Area of inquiry: Karl Marx and his Communist Manifesto.
Karl Heinrich Marx was born in Trier on the river Moselle in Germany on May 5, 1818. At the age of seventeen, Marx enrolled in the Faculty of Law at the University of Bonn. At Bonn he became engaged to Jenny von Westphalen. The following year Marx's father sent him to the more serious University of Berlin where he remained four years, at which time he abandoned his romanticism for the Hegelianism which ruled in Berlin at the time.
Marx became a member of the Young Hegelian movement. This group, produced a radical analysis of Christianity and became, the liberal opposition to the Prussian autocracy. Marx moved into journalism and, in October 1842, became editor of a liberal newspaper backed by industrialists. Marx's articles, particularly those on economic questions, forced the Prussian government to close the paper. Marx then immigrated to France. Arriving in Paris at the end of 1843, Marx quickly made contact with organized groups of immigrant German workers and with various sects of French socialists. It was in Paris that Marx developed his lifelong partnership with Friedrich Engels.
Marx began studying history and elaborated what came to be known as the materialist conception of history. Marx traced the history of the various forms of production and predicted the collapse of the present one -- industrial capitalism -- and its replacement by communism. At the same time Marx joined the Communist League. This was an organization of German workers, with its center in London, of which Marx and Engels became the major theoreticians. At a conference of the League in London at the end of 1847 Marx and Engels were commissioned to write a succinct declaration of their position. Scarcely was The Communist Manifesto was published scarcely in 1848 before an 1848 wave of revolutions broke out in Europe. Now it is one of the most widely read.