Karl Marx (1818–1883) applied historical and scientific analysis to economic history and concluded that class struggle would lead to a dictatorship of the proletariat as a transition to the development of a classless society governed by the principles of communism. The charismatic Marx responded passionately to the suffering and injustices he observed and experienced during adulthood by participating in subversive political activities aimed at overthrowing existing political and economic power structures.

The Formation of a Radical

Marx grew up as the second son of nine children in Trier, Prussia, a city now in the western part of Germany. His paternal and maternal grandfathers were both Jewish rabbis. His well-to-do middle-class father converted the entire family to Lutheranism, the state’s dominant religion, when Marx was 6 years old, ...

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