A Brief Look at Karl Marx

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A person does not have to positively impact the world to be influential. Karl Marx certainly left a mark on the world, but whether his impact was revolutionary or simply detrimental is up to debate. Marx was largely influenced by the ideas of Enlightenment figures like Adam Smith, David Ricardo, and Hegel. Most know him in regard to his writing the Communist Manifesto and its influence on revolutions that led to the formation of notoriously oppressive communist states. His ideas form the base of modern international communism, and for that Michael Hart gives Karl Marx a ranking of twenty-seven in his book The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History. This ranking seems accurate given the factors that influenced him, his accomplishments, and their effects on the world. Karl Marx drew from the philosophies of the great thinkers of his time to perfect his ideal communist system. He was born into a time when ideas of the Enlightenment were widespread. He read the works of Adam Smith, David Ricardo, and the Comte de Saint-Simon (Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia). However, he was especially influenced by G.W.F. Hegel, the most prominent philosopher in Germany in the early 1800s (Microsoft Encarta). Hegel believed that ideas evolve through a continual process of contradiction and resolution and that human history is driven by this evolution. Consequently, Marx developed the belief that history evolves through a series of conflicts in a predictable, unavoidable
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