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Karl Marx

Karl Marx 001.jpg
Karl Marx in 1875
Born (1818-05-05)5 May 1818
Trier, Grand Duchy of the Lower Rhine, Kingdom of Prussia (now Trier, Germany)
Died 14 March 1883(1883-03-14) (aged 64)
Resting place Tomb of Karl Marx, Highgate Cemetery, London, England, United Kingdom
  • Prussian (1818–1845)
  • Stateless (after 1845)
Jenny von Westphalen
(m. 1843; died 1881)
Children 7, including Jenny, Laura, and Eleanor
  • Heinrich Marx (father)
  • Henriette Pressburg (mother)
  • Louise Juta (sister)
  • Jean Longuet (grandson)

Philosophy career
Alma mater
Era 19th-century philosophy
Region Western philosophy
  • Continental philosophy
  • Marxism
  • Correspondence theory of truth
Main interests
Philosophy, economics, history, politics
Notable ideas
Marxist terminology, surplus value, contributions to the labour theory of value, class struggle, alienation and exploitation of the worker, materialist conception of history
Karl Marx Signature.svg

Karl Marx (5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German philosopher, economist, historian, sociologist, political theorist, journalist and socialist revolutionary.


Born in Trier, Germany, Marx studied law and philosophy at university. He married Jenny von Westphalen in 1843. Due to his political publications, Marx became stateless and lived in exile with his wife and children in London for decades, where he continued to develop his thought in collaboration with German thinker Friedrich Engels and publish his writings, researching in the reading room of the British Museum.

Büste Karl Marx
Bust of Karl Marx, in the garden of his place of birth in Trier (Germany)

His best-known titles are the 1848 pamphlet, The Communist Manifesto, and the three-volume Das Kapital. His political and philosophical thought had enormous influence on future intellectual, economic and political history and his name has been used as an adjective, a noun and a school of social theory.

Marx's theories about society, economics and politics – collectively understood as Marxism – hold that human societies develop through class struggle. In capitalism, this manifests itself in the conflict between the ruling classes (known as the bourgeoisie) that control the means of production and the working classes (known as the proletariat) that enable these means by selling their labour power in return for wages.

Trier Karl Marx Statue BW 2018-05-12 16-41-31
Germany, Trier, Statue of Karl Marx

Employing a critical approach known as historical materialism, Marx predicted that, like previous economic systems, capitalism produced internal tensions which would lead to its self-destruction and replacement by a new system: socialism. Marx actively argued that the working class should carry out organised revolutionary action to topple capitalism.

Marx's ideas have had a profound impact on world politics and intellectual thought. Followers of Marx have often debated amongst themselves over how to interpret Marx's writings and apply his concepts to the modern world.

Marx has been described as one of the most influential figures in human history, and his work has been both highly praised and criticised. Many intellectuals, labour unions, artists and political parties worldwide have been influenced by Marx's work, with many modifying or adapting his ideas. Marx is typically cited as one of the principal architects of modern social science.


The Soviet Union 1968 CPA 3627 stamp (Karl Marx)
150th Birth Anniversary of Scientific Communism Founder Karl Marx stamp

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), dying a stateless person. Family and friends in London buried his body in Highgate Cemetery (East), London, on 17 March 1883 in an area reserved for agnostics and atheists. Marx and his family were reburied on a new site nearby in November 1954. The tomb at the new site, unveiled on 14 March 1956, bears the carved message: "Workers of All Lands Unite".

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