Karl Marx was born on May 5th 1818 in Trier, Germany; Marx was a philosopher, economist, sociologist, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. Born to a middle-class family, he later studied political economy and Hegelian philosophy.
Marx has been described as one of the most influential figures in human history, His work in economics laid the basis for much of the current understanding of labor and its relation to capital. His achievements have influenced successive intellectual, economic, and political history.
Marx’s theories about society, economics and politics—collectively understood as Marxism—hold that human societies develop through class struggle: a conflict between ruling classes (known as the bourgeoisie) that control the means of production and working classes (known as the proletariat) that work on these means by selling their labor for wages. Through his theories of alienation, value, commodity fetishism, and surplus value, Marx argued that capitalism facilitated social relations and ideology through commodification, inequality, and the exploitation of labor. Employing a critical approach known as historical materialism, Marx propounded the theory of base and superstructure, asserting that the cultural and political conditions of society, as well as its notions of human nature, are largely determined by obscured economic foundations.
Marx is typically cited as one of the principal architects of modern sociology and social science. As an adult, Marx became stateless and spent much of his life in London, England, where he continued to develop his thought in collaboration with German thinker Friedrich Engels and published various works, the most well-known being the 1848 pamphlet The Communist Manifesto.
His wife, Jenny, in December 1881, Marx developed a catarrh that kept him in ill health for the last 15 months of his life. It eventually brought on the bronchitis and pleurisy that killed him in London on 14 March 1883 (age 64). He died a stateless person; family and friends in London buried his body in Highgate Cemetery, London, on 17 March 1883. There were between nine and eleven mourners at his funeral.
Several of his closest friends spoke at his funeral, including Wilhelm Liebknecht and Friedrich Engels. Engels’ speech included the passage:
On the 14th of March, at a quarter to three in the afternoon, the greatest living thinker ceased to think. He had been left alone for scarcely two minutes, and when we came back we found him in his armchair, peacefully gone to sleep—but forever. Marx’s surviving daughters Eleanor and Laura, as well as Charles Longuet and Paul Lafargue, Marx’s two French socialist sons-in-law, were also in attendance. He had been predeceased by his wife and his eldest daughter, the latter dying a few months earlier in January 1883.
Marx and his family were reburied on a new site nearby in November 1954. The memorial at the new site, unveiled on 14 March 1956, bears the carved message: “WORKERS OF ALL LANDS UNITE”,