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Karl Marx

Journalist, political economist, philosopher; Born: May 5, 1818 in Trier, Germany; Died: March 14, 1883 in London

Headshot of Karl Marx


  • Abitur, Gymnasium Trier, 1835
  • Ph.D., University of Jena, 1841

Karl Marx (1818-1883), philosopher, political thinker, journalist, and author of the Manifesto of the Communist Party (1848) and The Capital (1867-83) Marx took several years of Greek and Latin in high school. Photocopies of essays he wrote in these languages for his exit exams [Abitur] in 1835 are available in the Museum Karl-Marx-Haus in Trier (Germany), where he was born.

Marx studied law, history, and philosophy in Bonn and Berlin. Warned that the Berlin faculty was biased against him because of his reputation as a radical Young Hegelian, Marx submitted his Ph.D. thesis, a dissertation on ancient Greek philosophy entitled The Difference between the Democritean and Epicurean Philosophy of Nature, to the University of Jena and he received his Ph.D. "in absentia" in 1841.

As political editor of the liberal Rheinische Zeitung in Cologne, Marx fled to Paris when this paper was banned in 1843. Later, he had to move on to Belgium. In Brussels, he and his friend, Friedrich Engels, wrote the Communist Manifesto (February 1848), just before a democratic revolution broke out in Germany.

In 1849, Marx returned to Cologne for a couple of months and founded another newspaper, the Neue Rheinische Zeitung. But when the German democratic movement failed, he had to emigrate permanently. He spent the rest of his life in London, where he wrote his main work, The Capital (1867-1883).


Marx entry in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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