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Karl Marx

His father Heinrich Marx was a lawyer by profession and the descendant of a long line of Rabbis. His mother, Henriette Presburg Marx, had a very similar genealogy as well. Hienrich Marx had to convert to Lutheranianism just before Karl was born because Jews were not allowed to practice law at the time. Karl was also baptized in the same church at the age of six in the year 1824. Karl was also sent to a Lutheran elementary school in his early years. He attended the Friedrich Wilhelm Gymnasium in Trier and graduated in 1835 at the age of 17 having studied for 5 years. In school, Karl excelled in languages and learned to read, write and speak both Latin and French very fluently. His language learning abilities would not abandon him throughout his life as later on he taught himself to read and write various European languages such as English, Scandinavian, Russian, Italian, Dutch and Spanish. After completing school, Marx enrolled in Bonn University in Bonn to study law and fulfill his father’s wish. Marx did not want to study law and was more interested in philosophy and literature so he spent most of his time at Bonn drinking a lot and partying. He also piled up a mountain of debt during his time at Bonn University. (Encyclopedia of World Biography) He also got engaged to Jenny von Westphalen in his time at Bonn. Jenny was the daughter of Baron von Westphalen, who was a notable member of the Trier society. Marx became also started reading up on and became interested in Sino-Simonian politics and Romantic literature on the advice of his to-be father-in-law. (Kreis) Karl then moved to Berlin where he joined the University of Berlin. It was here in Berlin that Marx started blossoming into the radical philosopher who would go on to shake the roots of Europe. The University of Berlin was a hot bed of brilliant thinkers who were debating and challenging existing ideas and institutions, including ethics, religion, philosophy etc. Marx joined these philosophers and studied in Berlin for four years and finally finished with a doctorate in 1841. It was during his time in Berlin that Marx abandoned romanticism for Hegelianism. (Kreis) After completing his studies, Marx started preaching his radical ideas through a newspaper which was soon shut down by the Prussian government and Marx was forced to migrate to France. In France, Marx became active as soon as he reached and soon became a communist. He also met Friedrich Engels in Paris who would later become a lifelong ally. Marx was soon expelled from Paris as well and had to move to Brussels. In Brussels Marx worked further on his concept of Communism and gave the materialist conception of history. He later wrote The Communist Manifesto in 1848 and the industrial revolution broke out in Europe at the same time. Marx witnessed firsthand, the sufferings of workers all around Europe. Marx moved to Paris again in 1848 but was soon forced to move to London. In London Marx wrote his most famous book “Das Kapital”. Marx had 7 children, only 3 survived past childhood. Marx passed away quietly in his armchair on 14th March 1883. (Encyclopedia of World Biography) Contribution to Ethical Philosophy The major contribution that Karl Marx made to the study of ethics is his concept of Communism. Marx was a stark critic of the capitalist system and the concept of free trade and free markets. As mentioned above, Marx had witnessed firsthand, the sufferings of the labor class in England and the rest of Europe. Marx believed that the sufferings of the labor class were only symptoms of the extremes of inequality that Capitalism produces. Since the capitalist system offers only two sources of income: sale of one’ ...Show more


Far more than a philosopher, Karl Marx was a political leader and a revolutionary. He is the founder of modern “scientific” socialism, a view which presents the idea that in society no property should be held privately. …
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