Karl Marx and The Communist Manifesto.
Karl Marx was born on May 5, 1818 at Trier in Rhineland, which was then a part of Prussia. 1 The family was of Jewish faith, but Heinrich Marx registered as a Protestant Christian because Jews were not allowed to hold public office; Karl Marx did not strictly follow his Jewish faith, nor was he proud of it.2 Marx attends law school at the University of Bonn, and transfers to the University of Berlin, where he studied law, philosophy, and history.3 In 1842, Marx meets Engels through the Rhenish Gazette newspaper, which he was the editor of. 4 He marries Jenny von Westphalen in 1843 and has three children with her.5 He and Engels joined the Communist League in 1847 and they wrote The Communist Manifesto for the League's Second Congress.6 Because The Communist Manifesto would influence history forever, one must know what shaped and influenced Marx's ideas. .
Marx lived in a time of rapid social change in Europe. Many movements, ideas, and people helped form Marx's development of The Communist Manifesto. The Industrial Revolution had started in Britain and spread throughout Europe.7 With the Industrial Revolution many factories were built and the factory system was established. The French Revolution of 1789 and the Napoleonic wars led to the downfall of the monarchy and the feudalism throughout much of Europe.8 Because of the Industrial Revolution, many farmers could perform twice the work in half the time with half the workers needed. This led to high unemployment rates and relocation to the cities. Families were desperate for work, which then led to horrible working conditions and low wages. The workers wanting better working conditions formed unions.9 Marx was exiled to Paris because of his radical beliefs about Communism.10 Smulkstys notes the time he spent in Paris were "the most crucial period of Marx's formative years. Here he totally immersed himself in the study of contemporary social and economic literature.