Friedrich Engels

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Friedrich Engels
Friedrich Engels portrait (cropped).jpg
Engels in 1877, in Brighton, by William Hall
Born28 November 1820
Died5 August 1895(1895-08-05) (aged 74)
London, England
Education Gymnasium zu Elberfeld  [ de ]
(withdrew) [1]
University of Berlin
(no degree) [1]
Notable work
The Condition of the Working Class in England , Anti-Dühring , Socialism: Utopian and Scientific , The German Ideology
Era 19th-century philosophy
Region Western philosophy
School Continental philosophy
Dialectical materialism
Historical materialism
Main interests
Political philosophy, economics, class struggle, criticism of capitalism
Notable ideas
Alienation and exploitation of the worker, historical materialism
Friedrich Engels Signature.svg

Friedrich Engels ( /ˈɛŋ(ɡ)əlz/ ; [2] [3] German: [ˈfʁiːdʁɪç ˈʔɛŋl̩s] ; sometimes anglicised Frederick Engels; 28 November 1820 – 5 August 1895) was a German philosopher, communist, social scientist, journalist and businessman. [4] His father was an owner of large textile factories in Salford, England and in Barmen, Prussia (what is now in Wuppertal, Germany).

Philosopher person with an extensive knowledge of philosophy

A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy. The term "philosopher" comes from the Ancient Greek, φιλόσοφος (philosophos), meaning "lover of wisdom". The coining of the term has been attributed to the Greek thinker Pythagoras.

Marxism economic and sociopolitical worldview based on the works of Karl Marx

Marxism is a theory and method of working-class self-emancipation. As a theory, it relies on a method of socioeconomic analysis that views class relations and social conflict using a materialist interpretation of historical development and takes a dialectical view of social transformation. It originates from the works of 19th-century German philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.

Social science is a category of academic disciplines, concerned with society and the relationships among individuals within a society. Social science as a whole has many branches. These social sciences include, but are not limited to: anthropology, archaeology, communication studies, economics, history, musicology, human geography, jurisprudence, linguistics, political science, psychology, public health, and sociology. The term is also sometimes used to refer specifically to the field of sociology, the original "science of society", established in the 19th century. For a more detailed list of sub-disciplines within the social sciences see: Outline of social science.


Engels developed what is now known as Marxist theory together with Karl Marx and in 1845 he published The Condition of the Working Class in England , based on personal observations and research in English cities. In 1848, Engels co-authored The Communist Manifesto with Marx and also authored and co-authored (primarily with Marx) many other works. Later, Engels supported Marx financially, allowing him to do research and write Das Kapital . After Marx's death, Engels edited the second and third volumes of Das Kapital. Additionally, Engels organised Marx's notes on the Theories of Surplus Value , which he later published as the "fourth volume" of Capital. [5] In 1884, he published The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State on the basis of Marx's ethnographic research.

Karl Marx Revolutionary socialist

Karl Marx was a German philosopher, economist, historian, sociologist, political theorist, journalist and socialist revolutionary.

<i>The Condition of the Working Class in England</i> 1844 Germany book by Friedrich Engels

The Condition of the Working Class in England is an 1845 book by the German philosopher Friedrich Engels, a study of the industrial working class in Victorian England. Engels' first book, it was originally written in German as Die Lage der arbeitenden Klasse in England; an English translation was published in 1885. It was written during Engels' 1842–44 stay in Manchester, the city at the heart of the Industrial Revolution, and compiled from Engels' own observations and detailed contemporary reports.

<i>The Communist Manifesto</i> 1848 publication written by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

The Communist Manifesto is an 1848 political pamphlet by the German philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Commissioned by the Communist League and originally published in London just as the Revolutions of 1848 began to erupt, the Manifesto was later recognised as one of the world's most influential political documents. It presents an analytical approach to the class struggle and the conflicts of capitalism and the capitalist mode of production, rather than a prediction of communism's potential future forms.

Engels died in London on 5 August 1895, at the age of 74 of laryngeal cancer and following cremation his ashes were scattered off Beachy Head, near Eastbourne.

Laryngeal cancer respiratory system cancer that is located in the larynx

Laryngeal cancer are mostly squamous cell carcinomas, reflecting their origin from the skin of the larynx.

Beachy Head cape

See also: Eastbourne Downland Estate

Eastbourne Town and Borough in England

Eastbourne is a town, seaside resort and borough in the non-metropolitan county of East Sussex on the south coast of England, 19 miles (31 km) east of Brighton. Eastbourne is immediately to the east of Beachy Head, the highest chalk sea cliff in Great Britain and part of the larger Eastbourne Downland Estate.


Early years

The Engels family house at Barmen (now in Wuppertal), Germany 280505 001 Engelshaus Barmen.jpg
The Engels family house at Barmen (now in Wuppertal), Germany

Engels was born on 28 November 1820 in Barmen, Rhine Province, Prussia (now Wuppertal, Germany) as eldest son of Friedrich Engels Sr. (1796–1860) and of Elisabeth "Elise" Franziska Mauritia von Haar (1797–1873). [6] The wealthy Engels family owned large cotton-textile mills in Barmen and Salford, both expanding industrial metropoles. Friedrich's parents were devout Pietist Protestants [4] and they raised their children accordingly.

Barmen former city in eastern Rhineland, Germany

Barmen is a former industrial metropolis of the region of Bergisches Land, Germany, which merged with four other towns in 1929 to form the city of Wuppertal. Barmen, together with the neighbouring town of Elberfeld founded the first electric suspended monorail tramway system, the Schwebebahn floating tram. Barmen was a pioneering centre for both the early industrial revolution on the European mainland, and for the socialist movement and its theory. It was the location of one of the first concentration camps in Nazi Germany, KZ Wuppertal-Barmen, later better known as Kemna concentration camp.

Rhine Province province of Prussia

The Rhine Province, also known as Rhenish Prussia (Rheinpreußen) or synonymous with the Rhineland (Rheinland), was the westernmost province of the Kingdom of Prussia and the Free State of Prussia, within the German Reich, from 1822 to 1946. It was created from the provinces of the Lower Rhine and Jülich-Cleves-Berg. Its capital was Koblenz and in 1939 it had 8 million inhabitants. The Province of Hohenzollern was militarily associated with the Oberpräsident of the Rhine Province.

Kingdom of Prussia Former German state (1701–1918)

The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom that constituted the state of Prussia between 1701 and 1918. It was the driving force behind the unification of Germany in 1871 and was the leading state of the German Empire until its dissolution in 1918. Although it took its name from the region called Prussia, it was based in the Margraviate of Brandenburg, where its capital was Berlin.

At the age of 13, Engels attended grammar school ( Gymnasium ) in the adjacent city of Elberfeld but had to leave at 17, due to pressure of his father, who wanted him to become a businessman and start to work as a mercantile apprentice in his firm. [7] After a year in Barmen, the young Engels was in 1838 sent by his father to undertake an apprenticeship at a commercial house in Bremen. [8] [9] His parents expected that he would follow his father into a career in the family business. Their son's revolutionary activities disappointed them. It would be some years before he joined the family firm.

<i>Gymnasium</i> (Germany) secondary school

Gymnasium, in the German education system, is the most advanced of the three types of German secondary schools, the others being Realschule and Hauptschule. Gymnasium strongly emphasizes academic learning, comparable to the British grammar school system or with prep schools in the United States. A student attending Gymnasium is called a Gymnasiast. In 2009/10 there were 3,094 gymnasia in Germany, with c. 2,475,000 students, resulting in an average student number of 800 students per school.

Elberfeld former city in Germany, now part of Wuppertal

Elberfeld is a municipal subdivision of the German city of Wuppertal; it was an independent town until 1929.

Bremen City in Germany

The City Municipality of Bremen is a Hanseatic city in northwestern Germany, which belongs to the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen, a federal state of Germany.

Whilst at Bremen, Engels began reading the philosophy of Hegel, whose teachings dominated German philosophy at that time. In September 1838 he published his first work, a poem entitled "The Bedouin", in the Bremisches Conversationsblatt No. 40. He also engaged in other literary work and began writing newspaper articles critiquing the societal ills of industrialisation. [10] [11] He wrote under the pseudonym "Friedrich Oswald" to avoid connecting his family with his provocative writings.

In 1841 Engels performed his military service in the Prussian Army as a member of the Household Artillery (German : Garde-Artillerie-Brigade). Assigned to Berlin, he attended university lectures at the University of Berlin and began to associate with groups of Young Hegelians. He anonymously published articles in the Rheinische Zeitung, exposing the poor employment- and living-conditions endured by factory workers. [9] The editor of the Rheinische Zeitung was Karl Marx, but Engels would not meet Marx until late November 1842. [12] Engels acknowledged the influence of German philosophy on his intellectual development throughout his career. [8] He also wrote, "To get the most out of life you must be active, you must live and you must have the courage to taste the thrill of being young ... " (1840). [13]

Engels developed atheistic beliefs and his relationship with his parents became strained. [14]


In 1842, his parents sent the 22-year-old Engels to Manchester, England, a manufacturing centre where industrialisation was on the rise. He was to work in Weaste in the offices of Ermen and Engels's Victoria Mill, which made sewing threads. [15] [16] [17] Engels's father thought that working at the Manchester firm might make his son reconsider some of his radical opinions. [8] [16] On his way to Manchester, Engels visited the office of the Rheinische Zeitung in Cologne and met Karl Marx for the first time. They were not impressed with each other. [18] Marx mistakenly thought that Engels was still associated with the Berliner Young Hegelians, with whom Marx had just broken off ties. [19]

In Manchester, Engels met Mary Burns, a fierce young Irish woman with radical opinions who worked in the Engels factory. [20] [21] They began a relationship that lasted 20 years until her death in 1863. [22] [23] The two never married, as both were against the institution of marriage. While Engels regarded stable monogamy as a virtue, he considered the current state and church-regulated marriage as a form of class oppression. [24] [25] Burns guided Engels through Manchester and Salford, showing him the worst districts for his research.

While in Manchester between October and November 1843, Engels wrote his first economic work, entitled "Outline of a Critique of Political Economy." [26] Engels sent the article to Paris, where Marx published it in the Deutsch–Französische Jahrbücher in 1844. [15]

While observing the slums of Manchester in close detail, Engels took notes of its horrors, notably child labour, the despoiled environment, and overworked and impoverished labourers. [27] He sent a trilogy of articles to Marx. These were published in the Rheinische Zeitung and then in the Deutsch–Französische Jahrbücher, chronicling the conditions among the working class in Manchester. He later collected these articles for his influential first book, The Condition of the Working Class in England (1845). [28] Written between September 1844 and March 1845, the book was published in German in 1845. In the book, Engels described the "grim future of capitalism and the industrial age", [27] noting the details of the squalor in which the working people lived. [29] The book was published in English in 1887. Archival resources contemporary to Engels's stay in Manchester shed light on some of the conditions he describes, including a manuscript (MMM/10/1) held by special collections at the University of Manchester which recounts cases seen in the Manchester Royal Infirmary, where industrial accidents dominate and which resonates with his comments on the disfigured persons seen walking round Manchester as a result of such accidents.

Engels continued his involvement with radical journalism and politics. He frequented areas popular among members of the English labour and Chartist movements, whom he met. He also wrote for several journals, including The Northern Star , Robert Owen's New Moral World, and the Democratic Review newspaper. [22] [30] [31]


An early photograph of Engels, which has been asserted as showing him at age 20-25 (c. 1840-45) Friedrich Engels-1840-cropped.jpg
An early photograph of Engels, which has been asserted as showing him at age 20–25 (c. 1840–45)

Engels decided to return to Germany in 1844. On the way, he stopped in Paris to meet Karl Marx, with whom he had an earlier correspondence. Marx had been living in Paris since late October 1843, after the Rheinische Zeitung was banned in March 1843 by Prussian governmental authorities. [35] Prior to meeting Marx, Engels had become established as a fully developed materialist and scientific socialist, independent of Marx's philosophical development. [36]

In Paris, Marx was publishing the Deutsch–Französische Jahrbücher. Engels met Marx for a second time at the Café de la Régence on the Place du Palais, 28 August 1844. The two quickly became close friends and remained so their entire lives. Marx had read and was impressed by Engels's articles on The Condition of the Working Class in England in which he had written "A class which bears all the disadvantages of the social order without enjoying its advantages … Who can demand that such a class respect this social order?" [37] Marx adopted Engels's idea that the working class would lead the revolution against the bourgeoisie as society advanced toward socialism, and incorporated this as part of his own philosophy. [38]

Engels stayed in Paris to help Marx write The Holy Family . [39] It was an attack on the Young Hegelians and the Bauer brothers, and was published in late February 1845. Engels's earliest contribution to Marx's work was writing for the Deutsch–Französische Jahrbücher, edited by both Marx and Arnold Ruge, in Paris in 1844.

During this time in Paris, both Marx and Engels began their association with and then joined the secret revolutionary society called the League of the Just. [40] The League of the Just had been formed in 1837 in France to promote an egalitarian society through the overthrow of the existing governments. In 1839, the League of the Just participated in the 1839 rebellion fomented by the French utopian revolutionary socialist, Louis Auguste Blanqui.

However, as Ruge remained a Young Hegelian in his belief, Marx and Ruge soon split and Ruge left the Deutsch–Französische Jahrbücher [41] Nonetheless, following the split, Marx remained friendly enough with Ruge that he sent Ruge a warning on 15 January 1845 that the Paris police were going to execute orders against him, Marx and others at the Deutsch–Französische Jahrbücher requiring all to leave Paris within 24 hours. [42] Marx himself was expelled from Paris by French authorities on 3 February 1845 and settled in Brussels with his wife and one daughter. [43] Having left Paris on 6 September 1844, Engels returned to his home in Barmen, Germany, to work on his The Condition of the Working Class in England, which was published in late May 1845. [44] Even before the publication of his book, Engels moved to Brussels in late April 1845, to collaborate with Marx on another book, German Ideology . [45] While living in Barmen, Engels began making contact with Socialists in the Rhineland to raise money for Marx's publication efforts in Brussels. [46] However, these contacts became more important as both Marx and Engels began political organizing for the Social Democratic Workers' Party of Germany.


La Maison du Cygne (the Swan Tavern), Brussels, where the Communist Manifesto was written Maison du Cygne 01.JPG
La Maison du Cygne (the Swan Tavern), Brussels, where the Communist Manifesto was written

The nation of Belgium, founded in 1830, was endowed with one of the most liberal constitutions in Europe and functioned as refuge for progressives from other countries. From 1845 to 1848, Engels and Marx lived in Brussels, spending much of their time organising the city's German workers. Shortly after their arrival, they contacted and joined the underground German Communist League. The Communist League was the successor organisation to the old League of the Just which had been founded in 1837, but had recently disbanded. [48] Influenced by Wilhelm Weitling, the Communist League was an international society of proletarian revolutionaries with branches in various European cities. [49] The Communist League also had contacts with the underground conspiratorial organisation of Louis Auguste Blanqui. Many of Marx's and Engels's current friends became members of the Communist League. Old friends like Georg Friedrich Herwegh, who had worked with Marx on the Rheinsche Zeitung, Heinrich Heine, the famous poet, a young doctor by the name of Roland Daniels, Heinrich Bürgers and August Herman Ewerbeck all maintained their contacts with Marx and Engels in Brussels. Georg Weerth, who had become a friend of Engels in England in 1843, now settled in Brussels. Karl Wallau and Stephen Born (real name Simon Buttermilch) were both German immigrant typesetters who settled in Brussels to help Marx and Engels with their Communist League work. Marx and Engels made many new important contacts through the Communist League. One of the first was Wilhelm Wolff, who was soon to become one of Marx's and Engels's closest collaborators. Others were Joseph Weydemeyer and Ferdinand Freiligrath, a famous revolutionary poet. While most of the associates of Marx and Engels were German immigrants living in Brussels, some of their new associates were Belgians. Phillipe Gigot, a Belgian philosopher and Victor Tedesco, a lawyer from Liège, both joined the Communist League. Joachim Lelewel a prominent Polish historian and participant in the Polish uprising of 1830–1831 was also a frequent associate. [50]

The Communist League commissioned Marx and Engels to write a pamphlet explaining the principles of communism. This became Manifesto of the Communist Party , better known as the Communist Manifesto. [51] It was first published on 21 February 1848 and ends with the world-famous phrase: "Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletariat have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win ... Working Men of All Countries, Unite!" [8]

Engels' mother wrote in a letter to him of her concerns. [52] She commented that he had "really gone too far" and "begged" him "to proceed no further". [52] She continued:

You have paid more heed to other people, to strangers, and have taken no account of your mother's pleas. God alone knows what I have felt and suffered of late. I was trembling when I picked up the newspaper and saw therein that a warrant was out for my son's arrest. [52]

Return to Prussia

There was a revolution in France in 1848 that soon spread to other Western European countries. These events caused Engels and Marx to return to their homeland of the Prussian Empire, specifically to the city of Cologne. While living in Cologne, they created and served as editors for a new daily newspaper called the Neue Rheinische Zeitung . [15] Besides Marx and Engels, other frequent contributors to the Neue Rheinische Zeitung included Karl Schapper, Wilhelm Wolff, Ernst Dronke, Peter Nothjung, Heinrich Bürgers, Ferdinand Wolf and Carl Cramer. [53] Friedrich Engels's mother, herself, gives unwitting witness to the effect of the Neue Rheinische Zeitung on the revolutionary uprising in Cologne in 1848. Criticising his involvement in the uprising she states in a 5 December 1848 letter to Friedrich that "nobody, ourselves included, doubted that the meetings at which you and your friends spoke, and also the language of (Neue) Rh.Z. were largely the cause of these disturbances." [54]

Engels's parents hoped that young Friedrich would "decide to turn to activities other than those which you have been pursing[ sic?] in recent years and which have caused so much distress." [54] At this point Friedrich's parents felt the only hope for their son was to emigrate to America and start his life over. They told him that he should do this or he would "cease to receive money from us." [54] However, the problem in the relationship between Friedrich and his parents was worked out without Engels having to leave England or being cut off from financial assistance from his parents. In July 1851, Friedrich Engels's father arrived to visit him in Manchester, England. During the visit his father arranged for Friedrich to meet Peter Ermen of the office of Ermen & Engels, to move to Liverpool, and to take over sole management of the office in Manchester. [55]

In 1849 Engels travelled to the Kingdom of Bavaria for the Baden and Palatinate revolutionary uprising, an even more dangerous involvement.

Starting with an article called "The Magyar Struggle", written on 8 January 1849, Engels, himself, began a series of reports on the Revolution and War for Independence of the newly founded Hungarian Republic. [56] Engels's articles on the Hungarian Republic became a regular feature in the Neue Rheinische Zeitung under the heading: "From the Theater of War." [57]

However, during the June 1849 Prussian coup d'état the newspaper was suppressed. After the coup, Marx lost his Prussian citizenship, was deported, and fled to Paris and then London. Engels stayed in Prussia and took part in an armed uprising in South Germany as an aide-de-camp in the volunteer corps of August Willich. [58] [59] [60] Engels also brought two cases of rifle cartridges with him when he went to join the uprising in Elberfeld on 10 May 1849. [61] Later when Prussian troops came to Kaiserslautern to suppress an uprising there, Engels joined a group of volunteers under the command of August Willich, who were going to fight the Prussian troops. [62] When the uprising was crushed, Engels was one of the last members of Willich's volunteers to escape by crossing the Swiss border. Marx and others became concerned for Engels's life until they finally heard from him. [63]

Engels traveled through Switzerland as a refugee and eventually made it to safety in England. [8] On 6 June 1849 Prussian authorities issued an arrest warrant for Engels which contained a physical description as "height: 5 feet 6 inches; hair: blond; forehead: smooth; eyebrows: blond; eyes: blue; nose and mouth: well proportioned; beard: reddish; chin: oval; face: oval; complexion: healthy; figure: slender. Special characteristics: speaks very rapidly and is short-sighted." [64] As to his "short-sightedness", Engels admitted as much in a letter written to Joseph Weydemeyer on 19 June 1851 in which he says he was not worried about being selected for the Prussian military because of "my eye trouble, as I have now found out once and for all which renders me completely unfit for active service of any sort." [65] Once he was safe in Switzerland, Engels began to write down all his memories of the recent military campaign against the Prussians. This writing eventually became the article published under the name "The Campaign for the German Imperial Constitution." [66]

Back in Britain

Engels's house in Primrose Hill, London Engel House in Primrose.jpg
Engels's house in Primrose Hill, London

In order to help Marx with the new publishing effort in London, Neue Rheinische Zeitung Politisch-ökonomische Revue , Engels sought ways to escape the continent and travel to London. On 5 October 1849, Engels arrived in the Italian port city of Genoa. [67] There, Engels booked passage on the English schooner, Cornish Diamond under the command of a Captain Stevens. [68] The voyage across the western Mediterranean, around the Iberian Peninsula by sailing schooner took about five weeks. Finally, on 10 November 1849 the Cornish Diamond sailed up the River Thames to London with Engels on board. [69]

Once Engels made it to Britain, he decided to re-enter the Manchester company in which his father held shares, in order to be able to support Marx financially, so that Marx could work on his masterpiece Das Kapital . Engels didn't like the work but did it for the good of the cause. [70] [71]

Unlike his first period in England (1843), Engels was now under police surveillance. He had "official" homes and "unofficial homes" all over Salford, Weaste and other inner-city Manchester districts where he lived with Mary Burns under false names to confuse the police. [29] Little more is known, as Engels destroyed over 1,500 letters between himself and Marx after the latter's death so as to conceal the details of their secretive lifestyle. [29]

Despite his work at the mill, Engels found time to write his monumental work on Martin Luther, the Protestant Reformation and the 1525 revolutionary war of the peasants. This work was entitled The Peasant War in Germany . [72] Engels also wrote some important newspaper articles such as "The Campaign for the German Imperial Constitution" which he finished in February 1850, [73] and "On the Slogan of the Abolition of the State and the German 'Friends of Anarchy'" written in October 1850. [74] In April 1851, Engels wrote the pamphlet "Conditions and Prospects of a War of the Holy Alliance against France". [75]

When Louis Bonaparte carried out a coup against the French government and made himself president for life on 2 December 1851, Marx and Engels, like many people, were shocked. In condemning this action, Engels wrote to Marx about the coup on 3 December 1851. [76] Engels characterised the coup as "comical" [76] and referred to it as occurring on "the 18th Brumaire" the date of the coup according to the 1799 republican calendar of France under Napoleon I. [77] Marx was later to incorporate this comically ironic characterisation of Louis Bonaparte's coup into his essay about the coup. Indeed, Marx even called the essay The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte again using Engels's suggested characterisation. [78] Marx also borrowed Engels characterisation of Hegel's notion of the World Spirit that history occurred twice, "once as a tragedy and secondly as a farce" in the first paragraph of his new essay. [79]

Meanwhile, at the mill owned by his father in Manchester, Engels started working as an office clerk, the same position he held in his teens while in Germany where his father's company was based. However, Friedrich worked his way up to become a partner of the firm in 1864.[ citation needed ] Five years later, Engels retired from the business and could focus more on his studies. [15] At this time, Marx was living in London but they were able to exchange ideas through daily correspondence. One of the ideas that Engels and Marx contemplated was the possibility and character of a potential revolution in the Russias. As early as April 1853, Engels and Marx anticipated an "aristocratic-bourgeois revolution in Russia [80] which would begin in "St. Petersburg with a resulting civil war in the interior." [81] The model for this type of aristocratic-bourgeois revolution in Russia against the autocratic czarist government in favour of a constitutional government had been provided by the Decembrist Revolt of 1825. [82] Although an unsuccessful revolt against the czarist government in favour of a constitutional government, both Engels and Marx anticipated a bourgeois revolution in Russia would occur which would bring about a bourgeois stage in Russian development to precede a communist stage. By 1881, both Marx and Engels began to contemplate a course of development in Russia that would lead directly to the communist stage without the intervening bourgeois stage. This analysis was based on what Marx and Engels saw as the exceptional characteristics of the Russian village commune or obshchina. [83] Although doubt was cast on this theory by Georgi Plekhanov, Plekhanov's reasoning was based on the first edition of Das Kapital (1867), which predated Marx's interest in Russian peasant communes by two years. Later editions of the text demonstrate Marx's sympathy for the argument of Nikolay Chernyshevsky, that it should be possible to establish socialism in Russia without an intermediary bourgeois stage provided that the peasant commune were used as the basis for the transition. [84]

In 1870, Engels moved to London where he and Marx lived until Marx's death in 1883. [8] Engel’s London home from 1870-1894 was at 122 Regent's Park Road. In October 1894 he moved to 41 Regent’s Park Road, where he died the following year. Primrose Hill, NW1. [85]

Marx's first London residence was a cramped apartment at 28 Dean Street, Soho. From 1856, he lived at 9 Grafton Terrace, Kentish Town, and then in a tenement at 41 Maitland Park Road from 1875 until his death. [86]

Mary Burns suddenly died of a heart disease in 1863, after which Engels became close with her younger sister Lydia ("Lizzie"). They lived openly as a couple in London and married on 11 September 1878, hours before Lizzie's death. [87] [88]

Later years

After Marx's death, Engels devoted much of his remaining years to editing Marx's unfinished volumes of Capital. However, he also contributed significantly in other areas. Engels made an argument using anthropological evidence of the time to show that family structures changed over history, and that the concept of monogamous marriage came from the necessity within class society for men to control women to ensure their own children would inherit their property. He argued a future communist society would allow people to make decisions about their relationships free of economic constraints. One of the best examples of Engels's thoughts on these issues are in his work The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State .

Fredrich Engels died of throat cancer in London on 5 August 1895, at the age of 74. [89] Following cremation at Woking Crematorium, his ashes were scattered off Beachy Head, near Eastbourne as he had requested. [89] [90]


Engels in 1868 Engels 1856.jpg
Engels in 1868

Engels's interests included poetry, fox hunting, and hosting regular Sunday parties for London's left-wing intelligentsia where, as one regular put it, "no one left before two or three in the morning". His stated personal motto was "take it easy", while "jollity" was listed as his favourite virtue. [92]

Former Labour MP Tristram Hunt, author of The Frock-Coated Communist: The Revolutionary Life of Friedrich Engels, [4] sums up the disconnect between Engels's personality, and the Soviet Union which later utilised his works, stating:

This great lover of the good life, passionate advocate of individuality, and enthusiastic believer in literature, culture, art and music as an open forum could never have acceded to the Soviet Communism of the 20th century, all the Stalinist claims of his paternity notwithstanding. [4] [27]

As to the religious persuasion attributable to Engels, Hunt writes:

In that sense the latent rationality of Christianity comes to permeate the everyday experience of the modern world—its values are now variously incarnated in the family, civil society, and the state. What Engels particularly embraced in all of this was an idea of modern pantheism (or, rather, pandeism, a merging of divinity with progressing humanity, a happy dialectical synthesis that freed him from the fixed oppositions of the pietist ethos of devout longing and estrangement. "Through Strauss I have now entered on the straight road to Hegelianism... The Hegelian idea of God has already become mine, and thus I am joining the ranks of the 'modern pantheists,'" Engels wrote in one of his final letters to the soon-to-be-discarded Graebers [Wilhelm and Friedrich, priest trainees and former classmates of Engels]. [4]

Engels was a polyglot and was able to write and speak in languages including Russian, Italian, Portuguese, Irish, Spanish, Polish, French, English and Milanese dialect. [93]


Vladimir Lenin wrote: "After his friend Karl Marx (who died in 1883), Engels was the finest scholar and teacher of the modern proletariat in the whole civilised world.... In their scientific works, Marx and Engels were the first to explain that socialism is not the invention of dreamers, but the final aim and necessary result of the development of the productive forces in modern society. All recorded history hitherto has been a history of class struggle, of the succession of the rule and victory of certain social classes over others." [94]

However, Labour Party politician Tristram Hunt argues that Engels has become a convenient scapegoat, too easily blamed for the state crimes of the Soviet Union, Communist Southeast Asia and China. "Engels is left holding the bag of 20th century ideological extremism," Hunt writes, "while Marx is rebranded as the acceptable, postpolitical seer of global capitalism." [27] Hunt largely exonerates Engels stating that "in no intelligible sense can Engels or Marx bear culpability for the crimes of historical actors carried out generations later, even if the policies were offered up in their honor." [27]

Other writers, while admitting the distance between Marx and Engels and Stalin, are less charitable, noting for example that the anarchist Mikhail Bakunin predicted the oppressive potential of their ideas. "It is a fallacy that Marxism's flaws were exposed only after it was tried out in power.... [Marx and Engels] were centralisers. While talking about 'free associations of producers', they advocated discipline and hierarchy." [95]

Paul Thomas, of the University of California, Berkeley, claims that while Engels had been the most important and dedicated facilitator and diffuser of Marx's writings, he significantly altered Marx's intents as he held, edited and released them in a finished form, and commentated on them. Engels attempted to fill gaps in Marx's system and extend it to other fields. He stressed historical materialism in particular, assigning it a character of scientific discovery and a doctrine, indeed forming Marxism as such. A case in point is Anti-Dühring , which supporters of socialism, like its detractors, treated as an encompassing presentation of Marx's thought. And while in his extensive correspondence with German socialists Engels modestly presented his own secondary place in the couple's intellectual relationship and always emphasised Marx's outstanding role, Russian communists like Lenin raised Engels up with Marx and conflated their thoughts as if they were necessarily congruous. Soviet Marxists then developed this tendency to the state doctrine of Dialectical Materialism. [96]

In 2014, Engels's "magnificent beard" inspired a climbing wall sculpture in Salford. The 16 feet (4.9 m) high beard statue – a "symbol of wisdom and learning" – was planned to stand on the campus of the University of Salford. The arts company behind the piece, Engine, said that "the idea came from a 1980s plan to relocate an Eastern Bloc statue of the thinker to Manchester." [97]

Since 1931, Engels has had a city named after him  Engels in Saratov Oblast, Russia. It served as the capital of the Volga German Republic within Soviet Russia. A town named Marx is located 30 miles (48 km) northeast.

In the summer of 2017, as part of the Manchester International Festival, a Soviet-era statue of Engels, moved from Ukraine, was installed by sculptor Phil Collins at Tony Wilson Place in Manchester. [98] The installation drew criticism from Kevin Bolton in The Guardian . [99]

Major works

The Holy Family (1844)

Cover of the first edition of Engels's The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, first published in 1884 OriginOfFamily-1884.jpg
Cover of the first edition of Engels's The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State , first published in 1884

The Holy Family is a book written by Marx and Engels in November 1844. The book is a critique on the Young Hegelians and their trend of thought which was very popular in academic circles at the time. The title was a suggestion by the publisher and is meant as a sarcastic reference to the Bauer Brothers and their supporters. [100]

The book created a controversy with much of the press and caused Bruno Bauer to attempt refuting the book in an article published in Wigand's  [ de ]Vierteljahrsschrift in 1845. Bauer claimed that Marx and Engels misunderstood what he was trying to say. Marx later replied to his response with his own article published in the journal Gesellschaftsspiegel  [ de ] in January 1846. Marx also discussed the argument in chapter 2 of The German Ideology . [100]

The Condition of the Working Class in England (1845)

The Condition of the Working Class in England is a detailed description and analysis of the appalling conditions of the working class in Britain during Engels's stay in Manchester and Salford. The work also contains seminal thoughts on the state of socialism and its development. It was considered a classic in its time and must have been an eye-opener for most Germans. The work initially made rather little impact in England as it was not translated until the end of the nineteenth century. It was however very influential with historians of British industrialisation throughout the twentieth century. [101] The book was published in English in 1887.

Herr Eugen Dühring's Revolution in Science (1878)

Popularly known as Anti-Dühring, Herr Eugen Dühring's Revolution in Science is a detailed critique of the philosophical positions of Eugen Dühring, a German philosopher and critic of Marxism. In the course of replying to Dühring, Engels reviews recent advances in science and mathematics seeking to demonstrate the way in which the concepts of dialectics apply to natural phenomena. Many of these ideas were later developed in the unfinished work, Dialectics of Nature . Three chapters of Anti-Dühring were later edited and published under the separate title, Socialism: Utopian and Scientific.

Socialism: Utopian and Scientific (1880)

In what he presented as an extraordinarily popular piece, [102] Engels critiques the utopian socialists, such as Fourier and Owen, and provides an explanation of the socialist framework for understanding capitalism, and an outline of the progression of social and economic development from the perspective of historical materialism.

Dialectics of Nature (1883)

Dialectics of Nature (German: "Dialektik der Natur") is an unfinished 1883 work by Engels that applies Marxist ideas – particularly those of dialectical materialism – to science. It was first published in the USSR in 1925. [103]

The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State (1884)

The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State is a work connecting capitalism with what Engels argues is an ever-changing institution – the family. It was written when Engels was 64 years of age. It contains an historical view of the family in relation to issues of class, female subjugation and private property.


Engels‘ own beliefs were influenced by Charles Fourier. From Fourier, he derives four main points that characterize the social conditions of a communist state. The first point maintains that every individual would be able to fully develop their talents by eliminating the specialization of production. Without specialization, every individual would be permitted to exercise any vocation of their choosing for as long or as little as they would like. If talents permitted it, one could be a baker for a year and an engineer the next. The second point builds upon the first: with the ability of workers to cycle through different jobs of their choosing, the fundamental basis of the social division of labor is destroyed, and the social division of labor will disappear as a result. If anyone can employ himself at any job that he wishes, then there are clearly no longer any divisions or barriers to entry for labor. Otherwise, such fluidity between entirely different jobs would not exist. The third point continues from the second: once the social division of labor is gone, the division of social classes based on property ownership will fade with it. If labor division puts a man in charge of a farm, that farmer owns the productive resources of that farm. The same applies to the ownership of a factory or a bank. Without labor division, no single social class may claim exclusive rights to a particular means of production since the absence of labor division allows all to use it. Finally, the fourth point concludes that the elimination of social classes destroys the sole purpose of the state and it will cease to exist. As Engels stated in his own writing, the only purpose of the state is to abate the effects of class antagonisms. With the elimination of social classes based on property, the state becomes obsolete and a communist society, at least in the eyes of Engels, is achieved. [104]

Notes and references

  1. 1 2 Norman Levine, Divergent Paths: The Hegelian Foundations of Marx's Method, Lexington Books, 2006, p. 92: "the Young never graduated from the gymnasium, never went to university..."
  2. "Engels". Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary .
  3. Merriam-Webster, Engels.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Hunt, Tristram (2009), The Frock-Coated Communist: The Revolutionary Life of Friedrich Engels, Metropolitan/Henry Holt & Co, ISBN   9780805080254, OCLC   263983621.
  5. Theories of Surplus Value , in Collected Works of Marx and Englels: Volumes 30, 31 and 32 (International Publishers: New York, 1988).
  6. A copy of Friedrich Engels's birth certificate appears on page 577 of the Collected Works of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: Volume 2 (New York: International Publishers, 1975).
  7. "Friedrich Engels Facts in Encyclopedia of World Biography". The Gale Group, Inc. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  8. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Lenin: Friedrich Engels". Retrieved 13 February 2010.
  9. 1 2 Tucker, Robert C. The Marx-Engels Reader, p. xv
  10. Progress Publishers. "Preface by Progress Publishers". Retrieved 13 February 2010.
  11. "Footnotes to Volume 1 of Marx Engels Collected Works". 15 November 1941. Retrieved 13 February 2010.
  12. Heinrich Gemkow et al., Friedrich Engels: A Biography (Verlag Zeit im Bild: Dresden, Germany, 1972) p. 53.
  13. Friedrich Engels, W.O. Henderson, p. 9
  14. Friedrich Engels. "Letters of Marx and Engels, 1845". Retrieved 13 February 2010.
  15. 1 2 3 4 "Biography on Engels". Retrieved 13 February 2010.
  16. 1 2 "Legacies – Engels in Manchester". BBC. p. 1. Retrieved 13 February 2010.
  17. Salford Star, issue 6 Winter 2007, read on
  18. Wheen, Francis Karl Marx: A Life, p. 75.
  19. Heinrich Gemkow et al., Friedrich Engels: A Biography (Verlag Zeit im Bild: Dresden, Germany, 1972) pp. 53–54.
  20. Edmund Wilson, To the Finland Station: A Study in the Writing and Acting of History (1940)
  21. Harry Schmidtgall: Friedrich Engels´ Manchester-Aufenthalt 1842–1844. Soziale Bewegungen und politische Diskussionen. Mit Auszügen aus Jakob Venedeys England-Buch (1845) und unbekannten Engels-Dokumenten. Trier 1981, S. 61. (=Schriften aus dem Karl-Marx-Haus Nr. 25)
  22. 1 2 "Legacies – Engels in Manchester". BBC. p. 2. Retrieved 13 February 2010.
  23. Whitfield, Roy (1988) Friedrich Engels in Manchester, Working Class Movement Library, ISBN   0906932211
  24. Carver, Terrell (2003). Engels: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press. pp. 71–72.
  25. Draper, Hal (July 1970). "Marx and Engels on Women's Liberation". International Socialism . Retrieved 29 November 2011.
  26. "Outline of a Critique of Political Economy," Collected Works of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: Volume 3 (International Publishers: New York, 1975), pp. 418–445.
  27. 1 2 3 4 5 Fox Hunter, Party Animal, Leftist Warrior by Dwight Garner, The New York Times , 18 August 2009
  28. The Condition of the Working Class in England, in the Collected Works of Marx and Engels: Volume 4 (International Publishers: New York, 1975) pp. 295–596.
  29. 1 2 3 Salford Star, Issue 6 Winter 2007, "Friedrich Engels in Salford" part 1
  30. Karl Marx (1880). "Introduction to the French Edition of Engels". Archived from the original on 14 March 2004. Retrieved 13 February 2010.
  31. Whitfield, Roy (1988) "The Double Life of Friedrich Engels." In: Manchester Region History Review, vol. 2, no. 1, 1988
  32. The Life of Friedrich Engels, W. O. Henderson, first published in 1976
  33. Mike Dash (1 August 2013), "How Friedrich Engels' Radical Lover Helped Him Father Socialism: Mary Burns exposed the capitalist's son to the plight of the working people of Manchester",
  34. John Green (2008), A Revolutionary Life: Biography of Frederick Engels, ISBN   978-0955822803
  35. P.N. Fedoseyev et al, Karl Marx: A Biography (Progress Publishers: Moscow, 1973) pp. 41–42, 49.
  36. P. N. Fedoseyev, et al., Karl Marx: A Biography, p. 71.
  37. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Collected Works: Volume 4, p. 424.
  38. P.N. Fedoseyev, et al., Karl Marx: A Biography (Progress Publishers: Moscow, 1973) pp. 82–83.
  39. The Holy Family,Collected Works of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: Volume 4, pp. 3–211.
  40. P. N. Fedoseyev, et al., Karl Marx: A Biography (Progress Publishers: Moscow, 1973) p. 60.
  41. P.N. Fedoseyev et al., Karl Marx: A Biography pp. 57–58.
  42. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, "Letter from Marx to Ruge" (15 January 1845) contained in Collected Works: Volume 38, p. 15.
  43. Heinrich Gemkow et al., Friedrich Engels: A Biography p. 625.
  44. Heinrich Gemkow et al. Friedrich Engels: A Biography p. 625.
  45. German Ideology is located in the Collected Works of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels pp. 19–539.
  46. Heinrich Gemkow et al., Friedrich Engels: A Biography p. 101.
  47. Jacqes Pauwels. "Dinner with Marx in the House of the Swan" . Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  48. Isaiah Berlin, Karl Marx: His Life and Environment (Oxford University Press: Oxford, England, 1963) pp. 159–160.
  49. Isaiah Berlin, Karl Marx: His Life and Environment p. 160.
  50. P.N. Fedoseyev et al., Karl Marx: A Biography (Progress Publishers: Moscow, 1973) pp. 86–88.)
  51. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party contained in the Collected Works Volume 6 pp. 477–517.
  52. 1 2 3 Elisabeth Engels's letter contained at No. 6 of the Appendix, Collected Works of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: Volume 38 (International Publishers: New York, 1982) pp. 540–541.
  53. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, "Banquet in Gűrzenich" contained in the Collected Works: Volume 9 (International Publishers: New York, 1977) p. 490.
  54. 1 2 3 Elisabeth Engels's letter to Friedrich Engels contained at No. 8 of the Appendix in the Collected Works of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: Volume 38, p. 543.
  55. Friedrich Engels letter to Karl Marx dated 6 July 1851 and contained at No. 186 of the Collected Works of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: Volume 38, p. 378.
  56. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, "The Magyar Struggle" contained in Collected Works: Volume 8, pp. 227–238.
  57. See Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Collected Works: Volume 8, pp. 451–480 and Volume 9, pp. 9–463.
  58. "Engels, Friedrich (encyclopedia)". Retrieved 13 February 2010.
  59. Isaiah Berlin, Karl Marx: His Life and Environment, 4th ed. 1978, New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996, p. 130, ISBN   978-0-19-510326-7.
  60. Mike Rapport, 1848 Year of Revolution, London: Little Brown, 2008, p. 342, ISBN   978-0-316-72965-9.
  61. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, "Elberfeld" contained in the Collected Works: Volume 9 (International Publishers: New York, 1977) p. 447.
  62. Heinrich Gemkow, et al., Friedrich Engels: A Biography (Verlag Zeit im Bild: Dresden, 1972) p. 205.
  63. "Letter from Engels to Jenny Marx" (25 July 1849) contained in the Collected Works: Volume 38 pp. 202–204.
  64. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Collected Works: Volume 9, p. 524,
  65. Friedrich Engels letter contained at No. 183 of the Collected Works of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: Volume 38, p. 370.
  66. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Collected Works: Volume 10, p. 147.
  67. See the "Letter to from Engels to George Julian Harney" dated 5 October 1849, in the Collected Works of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: Volume 38 p. 217.
  68. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, "Letter from Engels to George Julian Harney (5 October 1849) Collected Works: Volume 38 p. 217.
  69. Heinrich Gemkow et al., Friedrich Engels: A Biography p. 213.
  70. "Legacies – Engels in Manchester". BBC. p. 4. Retrieved 13 February 2010.
  71. "Legacies – Engels in Manchester". BBC. p. 5. Retrieved 13 February 2010.
  72. "The Peasant War in Germany" and s contained in the Collected Works of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: Volume 10 pp. 397–482.
  73. The article called "The Campaign for the German Imperial Constitution" is contained in the Collected Works of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: Volume 10 p. 147
  74. The article "On the Slogan of the Abolition of the State and the German 'Friends of Anarchy'" is contained in the Collected Works of Marx and Engels: Volume 10 p. 486.
  75. The pamphlet "Conditions and Prospects of a War of the Holy Alliance against France" is contained in the Collected Works of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: Volume 10 p. 542.
  76. 1 2 Friedrich Engels's letter to Karl Marx dated 3 December 1851 contained in the "Collected Works of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: Volume 38", p. 503.
  77. See note 517 located at p. 635 in the "Collected Works of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: Volume 38.
  78. Karl Marx, "The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte" contained in the Collected Works of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: Volume 11, p. 98.
  79. Karl Marx, "The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte" contained in the Collected Works of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: Volume 11, p. 103.
  80. See the letter from Friedrich Engels to Joseph Weydemeyer dated 12 April 1853, contained in the Collected Works of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: Volume 39 (New York: International Publishers, 1983) pp. 305–306.
  81. Letter from Fredereick Engels to Joseph Weydemeyer dated 12 April 1853 contained in the Collected Works of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: Volume 39, p. 306.
  82. W. Bruce Lincoln, The Romanovs: Autocrats of All the Russias (New York: Dial Press, 1981) pp. 408–413.
  83. See the letter from Karl Marx to Vera Zasulich contained in the Collected Works of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: Volume 46, (New York: International Press, 1992), pp. 71–72, and Engels's "Preface to the Russian Edition of 1882" in The Communist Manifesto.
  84. Gareth Stedman Jones, note on Engels's "Preface to the Russian Edition of 1882" in The Communist Manifesto (London: Penguin Books, 2002).
  85. Plaque #213 on Open Plaques . – Accessed July 2010
  86. "Photos of Marx's Residence(s)". Retrieved 13 February 2010.
  87. Henderson, William Otto (1976). The Life of Friedrich Engels. Psychology Press. p. 567. ISBN   978-0-7146-3040-3.
  88. Samuel Hollander (2011). Friedrich Engels and Marxian Political Economy. Cambridge University Press. p. 358. ISBN   978-1-139-49844-9.
  89. 1 2 "Letters: Marx-Engels Correspondence 1895". Retrieved 13 February 2010.
  90. Kerrigan, Michael (1998). Who Lies Where – A guide to famous graves. London: Fourth Estate Limited. p. 156. ISBN   978-1-85702-258-2.
  91. Manchester Photographers by Gillian Read. Ed. Royal Photographic Society's Historical Group, 1982: "George Lester, 51, King Street, Manchester (1863–1868). See the photo in Jenny Marx album too.
  92. Engels, Friedrich. "Friedrich Engels's "Confession"". Marxists Internet Archive. Archived from the original on 27 April 2014. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  93. Paul Lafargue; Jacques Bonhomme (15 August 1905). "Friedrich Engels". Marxists Internet Archive (from The Social Democrat journal). Marxists Internet Archive. Retrieved 15 April 2013.
  94. Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. "Friedrich Engels". Retrieved 25 January 2011.
  95. Robert Service (2007). Comrades: A World History of Communism. London: Macmillan. p. 37
  96. Thomas, Paul (1991), "Critical Reception: Marx then and now", in Carver, Terrell (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Marx, Cambridge University Press, pp. 36–42
  97. "Friedrich Engels' beard inspires climbing sculpture in Salford". BBC News. 9 December 2014. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
  98. "Watch as Friedrich Engels statue is put together in Manchester city centre". Manchester Evening News. 14 July 2017. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  99. Bolton, Kevin (19 July 2017). "Manchester has a Soviet statue of Engels. Shame no one asked the city's Ukrainians". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  100. 1 2 "The Holy Family by Marx and Engels". Retrieved 13 February 2010.
  101. Griffin, Emma. "The 'industrial revolution': interpretations from 1830 to the present" . Retrieved 9 March 2013.
  102. Engels, Friedrich (1970) [1892]. "Introduction". Socialism: Utopian and Scientific. Marx/Engels Selected Works. 3. Progress Publishers. From this French text, a Polish and a Spanish edition were prepared. In 1883, our German friends brought out the pamphlet in the original language. Italian, Russian, Danish, Dutch, and Roumanian translations, based upon the German text, have since been published. Thus, the present English edition, this little book circulates in 10 languages. I am not aware that any other Socialist work, not even our Communist Manifesto of 1848, or Marx's Capital, has been so often translated. In Germany, it has had four editions of about 20,000 copies in all. Cited in Carver, Terrell (2003). Engels: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press. p. 56. and Thomas, Paul (1991), "Critical Reception: Marx then and now", in Carver, Terrell (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Marx, Cambridge University Press
  103. Engels. "1883-Dialectics of Nature-Index". Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  104. Levine, Norman (August 1985). "Lenin's Utopianism". Studies in Soviet Thought. 30 (2): 101–102. JSTOR   20100033.


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