The Ideas of Karl Marx and The Communist Manifesto
It has been shown by many historians, scientists, and psychologists that people are affected by the world around them. This is exactly what caused Karl Marx to write his Communist Manifesto. The living conditions of the working class-his proletariat, as well as that of the bourgeoisie (the upper class) must have had a profound effect on his views and ideals. In France the living conditions spawned from the actions of the current economy and ruling body. Some of these conditions included poor waste management and the spreading of diseases. Enlightenment ideas developing in France brought him to the theory of socialism, a radical change to self-rule. While maybe not as influential as his Communist Manifesto, Enlightenment ideas also begged Marx to answer questions about what it means to be human. He came up with an answer to go with these questions and he put those answers in his revolutionary Communist Manifesto. Marx’s conceptions of what it means to be human were in direct correlation to the world in which he was living in. The proletariat, bourgeoisie, economy, ruling body, and Enlightenment all affected the views he had on what it meant to be human.
A small historical background on Marx is beneficial to understanding the views he holds. Marx was born in 1818 during the destabilizing effects of Industrial Revolution and by the ideological and political forces unleashed by the Enlightenment and the French Revolution. His commitment to radical social change and atheism were still unpopular to the authorities of his home, Trier, Prussia. Marx then moved to France, where he married his childhood friend, Jenny von Westphalen, daughter to a prominent government official from whom much of his funds came. This allowed Marx to concentrate on his musing of social change and reform. After Marx’s essays generated controversy in France so, he moved to Brussels in 1845. In Brussels he would write his famous Communist Manifesto. Marx believed the 1848 revolution as the opening to the communist revolution of which he had spoken. This, however, was not the case and he was again forced to move, this time to London, where he would remain for the rest of his life.
Marx, having grown up during the time of industrial revolution, was no stranger to the poor, unhealthy working class. His interest in history and radical social change led him to the age-old struggle between the peasants, and the suppressing monarchs and nobles. This is clearly apparent in his Communist Manifesto, where Marx begins his document with a historical explanation for the rise of the bourgeoisie and its struggle with the working class. Marx explains that the serfs and peasants of the Middle Ages have become the proletariat of his time. Capitalism has triumphed, and the government has taken a hands-off approach to the free market. To keep workers from being lazy in this...