Marx begins the Communist Manifesto with his famous generalization that "the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles" (9). He distinguishes these classes in terms of two parties, one party as oppressor, the other as oppressed. In history human societies have mainly been organized according to complex class hierarchies consisting of many members. The demise of feudalism in response to the French Revolution brought on a simplification of class antagonism, dividing society into only two classes: Bourgeoisie and Proletariat.
A long historical process is the result of the affairs occurring at this time. At the discovery of the New World in the 16th and 17th centuries new methods of production and exchange were required in order to move forward. There was a demand for more efficient, larger scale production, and the medieval guild system was replaced by new methods of manufacturing. As industrialization occurred it was the Bourgeoisie (Capitalists) who were leaders in economic revolutions. As the Bourgeoisie gained economic power they also gained political power. In the middle of the 19th century they had come to control the representative states of Europe. In the book Marx proclaims the "the executive of the modern State is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole Bourgeoisie" (11). Along with the political empowerment of the Bourgeoisie came the introduction of an ethic based on the absolute right to free trade and pursuit of profit. For the Bourgeoisie it wasn't merely enough to change the past, but it must also constantly change the present in order to expand its markets. In response to this the nations are pressured toward globalization, which demands that they adhere to Bourgeoisie practice. As Marx states in the Manifesto, in this way the Bourgeoisie "create the world after their own image" (84). .
Marx substantiates his central theme in the above story of the Bourgeoisie.