German socialistic leader and political economist; born at Treves May 5, 1818; died in London March 14, 1883. His father, a practising attorney at the Landgericht, adopted Christianity in 1824. Marx attended the gymnasium at Treves and the universities of Bonn and Berlin, graduated as doctor of philosophy, and then turned to journalism, becoming in 1842 editor of the "Rheinische Zeitung für Politik, Handel und Gewerbe," which was founded by the Liberal party at Cologne. It was the most radical journal of the time in Germany. Marx became involved in a number of controversies, particularly with the "Oberpräsident" of the Rhine province, concerning the condition of the peasantry of the Moselle district; and in 1843 he resigned his editorial position to study political economy. In that year also he married Jenny, daughter of Baron von Westphal.
Shortly after the marriage Marx, on the invitation of Arnold Ruge, went to Paris to aid in the publication of the "Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher," of which, however, only one (double) number was issued (1844). It contained, besides other matter, the celebrated "Lobgesänge auf den König von Bayern," by Heine, and two articles by Marx himself, "Zur Kritik der Hegel'schen Rechtsphilosophie" and "Zur Judenfrage."
After the publication of the "Jahrbücher," Marx became associated with the "Vorwärts," also published in Paris. The Prussian government intimated to that of France its displeasure at certain utterances of the "Vorwärts"; and Guizot ordered those of its editors who were not French citizens to leave the country. An interpellation in the French Chamber led to a revocation of the order; but Marx decided to leave Paris, and in 1845 he went to Brussels.
In Paris Marx had become intimately connected with the Bund der Gerechten, which had been founded in Paris in 1836, and which afterward became the Kommunistenbund. Its leaders in London corresponded with him; and they formed a branch in Brussels from which to send representativesto the congress to be held in London in the summer and fall of 1847. Marx attended in November, and after expounding his ideas in a number of addresses, the "Kommunistische Manifest," prepared by himself and Engels, was finally adopted, its concluding words, "Proletarier aller Länder, vereiniget Euch!" becoming the battle-cry of the laboring classes throughout the world. Upon the outbreak of the Paris revolution, in Feb., 1848, Marx prepared to go to the scene of conflict, but was arrested and forced to return to Germany. From June 1, 1848, he edited the "Neue Rheinische Zeitung." As leader of the left wing of the democratic movement of the Rhine province he was an important factor in the revolution. He was a member of the Rheinische Kreisausschuss der Demokraten, and with Schaffer and Schneider, as a committee of the organization, signed a proclamation (Nov., 1848) in which the members of the Democratic Association were advised to resist the collection of all taxes and to organize a military force. Marx and his associates were arrested and placed on trial for incitement to rebellion; but a jury acquitted them. In 1849 the government felt itself strong enough to order his banishment (May 16); and he went once more to France.
When Marx arrived in Paris a number of petty revolutions were ripe, in which he undoubtedly took part, although his share in them does not seem clear. When the demonstration of June 13 came to an end he was directed to leave France; and he then sought refuge in England.
Freed from agitation and revolution, Marx had now about fourteen years of peaceful literary activity. He frequently contributed to the Anglo-American press. On Sept. 24, 1864, a great meeting was held in London, at which Professor Beesly, the positivist, presided, and it was finally determined to establish a permanent organization of the working people of the civilized world. The International Working Men's Association was thus founded. Mazzini and Marx were entrusted with the task of preparing the address and the constitution; and at the congress held in Geneva in 1866 the report of Marx was adopted. Until 1872 Marx dominated the organization at the congresses and in the executive committee. His purpose was that of propaganda alone; but the mistake of the leaders was that the influence of the association was not exerted to hinder the Paris Commune in 1871. Marx himself was guilty of an even worse mistake: he actually approved the Commune's operations, in his pamphlet "Der Bürgerkrieg in Frankreich," published in 1871 and reissued in 1876. In order to dissolve the Internationale without giving his opponents a chance to reorganize it, he in 1872 transferred the seat of the general council to New York, in care of his faithful follower F. A. Sorge; and so the association came to an end.
The great work of Marx's life, and that with which his fame is most enduringly identified, is "Das Kapital," of which the first volume was published in 1873; the second, edited by Engels, in 1885; and the third, in 1894. Of the first (4th ed., 1892) an English translation by Moore and Aveling was issued in London in 1886.
- Gustav Gross, Karl Marx, Leipsic, 1885;
- Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk, Karl Marx, transl. by Alice M. MacDonald, London, 1892;
- Georg Adler, Die Grundlagen der Karl Marx'schen Kritik der Bestehenden Volkswirthschaft, Tübingen, 1887 (contains a bibliography of Marx's writings);
- E. Aveling. The Student's Marx, London, 1892;
- Slonimski, Karl Marx' Nationalökonomische Irrlehren, transl. from the Russian, Berlin, 1897.