Karl Marx was born in 1818 into a middle-class, German family. During his studies, Marx was heavily influenced by the philosophy of Hegel. He joined a group called the “Young Hegelians.” The group, though “inspired by Hegel, [was] determined to champion the more radical aspects of the old master's system.”[i] Though he was a strong scholar, he got into trouble because of his radical political views.[ii] In 1847, together with fellow German, Freidrich Engels, Marx wrote The Communist Manifesto. The Central Authority of the Communist League approved The Communist Manifesto January of 1848, and the document began printing the next month.[iii] The manifesto was “inspired by the emergence of the modern working class, [he] developed a wholly new socialist outlook based upon the principle of socialism from below.”[iv] In Marx’s version of socialism, there were two central themes, one of which was that the working class had to liberate themselves from their oppressors, and the other involved the working people overthrowing their current government to create a new, democratic society for themselves.[v]
Summary of Section 1
Marx begins by showing that throughout all of history humans have divided themselves into certain ranks or classes. For example, in the Middle Ages social divisions were “feudal lords, vassals, guild-masters, journeymen, apprentices, [and] serfs.”[vi] As long as social stratification has existed, one group or groups have been the oppressor while another group or groups have been the oppressed. The fight that exists between the oppressed and the oppressor is destine to end reconstruction of society triggered by revoluti...
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...o of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.. New York: Russell and Russell, 1963.
[xxvi] Brians, Paul. Study Guide for The Communist Manifesto. 15 March 2002 <http://www.wsu.edu:8080/ ~brians/ hum_303/manifesto.html>.
Study Guide for The Communist Manifesto.
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