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Friday, November 21, 2014

Karl Marx's Influences (3 of 4)


Karl Marx had two main influences: G.W.F Hegel and Jean-Jacques Rousseau.  As I mentioned in a previous post Marx became interested in Hegel when he began studying at the University of Berlin.  Marx even became a part of the Young Hegelians.  The Young Hegelians were a group of German individuals who studied and wrote about Hegel’s work after Hegel’s death.

Hegel believed that history would happen a certain way which influenced Marx in his belief that history was a series of class struggles.  This would eventually led to Marx’s developing his theory of the bourgeoisie versus the proletariat and the revolution that he thought would take place between these two social classes.

Karl Marx took from Hegel that progression in society is unavoidable.  However Marx thought that this was because of the economy.  Hegel also saw history as a pattern and not just a series of unrelated events, which Marx also included into his theories of economics and society.

Another philosopher that influenced the ideas of Karl Marx was Jean-Jacques Rousseau.  The Social Contract is one of Rousseau’s well-known works.  In The Social Contract Rousseau outlines the best way for man to be treated in society.  Rousseau’s famous quote from this work is “Man was born free, and everywhere he is in chains”.

Though it is not clearly stated that Rousseau influenced Marx’s ideas, one can speculate this because in Marx’s book The Communist Manifesto Marx states, “the workers had nothing to lose but their chains”.

Karl Marx’s influences information came from the Little History of Philosophy textbook.


By: Lauren Williams Section 9 Group 3

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