Friedrich Engels

Marx and Engels Das Kapital and The Communist Manifesto

Easton Press Friedrich Engels books

The Communist Manifesto and Other Writings - Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx - 2005

Franklin Library Friedrich Engels books

Das Kapital and The Communist Manifesto - Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx - Great Books of the Western World - 1984


Friedrich Engels biography

Friedrich Engels (November 28, 1820 – August 5, 1895) was a German philosopher, social scientist, and political theorist, best known for his collaboration with Karl Marx in developing the foundational ideas of modern communism. Born in Barmen, Prussia (now part of Wuppertal, Germany), Engels came from a prosperous industrialist family. His early exposure to the working conditions and social inequality resulting from the Industrial Revolution deeply influenced his later intellectual pursuits. Engels' life took a decisive turn when he moved to Manchester, England, to work in the family's textile business. There, he witnessed firsthand the harsh realities of industrial capitalism, observing the deplorable living and working conditions of the proletariat. These experiences fueled his interest in social issues and class struggle.

In 1844, Engels met Karl Marx in Paris, marking the beginning of a profound intellectual partnership. The two collaborated on several works, most notably the groundbreaking The Communist Manifesto (1848), which laid out the principles of communism and called for the working class to unite against the bourgeoisie. Engels also co-authored Das Kapital, Marx's seminal work on political economy. Engels' own contributions to Marxist theory include his work The Condition of the Working Class in England (1845), where he provided a detailed analysis of the industrial working class's living conditions. His keen observations and sociological insights in this work established Engels as a significant figure in the early development of social science.

The Condition of the Working Class in England" is a seminal work by Friedrich Engels, published in 1845. In this book, Engels provides a detailed and vivid account of the social and economic conditions of the working class during the early years of the Industrial Revolution in England. Engels conducted extensive research and drew upon his own observations, as well as statistical data and reports, to offer a comprehensive analysis of the hardships faced by the industrial proletariat.

Friedrich Engels believed that communism would not take root in the United States because the working class in the United States enjoyed relatively better living standards compared to their European counterparts. He believed that the American working class, thanks to the economic prosperity of the country, had less urgency to revolt against their conditions as the European proletariat did. Engels recognized the democratic political system in the United States as a potential obstacle to revolutionary change. He argued that the workers in the U.S. had more peaceful means at their disposal, such as participating in elections and influencing legislation, to address their grievances compared to the workers in more autocratic European societies. Engels also pointed out that the absence of a significant feudal legacy in the United States meant that there was less historical baggage, and the transition to socialism might not follow the same path as it did in Europe.

It's important to note that Engels' views were contextual to the time and circumstances he was living in. Since his death in 1895, the world and the dynamics of socialist movements have evolved. Although full-fledged communism would not take root in the United States, the reasons for this are complex and multifaceted, involving economic, political, and cultural factors.

After Marx's death in 1883, Engels dedicated himself to editing and organizing Marx's unfinished manuscripts. He also wrote several works independently, such as The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State (1884), in which he explored the historical development of the family and its connection to the rise of private property and class society. Friedrich Engels remained an influential figure in socialist and communist movements until his death in London on August 5, 1895. His intellectual legacy, coupled with that of Karl Marx, laid the groundwork for the development of Marxist theory and its impact on political and social movements worldwide. Engels' writings continue to be studied and debated, shaping discussions on class struggle, capitalism, and the pursuit of a more equitable society.


The Communist Manifesto

Published in 1848, at a time of political upheaval in Europe, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels’s Manifesto for the Communist Party was at once a powerful critique of capitalism and a radical call to arms. It remains the most incisive introduction to the ideas of Communism and the most lucid explanation of its aims. Much of what it proposed continues to be at the heart of political debate into the 21st century. It is no surprise, perhaps, that The Communist Manifesto (as it was later renamed) is the second bestselling book of all time, surpassed only by the Bible.

Das Kapital (Capital: A Critique of Political Economy)

Capital by Karl Marx is a foundational theoretical text in materialist philosophy, economics and politics. Marx aimed to reveal the economic patterns underpinning the capitalist mode of production, in contrast to classical political economists such as Adam Smith, Jean-Baptiste Say, David Ricardo and John Stuart Mill. Marx did not live to publish the planned second and third parts, but they were both completed from his notes and published after his death by his colleague Friedrich Engels. Capital is the most cited book in the social sciences published before 1950.

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