Biography of Friedrich Engels

There’s Engels Behind Marx: The Biography of Friedrich Engels

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So far, when we talk about Friedrich Engels, what immediately comes to mind is that he is a friend of Marx. A loyal friend of mine, whose friendship is not only amazing but also thrilling and changing the world. But who really Engels is, and what his role is in the international socialism movement, the Indonesian public doesn’t know much about.

In my research, dozens of biographies have been published since Engels’ death on August 5, 1895. Karl Kautsky wrote a brief history of Engels at the end of the 19th century. Then Lenin also wrote a brief history in the early 20th century. The most complete biography of Engels was written by the German historian Gustav Meyer in the 1920s. This two-volume biography is written in German. An abridged edition of the English translation was published in 1934, a year after Meyer managed to escape to London from the Nazis. After Meyer’s work was published, almost every decade a biography of Engels was published in various languages. At least, there are two types of biographies of Engels that have been written, namely biographies and critical biographies. The first type generally only describes Engels’ life journey from family origins to his death. Engels is shown here more as a person. The second type usually includes an analysis of Engels’ thought and work in the context of Engels’ intellectual journey. Included in this genre, for example, are the works of Terrell Carver,Engels , first published in 1981 (republished 2003) and by JD Hunley, The Life and Thought of Friedrich Engels (1991).

In the early decades of the 21st century, a fairly popular biography of Engels was published by Tristram Hunt, a historian and activist for the British Labor Party. The biography was first published in England under the title The Frock-Coated Communist: the revolutionary life of Friedrich Engels (2009), then an American edition appeared under the title Marx’s General: the revolutionary life of Friedrich Engels (2010), as well as a French translated edition entitled Engels. , le gentleman révolutionnaire(2011). This book leans towards the historical type of analysis, in which we can find in many places a critical analysis of the context of Engels’ thought and Engels’ role in the development of Marxism. Praised by Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm as ‘the best biography of one of the most attractive inhabitants of Victorian England, Marx’s friend, partner, and political heir,’ the book is a bestseller. His popularity indicates that people in Europe and America are starting to pay attention to Engels again.

In addition to Hunt’s writings, there is another biography that appeared at the end of the first decade of the 21st century, namely that of John Green, a journalist and documentary filmmaker. The title is Engels: a revolutionary life. Compared to Hunt’s, this book has received less attention. Maybe because it’s just a resume. The author is not a historian. I have this book as a gift from the author. By the end of 2011, I already had several of Engels’ biographies of the critical analysis type. I’m in the mood to read a biography of Engels which is just a biography of sorts. I emailed the author. Unexpectedly, the author replied and promised to send one of his books. Compared to the Engels biographies that I already have, this book provides information about Engels as a person I did not know before. Two of them are that Engels’ father was also Friedrich Engels and that the junior Engels had been a combat lieutenant in the working class troops in the 1848 revolution in Prussia.

What I write here, instead of a review, may be more accurately called a summary. Just to commemorate the birthday of Engels.

Friedrich Engels Before Meet Karl Marx

On November 28, 1820, Friedrich Engels, a businessman in the most industrialized city on the Prussian Rhineland at the time, Barmen, was waiting for his wife to give birth to their first child. The man hoped that his wife would give birth to a son. However, as the successor to the family business that his grandfather, Johann Caspar Engels, founded in the first half of the 18th century, Friedrich wanted his business to continue. His hopes were fulfilled. According to custom among the elite at that time, the first boy was named after himself: Friedrich Engels. The child grew up in the midst of the fast-paced family business. Since the 1830s, when the child was only 10 years old, the family business has expanded by jointly establishing a textile production and import-export business in the center of the world’s manufacturing industry, England.

Friedrich directed his son’s education so that he would later represent his business in England. Incidentally, her maternal grandfather, Elise, was a grammar school principal. At the gymnasium school, Engels junior studied Greco-Roman language and literature as well as German literature. Engels junior is an average student. Except for language, he had an affinity for science, and his rebellion against the bourgeois Christian culture of his city. In fact, before taking the graduation exam, junior Engels often wrote criticisms of the conditions of society and its elite morality under the pseudonym F. Oswald. Almost all major European languages ​​are mastered. He also enjoyed reading the works of Enlightenment thought and writers which he devoured, even though he had to steal time to read them. It was his mother who supported Engels junior’s passion for literature, science, and philosophy. The father, on the other hand, saw signs of danger in his son’s academic abilities and interests. He didn’t want his son to be clever. As the first son to inherit his own name, Friedrich insisted his son should be the successor of the family business. Therefore, before his son passed his final exams, in 1837 he sent him for an apprenticeship in the trading company of his friend Heinrich Leupold. There Engels junior helped the company clerk. His job is to record the number of goods that come in and out, read and translate incoming letters, reply to trade letters, and make daily reports on all of it. The trade letters came from the European colonies in the Americas and the West Indies. Most are written in non-German languages. This is where Engels junior deepens his foreign language skills.

The desire for contemporary thought is not simply crushed by the daily grind of being a scribe. After work, Engels continued his study. Luckily his mother, Elise van Haar, supported secretly sending him the works of German and French scholars.

As a Prussian royalist, Friedrich Engels senior was proud to send his son into military service to Berlin in early 1842. There, several days a week, junior Engels received military training as an officer candidate, particularly for the municipal artillery division. Later, his knowledge of the army was used in the armed struggle in the 1848 Revolution in southern Germany. He used his days off to attend the lectures of the philosophy professors. In the evening, he wanders around following the discussions of contemporary thought held by the students of the University of Berlin, wabilespecially Hegel’s disciples. At that time, it can be said, the thinking of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel became a ‘trendy’ thought among educated Germans. In the hands of the interpretation of the monarchy loyalists, Hegel’s ideas became a kind of supporter of the Prussian constitutional monarchy system and Protestantism as its ideological basis. Historically, proponents of this loyalist interpretation were referred to as the Old Hegelians or Conservative Hegelians. On the other hand, there is a small group of scholars who interpret differently. Instead of supporting, they even talk about the restoration of the monarchy and push Hegel’s thinking in a radical direction as a critique. Such people came to be known as the Young Hegelians. This is where Engels junior got the fertilizer for the seeds of his youth rebellion. Engels read David Strauss, Ludwig Feuerbach,

Encounter with Marx

After his son fulfilled his mandatory military service in Berlin, the senior Friedrich Engels sent him back to England. It was also horrifying, if the rumors were true, that junior Engels had swam too far in that critical Young Hegelian puddle. Must as soon as possible his soul purified again by the sanctity of the business world. But too late, Engels junior increasingly in the struggle in the world of radicals. In late 1842, while on a trip to England, he became acquainted with Moses Hess, a prominent communist ideologue at the time. At the offices of the Rheinische Zeitung newspaperin Cologne, he was also introduced to Karl Marx, a recently graduated and rejected doctor of philosophy in Berlin and editor-in-chief of the paper. It was with the latter that Engels junior would form an eternal fellowship.

Instead of being completely devoted to the business world, Engels junior’s political activity escalated. In England he soon made friends with the Chartists, who, a few weeks before his arrival, had led a general strike in England’s industrial triangle of towns (Manchester, Lancasshire and Cheshire). Upon his arrival in Manchester, Engels became acquainted with Mary Burns, also a labor movement activist, who introduced him to the working class world. Engels became increasingly critical. His reading of economics books at the time led to the writing of his first work, Outlines of Political-Economic Criticism , which was published in the first and last edition of the Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher., the journal of the German emigrant trade unions in France, in 1843. Marx, who had only known him briefly a few months earlier, read this article and probably decided that this was a man worthy of his comrade-in-arms. It is said that it was because of this writing that Marx shifted his direction from philosophical studies to political-economic criticism. That same year, Marx left the Rheinische Zeitung after his newspaper was censored by the government for his critical articles. He went to Paris looking for work. Incidentally, Engels was also on his way there. The two met for the second time and began a lifelong partnership that would shake the world. The first product of this collaboration is the Sacred Family, a collection of polemical treatises addressed to their former Hegelian comrades in Berlin. This book becomes a kind of baptismal water that binds the two as brothers for life.

From Paris, Engels returned to England. Where the Ermen & Engels joint venture is based, after serving, junior Engels is increasingly wandering into the workers’ settlements accompanied by Mary Burns. The squalid slums of the working class creeping up on the edge of the bourgeois majestic world, the sad stories of child laborers who are paid three potatoes, the high death rate due to poor sanitation and brutal working conditions, convinced him that something was wrong with the economic system. capitalism and the economic ideologies that support it. Unlike Marx, who was inspired by the idea of ​​socialism from his sophisticated world of philosophy, Engels embraced socialism because he came face-to-face with the empirical reality of how capitalism works. Even from his teenage days at Wupperthal. His encounter with socialism was not confined to the working-class housing estates facing capitalism. Official publications, health inspectorate reports, and field notes on the lives of the workers he read carefully throughout 1842-1844. The results of this investigation were offered to be published as a book. In August 1844, pending confirmation of the publication of his book, Engels left Manchester. In February 1845, the French Minister of the Interior expelled Marx. Marx and his family moved to Brussels, the capital of the Kingdom of Belgium. Here, Marx compiled eleven of his legendary theses on Feuerbach’s philosophy of materialism. In April of that same year, Engels arrived in Brussels and met Marx. The two collaborated again to compile a critical treatise on Hegelian philosophy as well as a critique of British political-economic works. From the end of that year to early 1846, they compiled the treatise that became known asGerman ideology . In a treatise that was never published during their second lifetime, Marx and Engels sowed the seeds of their materialist conception of history, which Engels later called Historical Materialism. In the same year, Engels’ ethnographic work on the conditions of the English working class was published in Leipzig in German.

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Have fun with Marx

Marx and Engels were not arrogant behind-the-scenes thinkers about reality. Both of them were first of all revolutionaries. Their goal has always been to combine theoretical understanding with practical experience to change the world. That is why, it is not surprising that both of them became members of the Justice League, a kind of communist ideology trade union which later changed its name to the Communist League. This league was the forerunner of the German Communist Party and they were both active in it from the start. The heated European revolutionary atmosphere in 1847 prompted Engels to prepare a grid of political and economic programs for the Communist League when the revolution broke out. The treatise was entitled Principles of Communism . Armed with this short writing by Engels, then Marx and Engels compiledThe Communist Manifesto at the request of the Communist League, which published it in February 1848.

When the revolution broke out in Germany, the secret police made arrests of members of the League. Engels fled to Paris. At the end of 1848, he went to Germany in a hurry. The clouds of revolution are floating in the south. There, the atmosphere of the revolution strengthened. The proletarian militias were formed. A veteran of the Berlin artillery service, Engels was appointed a lieutenant in the armed struggle of the working class. Unfortunately, the workers’ army lost the struggle. The Prussian army pursued the remnants of Engels’ army. Engels himself avoided capture by fleeing to Geneva, Switzerland. From there, Engels slipped into France. To avoid patrols, Engels walked through the French countryside to the nearest port town. At least a month Engels made the trip. At the end of 1849, Engels made it back to England and was reunited with Marx in London. In the midst of disappointment at the failure of the armed struggle in Germany, coupled with urgent financial needs, Engels accepted his father’s offer to return to a position in the management of the company Ermen & Engels. Engels returned to Manchester and busied himself with the managerial work of the company. Since then, his relationship with Marx has been through correspondence. It is said that during the 20 years of their relationship, they have written more than 1300 letters. Engels returned to Manchester and busied himself with the managerial work of the company. Since then, his relationship with Marx has been through correspondence. It is said that during the 20 years of their relationship, they have written more than 1300 letters. Engels returned to Manchester and busied himself with the managerial work of the company. Since then, his relationship with Marx has been through correspondence. It is said that during the 20 years of their relationship, they have written more than 1300 letters.

The failed revolution of 1848 made the attention of the German, British, Belgian and British intelligence officers to both of them even more stringent. When he suspected that the intel was imminent, in order to protect important information, Engels burned some of Marx’s letters sent before 1851. To avoid arrest, they also often used veiled language in their letters. Includes address and name. For example, since 1852, Marx frequently wrote to Engels under the envelope name James Belfield. The letter was sent not to Engels’ residence, but to an acquaintance’s house in a workers’ settlement.

In order to deceive the intrepid intel, as manager of a large corporation, Engels publicly presented himself as a parlent businessman, participating as a member and administrator of elite drinking and equestrian clubs, and visiting classical music concerts like a respectable bourgeoisie. But underground, he kept in touch with Irish workers and German immigrant workers in England. His relations with Marx and his fellow Communist League veterans also continued, including with those who emigrated to America. Engels’ attention to European politics also remained strong. While Marx wrote the treatise on the Class Struggle in France and the special case of Louis Bonaparte’s 18th BrumaireReviewing the Revolutions of 1848-1852, Engels focused on an analysis of the failed 1848 revolution in Germany. In 1850, Engels also wrote a review of the history of the Peasants’ War in Germany . In this paper, Engels investigates class warfare in the cloaked conflict of religion in 16th century Germany. Although it looks more like a scholar’s historical analysis, in fact, through this paper, Engels is self-criticizing the failed armed struggle of the contemporary working class so that lessons can be learned from it.

In 1853, Peter Ermen, the boss of the Ermen company who was also the managing director of Ermen & Engels in Manchester, retired. Ownership of the business went to his eldest son, Godfrey Ermen. This situation also changed the joint venture agreement between the Ermen family and the Engels family. Under a new contract valid for nine years starting in June 1855, Engels junior not only became a manager, but also received a share of dividends from the shares of the company he held personally. Along with the increase in the company’s business, from year to year Engels’ annual income also increased. From 263 pounds per year in 1855, his income rose to 1095 pounds per year in 1859. It was from this abundance of income that Engels was able to help finance his close family, Marx, in London.

From 1852 to 1857, Marx was the European correspondent for the New York Tribune. His job was to make a review of events in Europe, including the policies of European countries in the colonies. At this time Marx’s burden was quite heavy. The poverty of his family made his children sick. His wages as a columnist are not much. Meanwhile, the European working class movement that was trying to get up again lacked legs to walk and Marx was among those who were trying to rebuild it. Engels helped his best friend as best he could. One of them is by writing a review for Marx’s column using Marx’s own name so that Marx can still receive wages for writing from the newspaper. Engels’ essays on the 1848 Revolution in Germany submitted under the name of Marx, Engels wrote in full. Of course with the approval of the name. Later the collection of essays will be recorded and given the titleRevolution and Counter-Revolution in Germany .

Marx gave up writing a column for the New York Tribune in late 1857. Throughout 1857-1863, Marx immersed himself again in historical and economic inquiry. His ambition to compile a complete economic treatise was aimed at providing the working class movement with an understanding of capitalism. Engels clearly supported this effort. One of them is by sending Marx money regularly. This financial support from Engels is considered sufficient to support his family. So night and day Marx grappled with the hundreds of works in the London Museum. Marx’s notes throughout the year are disaggregated. One section contains methodological sketches and conceptual foundations on capital and money. This section later became known as Grundrisse. Another section contains a critical review of the economic theories that developed up to his time. This section later became known as The Theory of Surplus Value, whose publication was edited by one of the students and dedengkot of the German Social Democratic Party, Karl Kautsky. These two sections were not written for publication. Only as study material and the actual treatise grid. Therefore, long after Marx’s death these writings were published.

In 1859, Marx finally published a long essay which was the result of his first investigation into capital. The book was entitled Contributions to a Critique of Political-Economy . Rather than the content, the most famous part of this book is the Introduction-his. There Marx outlined his theory of historical materialism more firmly. The following year, Friedrich Engels senior died. There was a feeling of relief in Engels junior. So far, Engels’ forays into the world of the manufacturing business have only pleased old Engels. Now that he is no longer around, there is a thought to immediately leave the business world which makes him have to live in two worlds. Besides, Geofrey Ermen, the heir to the Ermen family business, seems eager to get rid of junior Engels and sees an opportunity to make it happen when senior Engels passes away. In 1864, corporate turmoil added to Engels’ resistance to staying at Ermen & Engels. Incidentally, the International Workers’ Association (First International) is being formed. Engels and Marx were active in this association until it was dissolved in 1876.

Meanwhile, in the working-class world, many people awaited Marx’s full economic treatise. Engels was suddenly asked when Marx would publish it. Requests were often addressed to Marx through Engels’ ears. Because it was becoming more and more frequent, Engels had to beg his partner as well. When pressures from various parties within the European working class movement grew stronger for Marx to immediately publish an economic work that would explain the nature and actions of capitalism, Engels was finally able to persuade Marx to publish a first volume of the work, which was planned to consist of six volumes. So in 1867, with Engels’ help in editing, Marx’s first masterpiece, Das Kapital , was published .

Two years after Das Kapital was published, Engels told Marx about the desire he had harbored since 1860, namely to retire and sell his stake in the Ermen & Engels joint venture. Mid 1869, Engels officially left the company. From the sale of his shares, Engels made a lot of money. The following year Engels moved to London, living not so far from Marx.

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Not long after, the turmoil of the French revolution broke out again. The crisis of capitalism hit the world. The French working class occupied and formed a government based on the ideas of communism, otherwise known as the Paris Commune a few months in 1870. Marx covered this in an essay on the Civil War in France which was published a year later.

After the Paris Commune was crushed by the combined forces of the aristocracy and the bourgeoisie, the hopes of Engels and Marx’s revolution were shifted to the German working class. However, instead of being revolutionary, the German Social Democratic Party seemed to show signs of being a reformist. In 1869, the Social Democratic Workers’ Party was founded in Eisenach. Ideologically, the party is based on the theory of revolutionary socialism with Marxist organizational principles. In the first half of the 1870s, party membership grew rapidly. At that time, the party was merged with the German General Workers Union led by Ferdinand Lassalle and formed a new body, the German Social Democratic Party. In the party congress in Gotha, Lassallean ideology tends to dominate. At least there is a compromise that tilts the party’s orientation towards reformism. Marx criticized the party’s program as a result of the congress. At the theoretical level, reformism is represented by the thoughts of Eugen Dühring, a Berlin University lecturer who became an intellectual role model for many party leaders. Engels responded to Dühring’s popularity and his eclectic tendencies and hidden ideals by writing a lengthy critique that he wrote from 1876 to 1878. The article was entitledThe Science Revolution Mr. Eugen Dühring . Engels’ ability to dismantle the philosophical foundations of the scientific claims of Dühring’s theory had been honed several years earlier. From 1873 to early 1876, Engels was active in studying scientific findings from almost all branches of natural science that developed at that time. Engels’ study notes during the year were only published in 1925 under the title Dialectics of Nature . Later, these two works were considered as important milestones in Marxist natural philosophy or the elaboration of dialectical materialism in the study of nature. In Dialectics of Nature, there is also an unfinished essay written by Engels on human evolution entitled The Role of Work in the Transition from Apes to Man.. In 1896, this essay was published in the party newspaper, Die Neue Zeit .

Throughout 1877 to 1882, Marx tried again to complete the following volumes of Das Kapital . The basis of Marx’s character who had the heart to stop writing in order to simply learn Russian so that he could read works on the history of the forms of agricultural communes there in their original language, working on the volumes of Das Kapitalconstantly neglected. The writing breaks continued to lengthen because Marx was busy studying the history of European colonialism. Not only the colony, but also the pre-capitalist society whose territory was colonized. Marx read ethnography and works on Arabs, Berbers, Persians, Javanese, Balinese, Indians, Incas, American Indians, American Negro slaves, and so on. Coupled with the illness which forced Marx to travel to the tropics of north Africa, the complete impossibility of the Das Kapital volumes.it’s done. Engels’ hope was dead that Marx would complete his masterpiece. In 1880, Engels helped Marx compile a list of 100 questions for a study of the conditions of the French working class. Marx’s questionnaire came to be known as the ‘Enquête Ouvrière.’ In the same year, Engels wrote and published Socialism: Utopia and Science . Its contents emphasize which limits socialism is based on mere wish and wishful thinking and which are based on the provisions of scientific investigation.

Throughout 1881-1882, Marx drowned again in the ocean of anthropology. He reviewed contemporary anthropological works at that time. These notes were later used by Marx as a source of knowledge in understanding how pre-capitalist life was in the context of understanding human society in general. These study notes were later recorded by the Caribbean-born anthropologist Lawrence Krader, who attached the title The Ethnological Notebooks of Karl Marx (1972, Karl Marx’s Ethnological Notes) to the collection. MEGA editors ( Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe)the new generation learned that what Krader collected was only a quarter of Marx’s notes and scribbles on anthropology. You can imagine now how much time Marx has spent just reading and how little time he has written the continuation of the volumes of Das Kapital . Everyone became desperate. So did Engels, who covered his annoyance with complaints begging Marx to stop reading and start writing the remnants of Das Kapital .

Friedrich Engels After Marx Disappeared

The Das Kapital passages never appeared again in Marx’s life. Marx died on March 13, 1883 in London. At the funeral of his friend, which was attended by only a few people, Engels delivered a brief speech. As a close friend, Marx’s death not only forced Engels to deliver a speech at his funeral. But it also put him under the burden of collecting and tidying up Marx’s handwriting as soon as possible. While collecting thousands of copies of Marx’s handwritten manuscripts which he planned to fill in the unfinished volumes of Das Kapital , throughout 1884 Engels developed Marx’s scribbles and notes on the work of anthropologists, especially The Ancient Society.by Lewis Henry Morgan, into a full treatise and published under the title Origins of the Family, Private Property, and the State . The significance of this book is to dismantle bourgeois myths about the injustice of the family, private property, and the state and to expose the evidence to the contrary. After the book, which had been compiled for only a few months, was published, only then did Engels specifically focus his thoughts and energy on collecting, compiling, and rewriting Marx’s handwriting. In 1885, Engels finished partially editing and published Das Kapital volume II. Time seemed to be running so fast. Engels grew older and realized that there was increasingly limited time to complete all of Marx’s writings. In 1894, Engels published an edit of Das Kapitalvolume III. These works were interspersed with his busy schedule as honorary president of the International Socialist Congress (Second International) since 1893.

On August 5, 1895, Engels died in London. The cause is esophageal cancer. It is said that Engels made a will that his body would be cremated and his ashes thrown into the sea. That’s why union activists in London cremated his body at the Working Crematorium and dumped his ashes at Beachy Head near Eastbourne.

Just a Closing

From the brief history above, it appears that the impact of Engels’ existence was so great for Marx. It was he who baptized Marx into a political-economic critique, which, according to him, was the key to unlocking the capitalist way of thinking and the workings of capitalism. Without an Engels, perhaps Marx’s way of life would be different. Without Engels, perhaps Marx remained a radical liberal until the end of his life or swerved to become a monk because he was disappointed that his revolutionary hopes were repeatedly dashed. Without Engels, perhaps Marx would have been a sad thinker like Nietzsche, who had been haunted by pessimism all his life and constantly blasphemed the world in its entirety as a cursed devil without moving an inch from his boarding room. We know today that Marx was not only a political activist, but also a great thinker without whom the twentieth century would have been different. Millions of political activists claim to have learned a lesson from it. There is not a single modern social science that is not indebted to him. Both as an inspiration and as a most thrilling theoretical opponent. The greatness of Marx made his shadow cover the figure and thoughts of Engels which then looked clumsy in the eyes of some people. To some, Engels was nothing more than a false prophet who chattered among geeks to distort the great teachings of Marx’s thought. Engels appeared to be simply an uneducated man who simply copied and pasted badly the ideas of Marx. The greatness of Marx made his shadow cover the figure and thoughts of Engels which then looked clumsy in the eyes of some people. To some, Engels was nothing more than a false prophet who chattered among geeks to distort the great teachings of Marx’s thought. Engels appeared to be simply an uneducated man who simply copied and pasted badly the ideas of Marx. The greatness of Marx made his shadow cover the figure and thoughts of Engels which then looked clumsy in the eyes of some people. To some, Engels was nothing more than a false prophet who chattered among geeks to distort the great teachings of Marx’s thought. Engels appeared to be simply an uneducated man who simply copied and pasted badly the ideas of Marx.

However, not everyone has this view. Engels also deserves to be placed on a par with Marx. Instead of understanding the Marx-Engels duo in terms of person number one and person number two, we should interpret it in the context of the division of labor between two people who are equally large. In the second half of his life, for example, while Marx was busy compiling Das Kapital , Engels apparently decided to take over Marx’s work with regard to the development of dialectical materialism as they had sown its seeds since the 1840s into the natural sciences. In this context, Engels’ thought, as contained in the Dialectic of Nature and Anti-Dühring, demonstrated his ability to formulate a materialist foundation for modern natural science. This foundation was then further developed by contemporary Marxist scholars who grappled with the natural sciences (see Grant and Woods, 2002).

In the social sciences, Alfred G. Meyer, historian as well as sociologist, places Engels on a par with the founders of the sociological discipline such as Comte, Gumplowicz, and Weber, namely as the seed of the great sociological theory. Like any major theory, Engels’ theories about modern social institutions such as private property, the family, the state, and the military are rich in provocative ideas (Meyer, 1989).

On one occasion, Lenin once stated that ‘it is impossible to understand Marxism or present a complete picture of it without being familiar with all of Engels’ writings.’ How improbable Lenin’s prediction is, can only be known if we begin to become familiar with Engels’ writings themselves. I think reading Engels’ biography is arguably the first step in that direction.***


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