10 Things You Might Not Know About Karl Marx

1. Karl Marx (1818-1883) was one of nine children born to Heinrich and Henrietta Marx. His parents raised him in Trier, a city that would eventually deny Marx citizenship for his radical views.

2. Marx’s father converted to Lutheranism in reaction to the Prussian government’s move to rid their ranks of Jews. As a political move, Heinrich had all of his children baptized in the Lutheran church.

3. After being homeschooled for 12 years, Marx enrolled at the Friedrich-Wilhelm Gymnasium. Due to the high number of liberal instructors at the gymnasium, the police raided the school during Marx’s matriculation. 

4. During his years as an undergraduate at the University of Bonn, Marx was a troublemaker. The police were suspicious of Marx, for he frequently carried a gun. He was once arrested for drunkenness and disturbing the peace, likely due to his leadership role in a club called the Trier Tavern Club, an on-campus drinking society.

5. While a student at Bonn, a rift had formed between him and his family due to his poor character. This gaping divide was so wide that Marx did not attend his father’s funeral when he passed away from tuberculosis in May 1838. 

6. Marx was expelled from multiple countries. In 1842, he was forced out of Prussia and sought refuge in France. Three years later, he was expelled from yet another nation and sought refuge in Belgium. In 1848, he was driven out of Belgium, and he fled back to his home country of Prussia but was expelled again that same year. He finally moved to London, and although Britain denied him citizenship, he lived there for the rest of his life.

7. Upon his move to England, Marx and his family endured great poverty. While he created fake names to evade creditors, his wife pawned his clothing to buy food. 

8. In a letter to his great friend and partner, Friedrich Engels, Marx recalled a statement his mother once said regarding his poor financial situation: “If only Karl made capital instead of just writing about it.”

9. President Abraham Lincoln corresponded with Marx. Though he received enough mail for multiple secretaries to muddle through, the President elected to reply to an address sent to him by the International Workingmen’s Association. Marx had drafted this letter to Lincoln congratulating him for his second re-election and commented on the significance of the South’s defeat on the future of politics.

10. On March 14, 1883, Marx died at the age of 64. Although his name is recognized around the world, only 11 people attended his funeral. 

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