Karl Marx's Contributions to Society and Politic

“The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.” - Karl Marx (Theses on Feuerbach 1888).

Karl Marx, the third eldest child of Heinrich and Henrietta Marx, was born on May 5th, 1818 in Trier, Prussia a town then part of the Kingdom of Prussia's Province of the Lower Rhine. Marx was raised in a bourgeois household and home schooled until the age of twelve. He was later sent to spend five years at the Jesuit High School in Trier named the Friedrich-Wilhelm Gymnasium.

After graduating high school, Marx attended the University of Bonn which at the time had a defiant, vivacious culture which Marx enthusiastically embraced. While at the University of Berlin, Marx was introduced to the Philosophy of Georg Wilhelm Hegel, where he became involved with the Young Hegelians. The Young Hegelians were a radical group of students that challenged and upbraided religious establishments and the Prussian Political System. Among these antireligious, anarchistic intellectuals were Bruno Bauer, Edgar Bauer, and Max Stirner. All three influenced Marx to abandon law and devote his time to philosophy. During his student years, Marx envisioned himself occupying a teaching career in Philosophy, but his dreams were put on hold after the authorities dismissed him because of his controversial views on society.

In 1847, the recently established Communist League in London, England commissioned Karl Marx and Friedrich Engel to write The Communist Manifesto, a document that would represent the aims and credences of the Communist League. This document, which was published the following year, depicted society as a perpetual clash between economic classes, and even predicted that the proletarian uprising would abolish the capitalist economic system. With these revolutionary concepts permeating Europe, Marx moved to London, where he would reside for the rest of his life. Instead of getting more involved in his communist ideology, Marx decided to focus more on his economic theories. In 1867, Marx published Das Capital, which was one of his major works that expounded his theory of capitalism, it's efficacy, and its self-destructive tendencies. Karl Marx died at the young age of 68 due to pleurisy, an inflammation of the tissues that line the lungs and chest cavity.

Contribution to Sociology: Conflict Theory and the Communist Manifesto

Despite dying at such a young age, Marx impacted the world in such an influential way by sharing his revolutionary perspective on life and providing theories that shaped society to what it is today. One of the greatest concepts that Karl Marx contributed to society was Conflict Theory. Unlike Structural Functionalism, Conflict Theory proposes that society is in a state of perpetual conflict because of competition over scarce resources. It additionally depicts society separated by economic class between the proletariat working class and bourgeoisie ruling class. Conflict Theory additionally states that the most ascendant groups in the social hierarchy will always utilize their power to control the more impotent groups of society. The reason that Conflict Theory is paramount to society is that it enables us to apply it to certain contexts in order to predict social phenomena. In addition, it elucidates how society works, showing people their true position in society, and how people can become a useful part of it.

Not only did Karl Marx develop Conflict Theory but he additionally wrote the Communist Manifesto which was divided into four sections and a preamble. The first section contains Marx’s argument that history is the result of material technology rather than ideas; the second section expresses the will of the party to forfend the mundane fascinates of the world’s working class; the third section distinguishes communism from other sorts of socialist ideologies widespread at the time; and the last section discusses the communist way of supporting revolutions that will forcibly overthrow existing social conditions. The Communist Manifesto was a great step in establishing a form of government that would disregard economic and social class and helped unite other people that had the same ideology as the Communist League. Contemporary political theorists consider this work of Marx to be a “valuable insight into the society in which we live today as well as an explanation for today’s world of recurrent wars and repeated economic crisis” which makes it one of the most influential political manuscripts in the world. 


All in all, Karl Marx greatly impacted the field of sociology with his different views on society and quite unorthodox political arguments on how the government should be structured which showed us a different, revolutionary perspective of the world.

07 July 2022
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