in the air, Marx returned to Prussia and founded "Neue Rheinische Zeitung". The paper was again suppressed, Marx was expelled, and he settled in London where he concentrated on his theoretical works and the development of historical materialism. He lived in London until his death on 14 March, 1883. Marx lived in poverty his entire life, and earned his meagre living by contributing articles to various newspapers, including the New York Daily Tribune (1852-1861), and 'The Morning Advertiser', 'The Examiner', and 'The Spectator' in England.

In 1864 Marx founded the International Workingmen's Association (aka The First International). He threw himself into various causes -- assisting Liebknecht with the founding of the Social Democratic Labor Party in Germany in 1869 being one of the most noteworthy.

The first volume of his major work, Das Kapital, was published in 1867. Frederick Engels, his collaborator, completed the writing and editing of volume two of Das Kapital in 1885 and the third and final volume in 1895. Another major work of Marx, The Communist Manifesto, was also written in collaboration with Friedrich Engels.

A major focus of Marx was on changing the world ("The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point, however, is to change it. ["Theses on Feuerbach," [1845] in The German Ideology, (New York: Prometheus Books, 1998), pp572-4]. Wanting to change the world made Marx one of the most hated men to ever walk the face of the earth.

Friedrich Engels on Karl Marx:

"For Marx was, before all else, a revolutionary. His real mission in life was to contribute in one way or another to the overthrow of capitalist society and of the forms of government which it had brought into being, to contribute to the liberation of the present day proletariat." (Engels - excerpt of speech at Karl Marx's funeral)

"Just as Darwin discovered the laws of evolution in organic nature so Marx discovered the law of evolution in human history; he discovered the simple fact, hitherto concealed by an overgrowth of ideology, that mankind must first of all eat and drink, have shelter and clothing, before it can pursue politics, science, religion, art, etc; and that therefore the means of life, and consequently the degree of economic development attained by a given people or during a given epoch, form the foundation on which the forms of government, the legal conceptions, the art and even the religious ideas of the people concerned have been evolved, and in the light of which these things must therefore be explained, instead of vice versa as has hitherto been the case." (Friedrich Engels - excerpt of speech at Karl Marx's funeral)

One who uses dialectical or historical materialism to interpret history, economies, literary works, etc., is referred to as a Marxian or Marxist. Marxism is the body of thought both Karl Marx and Engels developed, with the concept of historical or dialectical materialism as its centrepiece.
Find available items by: Karl Marx
Major works by Karl Marx

Major works in English (heavily borrowed from Andrew Chitty's bibliography of Marx, with his permission):
  • Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right (1843) (in collections of early works)
  • On the Jewish Question (1843) (in collections of early works)
  • Contribution to a Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right: Introduction (1843) (the '1843 Introduction’)
  • Notes on James Mill (1844) (also known as Excerpt-Notes of 1844 etc.) (in collections of early works)
  • Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts (1844) (in collections of early works)
  • Theses on Feuerbach (1845) (included in editions of The German Ideology)
  • The German Ideology (1845-46) (with Friedrich Engels)
  • Letter to Annenkov (1846) (in most collections of selected works)
  • The Poverty of Philosophy (1846-47)
  • Wage-Labour and Capital (1847)
  • The Communist Manifesto (1847-48) (with Frederick Engels)Parts 1 and 2
  • The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (1852)
  • Grundrisse (1857-58) (An unpublished first draft for Capital, abridged as Marx’s Grundrisse, ed. D. McLellan)
  • A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy (1859) (The '1859 Preface’ to this is in editions of Marx and Engels’ selected works)
  • Theories of Surplus Value (186?), 3 volumes
  • Urtext of Capital (1861-63)
  • Wages, Price and Profit (1865) (summary of Marx’s economics)
  • Capital (1867) (vol. 1 pub. 1867)
  • The Civil War in France (1871)
  • Critique of the Gotha Programme (1875) Sections 1-2 (in collections of selected works)
  • Ethnological Notebooks (1879-80) Ed. L. Krader
  • Notes on Wagner (1883?) (in T. Carver ed. Karl Marx: Texts on Method, and A. Dragstedt ed. Value: Studies by Marx)

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