• born on May 5th, 1818 to a Jewish/Lutheran family in Trier, Rhenish Prussia (Germany)
• father officially converted to the state religion of Lutheranism to work as a lawyer (Jews were barred from practice)
• baptized Lutheran 1824 and went to a Lutheran school
• family was said to be’ non-religious’ at home
• he actually identified himself as atheist as an adult (as influenced by GWF Hegel)
• coined the term: “religion is the opium of the masses”
• studied law in addition to the “classics” (history, literature including Shakespeare, math, politics, ethics, religion, philosophy, French, Greek and Latin)
• he apparently partied too much at university 😉
• he was able to read in Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Scandinavian, Russian and English
• although he aspired to become a poet/dramatist he was forbidden to follow this path by his father (who was paying for his university) & became philosopher/economist
• awarded a doctorate in philosophy in1841 from the University of Berlin
• he was expelled from France, Belgium and Prussia for publishing his radical ideas and although denied citizenship he was allowed to live in England, where he lived in London until his death as a stateless exile
• he married his childhood sweetheart & had 7 children (only 3 survived to adulthood) before he lost her to cancer in 1881 & left him heart broken
• was NOT the founder of communism it was an ideology/philosophy that has existed since Plato the first Christians are said to have practiced communism. Sir Thomas More advocated for communism in 1516
• Co-Authored the Communist Manifesto in 1848 with Friedrich Engels
• published Das Kapital in 1867
• died in his armchair in London in 1883
• there ARE other forms of communism: anarcho-communism; Christian communism; new-age communism, etc
“Communism,” Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2007http://encarta.msn.com/ © 1997-2007 Microsoft Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
Josh McDowell & Don Stewart. Understanding Secular Religions. Here’s Life Publishers, Inc.: San Bernardino. 1982.
Michael H. Hart, The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History, Hart Publishing Company, New York City. 1978.
Manuel, Frank Edward. A Requiem for Karl Marx. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1995.
Strathern, Paul. Marx in 90 Minutes. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2001.
Wheen, Francis. Karl Marx: A Life. New York: Norton, 2000.