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German philosopher and revolutionary socialist Karl Marx published The Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital, anticapitalist works that form the basis of Marxism.
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Karl Marx began exploring sociopolitical theories at university among the Young Hegelians. In 1848, he published The Communist Manifesto with Friedrich Engels and was exiled to London, where he wrote the first volume of Das Kapital.
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He began to work as a journalist, and in 1842, he became the editor of Rheinische Zeitung, a liberal newspaper in Cologne. Just one year later, the government ordered the newspaper’s suppression, effective April 1, 1843. Marx resigned on March 18th. Three months later, in June, he finally married Jenny von Westphalen, and in October, they moved to Paris.
Paris was the political heart of Europe in 1843. There, along with Arnold Ruge, Marx founded a political journal titled Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher (German-French Annals). Only a single issue was published before philosophical differences between Marx and Ruge resulted in its demise, but in August of 1844, the journal brought Marx together with a contributor, Friedrich Engels, who would become his collaborator and lifelong friend. Together, the two began writing a criticism of the philosophy of Bruno Bauer, a Young Hegelian and former friend of Marx’s. The result of Marx and Engels’s first collaboration was published in 1845 as The Holy Family.
Later that year, Marx moved to Belgium after being expelled from France while writing for another radical newspaper, Vorwärts!, which had strong ties to an organization that would later become the Communist League.
In Brussels, Marx was introduced to socialism by Moses Hess, and finally broke off from the philosophy of the Young Hegelians completely. While there, he wrote The German Ideology, in which he first developed his theory on historical materialism. Marx couldn’t find a willing publisher, however, and The German Ideology -- along with Theses on Feuerbach, which was also written during this time -- were not published until after his death.
At the beginning of 1846, Marx founded a Communist Correspondence Committee in an attempt to link socialists from around Europe. Inspired by his ideas, socialists in England held a conference and formed the Communist League, and in 1847 at a Central Committee meeting in London, the organization asked Marx and Engels to write Manifest der Kommunistischen Partei (Manifesto of the Communist Party).
The Communist Manifesto, as this work is commonly known, was published in 1848, and shortly after, in 1849, Marx was expelled from Belgium. He went to France, anticipating a socialist revolution, but was deported from there as well. Prussia refused to renaturalize him, so Marx moved to London. Although Britain denied him citizenship, he remained in London until his death.
In London, Marx helped found the German Workers’ Educational Society, as well as a new headquarters for the Communist League. He continued to work as a journalist, including a 10-year stint as a correspondent for the New York Daily Tribune from 1852 to 1862, but he never earned a living wage and was largely supported by Engels.
Marx became increasingly focused on capitalism and economic theory, and in 1867, he published the first volume of Das Kapital. The rest of his life was spent writing and revising manuscripts for additional volumes, which he did not complete.
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