The founder of Marxism, Karl (Heinrich) Marx, son of Justizrat Heinrich Marx, originally Marx Levi, was born in Trier on May 5, 1818. In 1824 the Marx family converted to Protestantism. From 1835 to 1841 Karl Marx studied political science, philosophy and history in Bonn and Berlin, where Marx joined the Jungian-Hegelian movement. In 1842-43 Karl Marx worked as an editor for the liberal "Rheinische Zeitung" in Cologne.
In 1843 Karl Marx and Jenny von Westphalen married and moved to Paris, as he lost his editing position due to his radicalism. In Paris Karl Marx wanted to publish the "Deutsch-Französischen Jahrbücher" together with Arnold Ruge, which were a sequel to the banned "Deutsche Jahrbücher". He studied Socialism and Communism in Paris and worked closely with Friedrich Engels. In 1845 Marx and Engels co-wrote "The Holy Family", Marx furthermore wrote "The German Ideology", which was first printed in 1926 and he developed the fundamental ideas for his theory.
Karl Marx was expelled by the Prussian government and went to Brussels, followed by Engels. In Brussels Marx published "Misére de la Philosophie", a treatise against the bourgeois Socialism of Proudhon in 1847.
In 1848 Karl Marx presented the basics of a labor theory of value and a surplus approach building on D. Ricardo in "Discours sur la question du Libre Echange". In 1847 Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels founded the "Deutscher Arbeiter-Bildungsverein" and the "Association démocratique" in Brussels, which had links to the London Communist "League of the Righteous". The "League of the Righteous" asked Karl Marx to write a manifesto for their re-formation as "Communist League" in 1847, which he did together with Engels. They wrote the "Communist Manifesto" in 1848, a radical criticism of the bourgeois social and economic order and a call upon the international proletariat for class struggle.
In the revolutionary year of 1848 Marx was expelled from Brussels and went to Cologne, where he reshaped the"'Neue Rheinische Zeitung" in a left-wing democratic spirit. After the suppression of the paper Karl Marx went to London, where Friedrich Engels supported him in his scientific work.
Marx was a leading member of the "First International" founded in London in 1864. There he also wrote his main pieces "The 18th Brumaire of Napoleon" (1852), "Preface to a Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy" (1859), and most importantly "Capital" (1867, volumes 2 and 3, published by Friedrich Engels, 1885-94).
Karl Marx also contributed to Horace Greenley's "New York Tribune" and the "New American Cyclopedia". On May 5, 1875 Marx wrote "Critique of the Gotha Program" (printed in 1890/91) a criticism of the reshaped socialist workers' party in Germany and "Le programme du parti ouvrier" for Guesdes party in 1883.
In 1871 Marx reported on the communist uprising in "The Civil War in France". On March 14, 1883 Karl Marx died in London.