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Karl Marx

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Karl Marx is a German philosopher best known for his economic-based theories on how class conflict and historical materialism have shaped history. He outlines and elaborates on these theories in The Communist Manifesto, written by Marx and Friedrich Engels in London in the 1800s. This guidebook to Communism suggested a course of action for a proletariat revolution to overthrow Communism and create a classless society. Marx's ideas on historical materialism are based on the idea that all of history has been about how things are produced, which is central to the idea of the oppressed and the oppressor, which explains the causes of class conflict.

In this paper I will be explaining how Karl Marx's ideas of historical materialism and class conflict differ from the earlier philosophical writings about the nature of reason, equality, and property, specifically from the 18th century philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau. My thesis is that Karl Marx and Jean-Jacques Rousseau share many of the same philosophies in some areas of thought, and differ in others.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau was born in Geneva, Switzerland in 1712, and was a philosopher of the Enlightenment Age. His ideas and writings influenced the French Revolution and the Socialist theory.

Marx and Rousseau share the communistic view that private property for citizens and the division of labor has had a negative effect on society, for these traits serve to enhance capitalism and create class conflict.

This conflict, Rousseau believed, is part of a social contract of sorts created by the bourgeoisie in which the rich and powerful deceived the proletariat, or working class, by making them believe that their views and priorities were the same. This is very similar to Marx's theory of false consciousness, which is the false sense that the middle and lower classes have the same goals and ideals, and is used by the bourgeoisie to subtly control the proletariat.

In a departure from the common ideas of most of his fellow Enlightenment thinkers, Rousseau takes the position that if the "natural state" still existed, there would be no property to fight over and no government to create inequality, the nature of human beings is free of conflict. Theoretically, this could be used to explain Marx's idea that all conflict is based on historical materialism and social class conflict. If there were no private property, there would be no owners and workers of the land, which would obviate the need for government to regulate production and labor because there would be no competitive markets in which to buy and sell products. Marx believed that "existence precedes consciousness"

Rousseau's position on private property is echoed in Marx and Engels' statement that "The distinguishing feature of Communism is not the abolition of property generally, but the abolition of bourgeois property. But modern bourgeois



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