This October, the OUP Philosophy team are highlighting German social and political theorist Karl Heinrich Marx (5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) as their Philosopher of the Month. Known as the founder of revolutionary communism, Marx is credited as one of the most influential thinkers for his theoretical framework, widely known as Marxism.
Born in Trier, Germany, Marx studied law at the university of Bonn, then history and philosophy at Berlin. After completing his doctorate in classical philosophy from the University of Jena, Marx became a journalist for a radical bourgeois newspaper called Rheinische Zeitung. Ultimately frustrated by the political suppression and censorship he faced in both his academic and journalistic careers, Marx moved to France and then Belgium. After the Revolutions of 1848 failed, Marx settled in London in 1849. It was here that he produced his major works on political economy, including the three volumes of Capital (1867-1894). He developed bronchitis and died in London, England in 1883.
Marx is widely known for authoring The Communist Manifesto in 1848 with Friedrich Engels. The Manifesto became the primary source of the communist doctrine, and established the goals and strategy for the working-class movement. Despite Marx’s suggestion to shelve the work when the Revolutions of 1848 failed, the Manifesto continued a global communist movement well throughout the 20th century.
Featured image credit: The Bundestag Flag Monument, Berlin, by Kamyq. Public Domain via Pixabay.