Karl Heinrich Marx was born on May 5, 1818, in the city of Trier in the Rhine province of Prussia, now in Germany. Marx was an economic theorist who composed the idea of communism which included the idea of all the people owning all the property and infrastructure. These theories played a large role in international politics and the cold war in the mid to late 20th century.
Marx was the oldest surviving boy of nine children. (Perhaps this is where his theory on equality of resources began. Competing with eight brothers and sisters for attention would have seen an unequal distribution of the parent’s resources to the children) His mother, born Henrietta Pressburg, was from Holland. Both parents were Jewish and were descended from a long line of rabbis, but, a year or so before Karl was born, his father–probably because his professional career required it–was baptized in the Evangelical Established Church. Karl was baptized when he was six years old. Even though Karl was baptized as a youth he still faced discrimination because of his Jewish background. (Marx may have seen from this discrimination that religion wasn’t necessary and was “ the opium of the masses)
In October 1835 Marx matriculated at the University of Bonn. The courses he attended were exclusively in the humanities, in subjects such as Greek and Roman mythology and the history of art. He participated in the usual student activities got involved in a fight and spent a day in jail for being drunk and disorderly.
Mark left the University and enrolled at the Berlin University to start a law degree. Here Marx joined a Hegelian club these clubs followed the teachings of a philosopher called Hegel. The club denounced religion particularly Christianity.
In January 1842 Marx began contributing to a newspaper newly founded in Cologne, the Rheinische Zeitung. It was the liberal democratic organ of a group of young merchants, bankers, and industrialists. By October 1842 Marx became editor of the newspaper. Marx built up the circulation and began writing controversial editorials. Eventually the Prussian authorities suspended production of the newspaper because it was seen as being too controversial. In June 1843 Marx married his fiance of seven years, Jenny von Westphalen. They moved to Paris which was at the time the centre of socialist thought. Marx met his life long buddy Frederich Engels here and they wrote the French – German yearbook. The Prussian government intervened and Mark was kicked out of Paris. He travelled to Brussels with his wife and Engels. Marx began talking to the heads of unions and the working class in Brussels.
An unusual sequence of events led Marx and Engels to write their pamphlet The Communist Manifesto. In June 1847 a secret society, the League of the Just, composed mainly of emigrant German handicraftsmen, met in London and decided to formulate a political program. They sent a representative to Marx to ask him to join the league; Marx overcame his doubts and, with Engels, joined the organization, which thereupon changed its name to the Communist League and enacted a democratic constitution. Entrusted with the task of composing their program, Marx and Engels worked from the middle of December 1847 to the end of January 1848. The London Communists were already impatiently threatening Marx with disciplinary action when he sent them the manuscript; they promptly adopted it as their manifesto.
In 1848 revolution erupted throughout France, Italy, and Austria. Marx had been invited to Paris by a member of the provisional government just in time to avoid expulsion by the Belgian government. As the revolution gained in Austria and Germany, Marx returned to the Rhineland. (Marx must have believed the ideas in the communist manifesto were becoming reality as the revolutions took off). During the same year Marx believed that the communist league in London was no longer relevant and that the communist manifesto should be shelved. In 1849 Marx was expelled from Berlin he travelled to London where he was to spend the rest of his life.
Marx spend the period from 1850 to 1954 living in poverty his family lived on bread and potatoes and two of his children died. His son Guido was “a sacrifice to bourgeois misery,” and a daughter Franziska, for whom Marx’s wife rushed about frantically trying to borrow money for a coffin.
(Marx was experiencing life as the lowest class, which conflicted with his experiences of the continent of Europe where he had lived a fairly solid well of life)
At the time Engels helped Marx alleviate some of his financial distress. Marx managed to travel back to Europe with Engels and began to get involved in European politics again.
During his last years Marx spent much time at health resorts and even traveled to Algiers. He was broken by the death of his wife on Dec. 2, 1881, and of his eldest daughter, Jenny Longuet, on Jan. 11, 1883. He died in London, evidently of a lung abscess, on March 14, 1883.
Marx seems to have formed his ideals first from his parents and then as a result of the people he mixed with at University. He believed that after a bloody revolution of the working class against the bourgeoisie the state would take possession of everything like in a socialist state. In time the state would pass all the property and infrastructure on the people. The people according to their needs would take these goods. Marx legacy still remains today; Cuba is still a fundamentally communist country although is not a communist country in the way Marx would have envisaged it. China is still a communist country that is slowly coming out of its isolation, however it still continues it human rights abuses.