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Karl Marx

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Karl Marx was the greatest thinker and philosopher of his time. His

views on life and the social structure of his time revolutionized the way

in which people think. He created an opportunity for the lower class to

rise above the aristocrats and failed due to the creation of the middle

class. Despite this failure, he was still a great political leader and set

the basis of Communism in Russia. His life contributed to the way people

think today, and because of him people are more open to suggestion and are

quicker to create ideas on political issues.

Karl Heinrich Marx was born May 5th, 1818 in Trier. Although he had

three other siblings, all sisters, he was the favorite child to his father,

Heinrich. His mother, a Dutch Jewess named Henrietta Pressburg, had no

interest in Karl's intellectual side during his life. His father was a

Jewish lawyer, and before his death in 1838, converted his family to

Christianity to preserve his job with the Prussian state. When Heinrich's

mother died, he no longer felt he had an obligation to his religion, thus

helping him in the decision in turning to Christianity.

Karl's childhood was a happy and care-free one. His parents had a

good relationship and it help set Karl in the right direction." His Ð''

splendid natural gifts' awakened in his father the hope that they would one

day be used in the service of humanity, whilst his mother declared him to

be a child of fortune in whose hands everything would go well. (The story

of his life, Mehring, page 2)

In High school Karl stood out among the crowd. When asked to write

a report on "How to choose a profession" he took a different approach. He

took the angle in which most interested him, by saying that there was no

way to choose a profession, but because of circumstances one is placed in

an occupation. A person with a aristocratic background is more likely to

have a higher role in society as opposed to someone from a much poorer


While at Bonn at the age of eighteen he got engaged to Jenny von

Westphalen, daughter of the upperclassmen Ludwig von Westphalen. She was

the childhood friend of Marx's oldest sister, Sophie. The engagement was a

secret one, meaning they got engaged without asking permission of Jenny's

parents. Heinrich Marx was uneasy about this but before long the consent

was given.

Karl's school life other than his marks is unknown. He never spoke

of his friends as a youth, and no one has ever came to speak of him through

his life. He left high school in August of 1835 to go on to the University

of Bonn in the fall of the same year to study law. His father wanted him to

be a lawyer much like himself but when Karl's reckless university life was

getting in the way after a year Heinrich transferred him to Berlin. Also,

he did not go to most lectures, and showed little interest in what was to

be learned. Karl's reckless ways were not tolerated at Berlin, a more

conservative college without the mischievous ways of the other universities.

While at Berlin, Marx became part of the group known as the Yong

Hegelians. The group was organized in part due to the philosophy teacher

Hegel that taught from 1818 to his death. The teachings of Hegel shaped the

way the school thought towards most things. Those who studied Hegel and his

ideals were known as the Young Hegelians. Hegel spoke of the development

and evolution of the mind and of ideas. Although Karl was younger than most

in the group, he was recognized for his intellectual ability and became the

focus of the group. While at Berlin "He came to believe that all the

various sciences and philosophies were part of one overarching, which, when

completed, which would give a true and total picture of the universe and

man." (Communist Manifesto, Marx (Francis B. Randal), page 15) Marx was an

atheist, and believed that science and philosophy would prove everything.

Thus he had no belief in a god of any type. Marx believed that Hegel must

have been an atheist as well because of his strong belief in the mind.

Marx's doctoral thesis was competed in 1841. It carried the title

"The Difference Between the Philosophies of Nature of Democrtius and

Epicurus."(The Making of Marx's Critical Theory, Oakley, page 11) It had to

do with the Greek philosopher Epicurus and how his beliefs related to

Marxs' of that day. This thesis was an early indication of the thinking

behind Karl Marx. Much of his later work and ideas are evident in this




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