Biography of Karl Marx
Karl Marx was a professional intellectual and philosopher. Throughout Marx's life, chance meetings with other professional intellectuals and philosophers helped guide Marx to his final destination. Although Marx died in March of 1883, some 122 years ago, his theories are still being studied, and in some cases, used in some governments. In his lifetime Marx explored many different social settings and groups. His final accumulation of work can be found in his Communist Manifesto, which he co-authored with Fredrick Engels. Although very meager at times, Marx lived an extraordinary life.
Karl Marx was born on May 5, 1818 in Trier Rheinish Prussia (Germany). Although his family was ultimately Jewish, Karl's father, Hirschel Marx, changed the family's religion to Protestant to avoid anti-Semitism. Later, to avoid further persecution, Hirschel changed his name to Heinrich 1. Young Karl was raised mostly in Prussia. Once he had graduated from the Gymnasium, today's equivalent of high school, Marx entered Bonn University to continue his education and follow in his father's footsteps as a lawyer. While at Bonn, Karl spent much of his time socializing and running up large debts. Karl was once wounded during a duel, because a debt collector2.
After hearing about Karl's attitude towards higher education, Heinrich paid off his son's depts. However the injury involving the duel made Heinrich insist that Karl no longer attend Bonn, but instead move to Berlin and attend the University of Berlin. While in Berlin, Karl met a lecturer named Bruno Bauer. While under Bauer's influence, Marx was introduced to the writings of G.W.F. Hegel, whom had been a fellow lecturer with Bauer at Berlin. Marx became enveloped in Hegel's theories, especially his theory of "a thing or thought could not be separated from it's opposite.²" Marx was beginning to understand and agree with Hegel's teachings of dialectical structure and historical inevitability ³.
In 1883, the patriarch of the Marx family, Heinrich Marx, died. With his fathers' death, Karl now had to learn how to make his own living. Not being someone who ever "got his hands dirty," Marx decided to become a lecturer at the university level. Once finished with his doctorial thesis on the philosophy of Epicurus, Karl turned to his mentor, Bruno Bauer, whom he hoped would be able to help him get a job as a professor at Bonn. Marx was soon notified that Bauer had been removed from his position due to his outspoken atheism ². Marx was unable to find a position due to his connections with Bauer. Marx's connections with Bauer were not the only problem keeping him from receiving a lecture's job; Marx had joined a group called the "Left Hegelians." This circle of intellectuals sought to draw atheistic and revolutionary conclusions from Hegel's philosophy ³. Marx soon decided on a profession; journalism. He soon found...