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Title: Selected Essays
Author: Marx, Karl, 1818-1883
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                       SELECTED ESSAYS

                          KARL MARX

                        TRANSLATED BY
                        H.J. STENNING

                 _Essay Index Reprint Series_

                      FREEPORT, NEW YORK

                     First Published 1926
                        Reprinted 1968




The present volume consists of a translation of some of Karl Marx's
principal writings during the six years 1844-1850.

In 1843 Marx was twenty-five years old. He had just married,
apparently on the strength of the modest salary he was to receive for
editing, jointly with Arnold Ruge, a periodical called the
_Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher_ (_Franco-German Annuals_), the
purpose of which was to promote the union of German philosophy with
French social science. Only one double-number of this journal appeared
in 1844. It contained Marx's criticism of the Hegelian Philosophy of
Right and his exposition of the social significance of the Jewish
question, in the form of a review of two works by Bruno Bauer.

Translations of both articles are given in this volume.

They possess a special interest for the Marxian student, as they
exhibit the grafting of a materialist philosophy upon the idealist
philosophy of Hegel, and show the employment of the Hegelian dialectic
in the investigation of political and historical questions.

It was not long before Marx and Ruge became intellectually estranged,
and the third essay, "The King of Prussia and Social Reform," which
appeared in the Paris socialist journal _Vorwärts_, contains a severe
polemic against Ruge. In the same organ Marx published an elaborate
defence of Engels in particular and communists in general from the
strictures of Karl Heinzen, a radical republican politician. In both
essays Marx ranges over a wide field, and develops his own views upon
economic, political and historical questions.

The essay on Proudhon emphasizes the special merits of that writer as
a pioneer of economic criticism, and forms a counterweight to Marx's
devastating criticism of Proudhon in the "Poverty of Philosophy." This
piece and the sketch of French materialism are extracted from _Die
Heilige Familie_ (_The Holy Family_), a comprehensive work of
satirical criticism, in which Marx and Engels (whose share in writing
the book was a very small one), settled accounts with their
philosophic conscience.

The critique of the views of M. Guizot upon the English and French
middle-class revolutions appeared in the _Neue Rhenische Revue_ (_New
Rhenish Review_), a periodical which Marx and Engels edited from
London in 1850.





ON THE JEWISH QUESTION                                         40


 AGAINST KARL HEINZEN                                         134

PROUDHON                                                      171

FRENCH MATERIALISM                                            180

THE ENGLISH REVOLUTION                                        196



As far as Germany is concerned the criticism of religion is
practically completed, and the criticism of religion is the basis of
all criticism.

The profane existence of error is threatened when its heavenly _oratio
pro aris et focis_[1] has been refuted.

He who has only found a reflexion of himself in the fantastic reality
of heaven where he looked for a superman, will no longer be willing to
find only the semblance of himself, only the sub-human, where he seeks
and ought to find his own reality.

The foundation of the criticism of religion is: Man makes religion,
religion does not make man. Religion indeed is man's self-consciousness
and self-estimation while he has not found his feet in the universe.
But Man is no abstract being, squatting outside the world. Man is the
world of men, the State, society. This State, this society produces
religion, which is an inverted world-consciousness, because they are an
inverted world. Religion is the general theory of this world, its
encyclopædic compendium, its logic in popular form, its spiritualistic
_Point d'honneur_, its enthusiasm, its moral sanction, its solemn
complement, its general basis of consolation and justification. It is
the fantastic realization of the human being, inasmuch as the human
being possesses no true reality. The struggle against religion is
therefore indirectly the struggle against that world whose spiritual
aroma is religion.

Religious misery is in one mouth the expression of real misery, and in
another is a protestation against real misery. Religion is the moan of
the oppressed creature, the sentiment of a heartless world, as it is
the spirit of spiritless conditions. It is the opium of the people.

The abolition of religion, as the illusory happiness of the people, is
the demand for their real happiness. The demand to abandon the
illusions about their condition is a demand to abandon a condition
which requires illusions. The criticism of religion therefore
contains potentially the criticism of the Vale of Tears whose aureole
is religion.

Criticism has plucked the imaginary flowers which adorned the chain,
not that man should wear his fetters denuded of fanciful
embellishment, but that he should throw off the chain, and break the
living flower.

The criticism of religion disillusions man, so that he thinks, acts,
shapes his reality like the disillusioned man come to his senses, so
that he revolves around himself, and thus around his real sun.
Religion is but the illusory sun which revolves around man, so long as
he does not revolve around himself.

It is therefore the task of history, once the _thither_ side of truth
has vanished, to establish the truth of the _hither_ side.

The immediate task of philosophy, when enlisted in the service of
history, is to unmask human self-alienation in its unholy shape, now
that it has been unmasked in its holy shape. Thus the criticism of
heaven transforms itself into the criticism of earth, the criticism of
religion into the criticism of right, and the criticism of theology
into the criticism of politics.

The following essay--a contribution to this work--is in the first
place joined not to the original, but to a copy, to the German
philosophy of politics and of right, for no other reason than because
it pertains to Germany.

If one should desire to strike a point of contact with the German
_status quo_, albeit in the only appropriate way, which is negatively,
the result would ever remain an anachronism. Even the denial of our
political present is already a dust-covered fact in the historical
lumber room of modern nations. If I deny the powdered wig, I still
have to deal with unpowdered wigs. If I deny the German conditions of
1843, I stand, according to French chronology, scarcely in the year
1789, let alone in the focus of the present.

German history flatters itself that it has a movement which no people
in the historical heaven have either executed before or will execute
after it. We have in point of fact shared in the restoration epoch of
modern nations without participating in their revolutions.

We were restored, in the first place, because other nations dared to
make a revolution, and, in the second place, because other nations
suffered a counter revolution: in the first place, because our
masters were afraid, and, in the second place, because they regained
their courage.

Led by our shepherds, we suddenly found ourselves in the society of
freedom on the day of its interment.

As a school which legitimates the baseness of to-day by the baseness
of yesterday, a school which explains every cry of the serf against
the knout as rebellious, once the knout becomes a prescriptive, a
derivative, a historical knout, a school to which history only shows
itself _a posteriori_, like the God of Israel to his servant Moses,
the historical juridical school would have invented German history,
were it not itself an invention of German history.

On the other hand, good-humoured enthusiasts, Teutomaniacs by
upbringing and freethinkers by reflexion, seek for our history of
freedom beyond our history in the Teutonic primeval woods. But in what
respect is our freedom history distinguished from the freedom history
of the boar, if it is only to be found in the woods? Moreover, as one
shouts into the wood, so one's voice comes back in answer ("As the
question, so the answer"). Therefore peace to the Teutonic primeval

But war to German conditions, at all events! They lie below the level
of history, they are liable to all criticism, but they remain a
subject for criticism just as the criminal who is below the level of
humanity remains a subject for the executioner.

Grappling with them, criticism is no passion of the head, it is the
head of passion. It is no anatomical knife, it is a weapon. Its object
is its enemy, which it will not refute but destroy. For the spirit of
the conditions has been refuted. In and for themselves they are no
memorable objects, but existences as contemptible as they are
despised. Criticism has already settled all accounts with this
subject. It no longer figures as an end in itself, but only as a
means. Its essential pathos is indignation, its essential work is

What we have to do is to describe a series of social spheres, all
exercising a somewhat sluggish pressure upon each other, a general
state of inactive dejection, a limitation which recognizes itself as
much as it misunderstands itself, squeezed within the framework of a
governmental system, which, living on the conservation of all
meannesses, is itself nothing less than meanness in government.

What a spectacle! On the one hand, the infinitely ramified division of
society into the most varied races, which confront each other with
small antipathies, bad consciences, and brutal mediocrity, and
precisely because of the ambiguous and suspicious positions which they
occupy towards each other, such positions being devoid of all real
distinctions although coupled with various formalities, are treated by
their lords as existences on sufferance. And even more. The fact that
they are ruled, governed, and owned they must acknowledge and confess
as a favour of heaven! On the other hand, there are those rulers
themselves whose greatness is in inverse proportion to their number.

The criticism which addresses itself to this object is criticism in
hand-to-hand fighting, and in hand-to-hand fighting, it is not a
question of whether the opponent is a noble opponent, of equal birth,
or an interesting opponent; it is a question of meeting him. It is
thus imperative that the Germans should have no opportunity for
self-deception and resignation. The real pressure must be made more
oppressive by making men conscious of the pressure, and the disgrace
more disgraceful by publishing it.

Every sphere of German society must be described as the _partie
honteuse_[2] of German society, these petrified conditions must be
made to dance by singing to them their own melody! The people must be
taught to be startled at their own appearance, in order to implant
courage into them.

And even for modern nations this struggle against the narrow-minded
actuality of the German _status quo_ cannot be without interest, for
the German _status quo_ represents the frank completion of the _ancien
régime_, and the _ancien régime_ is the concealed defect of the modern
State. The struggle against the German political present is the
struggle against the past of modern nations, which are still vexed by
the recollections of this past. For them it is instructive to see the
_ancien régime_, which enacted its tragedy with them, playing its
comedy as the German _revenant_. Its history was tragic so long as it
was the pre-existing power of the world, and freedom, on the other
hand, a personal invasion, in a word, so long as it believed and was
obliged to believe in its justification. So long as the _ancien
régime_ as the existing world order struggled with a nascent world,
historical error was on its side, but not personal perversity. Its
downfall was therefore tragic.

On the other hand, the present German régime, which is an anachronism,
a flagrant contradiction of the generally recognized axiom of the
obsolescence of the _ancien régime_, imagines that it believes in
itself, and extorts from the world the same homage. If it believed in
its own being, would it seek to hide it under the semblance of an
alien being and look for its salvation in hypocrisy and sophistry? The
modern _ancien régime_ is merely the comedian of a world order whose
real heroes are dead.

History is thorough, and passes through many phases when it bears an
old figure to the grave. The last phase of a world historical figure
is its comedy. The gods of Greece, once tragically wounded to death in
the chained Prometheus of Æschylus, were fated to die a comic death in
Lucian's dialogues. Why does history take this course? In order that
mankind may break away in a jolly mood from its past.

In the light of this historical foresight, the political powers of
Germany are vindicated. As soon then as the modern politico-social
reality is itself subjected to criticism, as soon, therefore, as
criticism raises itself to the height of truly human problems, it
either finds itself outside the German _status quo_, or it would delve
beneath the latter to find its object.

To take an example! The relation of industry, and of the world of
wealth generally, to the political world is one of the chief problems
of modern times. Under what form is this problem beginning to engage
the attention of Germans? Under the form of protective tariffs, of the
system of prohibition, of political economy. Teutomania has passed out
of men and gone into matter, and thus one fine day we saw our cotton
knights and iron heroes transformed into patriots. Thus in Germany we
are beginning to recognize the sovereignty of monopoly at home, in
order that it may be invested with sovereignty abroad. We are now
beginning in Germany at the point where they are leaving off in France
and England.

The old rotten condition, against which these countries are
theoretically in revolt, and which they only tolerate as chains are
borne, is greeted in Germany as the dawning of a splendid future,
which as yet scarcely dares to translate itself from cunning[3] theory
into the most ruthless practice. Whereas the problem in France and
England reads: Political economy or the rule of society over wealth,
it reads in Germany: national economy or the rule of private property
over nationality. Thus England and France are faced with the question
of abolishing monopoly which has been carried to its highest point; in
Germany the question is to carry monopoly to its highest point.

If, therefore, the total German development were not in advance of the
political German development, a German could at the most take part in
present-day problems only in the same way as a Russian can do so.

But if the individual is not bound by the ties of a nation, the entire
nation is even less liberated by the emancipation of an individual.
The Scythians made no advance towards Greek culture because Greece
numbered a Scythian among her philosophers. Luckily we Germans are no

As the old nations lived their previous history in imagination, in
mythology, so we Germans live our history to come in thought, in
philosophy. We are philosophical contemporaries of the present without
being its historical contemporaries. German philosophy is the ideal
prolongation of German history. If, therefore, we criticize the
_oeuvres posthumes_ of our ideal history, philosophy, instead of the
_oeuvres incomplètes_ of our real history, our criticism occupies a
position among the questions of which the present says: _that is the
question_.[4] That which represents the decaying elements of practical
life among the progressive nations with modern State conditions first
of all becomes critical decay in the philosophical reflexion of these
conditions in Germany, where the conditions themselves do not yet

German juridical and political philosophy is the sole element of
German history which stands _al pari_ with the official modern

The German people must therefore strike this their dream history
against their existing conditions, and subject to criticism not only
these conditions, but at the same time their abstract continuation.

Their future can neither be confined to the direct denial of their
real nor to the direct enforcement of their ideal political and
juridical conditions, for they possess the direct denial of their real
conditions in their ideal conditions, and the direct enforcement of
their ideal conditions they have almost outlived in the opinion of
neighbouring nations. Consequently the practical political party in
Germany properly demands the negation of philosophy. Its error
consists not in the demand, but in sticking to the demand, which
seriously it neither does nor can enforce. It believes it can
accomplish this negation by turning its back on philosophy, the while
its averted head utters a few irritable and banal phrases over it.
Moreover, its horizon is so limited as to exclude philosophy from the
realm of German actuality unless it imagines philosophy to be implied
in German practice and in the theories subserving it. It urges the
necessity for linking up with vital forces, but forgets that the real
vital force of the German people has hitherto only pullulated under
its skull.

In a word: you cannot abolish philosophy without putting it into
practice. The same error, only with the factors reversed, is
committed by the theoretical party, the political party which founds
on philosophy.

The latter perceives in the present struggle only the critical
struggle of philosophy with the German world; it does not suspect that
all previous philosophy has itself been a part of this world, and is
its complement, if an ideal one. While critical towards its opposing
party, it behaves uncritically towards itself. It starts from the
assumptions of philosophy, but either refuses to carry further the
results yielded by philosophy, or claims as the direct outcome of
philosophy results and demands which have been culled from another

We reserve to ourselves a more detailed examination of this party.

Its fundamental defect may be reduced to this: it believes it can
enforce philosophy without abolishing it. The criticism of German
juridical and political philosophy, which has received through Hegel
its most consistent, most ample and most recent shape, is at once both
the critical analysis of the modern State and of the actuality which
is connected therewith, and in addition the decisive repudiation of
the entire previous mode of the German political and juridical
consciousness, whose principal and most universal expression, elevated
to the level of a science, is speculative jurisprudence itself.

While, on the one hand, speculative jurisprudence, this abstract and
exuberant thought-process of the modern State, is possible only in
Germany, on the other hand, the German conception of the modern State,
making abstraction of real men, was only possible because and in so
far as the modern State itself makes abstraction of real men or only
satisfies the whole of man in an imaginary manner.

Germans have thought in politics what other peoples have done. Germany
was _their_ theoretical conscience. The abstraction and arrogance of
her thought always kept an even pace with the one-sidedness and
stunted growth of her actuality. If, therefore, the _status quo_ of
the German civic community expresses the completion of the _ancien
régime_, the completion of the pile driven into the flesh of the
modern State, the _status quo_ of German political science expresses
the inadequacy of the modern State, the decay that is set up in its

As a decisive counterpart of the previous mode of German political
consciousness, the criticism of speculative jurisprudence does not run
back upon itself, but assumes the shape of problems for whose solution
there is only one means: practice.

The question arises: can Germany attain to a practice _à la hauteur de
principes_,[5] that is, to a revolution which will not only raise her
to the level of modern nations, but to the human level which will be
the immediate future of these nations?

The weapon of criticism cannot in any case replace the criticism of
weapons, material force must be overthrown by material force, but
theory too becomes a material force as soon as it grasps weapons.
Theory is capable of grasping weapons as soon as its argument becomes
_ad hommine_, and its argument becomes _ad hominem_ as soon as it
becomes radical. To be radical is to grasp the matter by its root. Now
the root for mankind is man himself. The evident proof of the
radicalism of German theory, and therefore of its practical energy, is
its outcome from the decisive and positive abolition of religion.

The criticism of religion ends with the doctrine that man is the
supreme being for mankind, and therefore with the categorical
imperative to overthrow all conditions in which man is a degraded,
servile, neglected, contemptible being, conditions which cannot be
better described than by the exclamation of a Frenchman on the
occasion of a projected dog tax: "Poor dogs; they want to treat you
like men!"

Even historically, theoretical emancipation has a specifically
practical significance for Germany. Germany's revolutionary past is
particularly theoretical, it is the Reformation. Then it was the monk,
and now it is the philosopher in whose brain the revolution begins.

Luther vanquished servility based upon devotion, because he replaced
it by servility based upon conviction. He shattered faith in
authority, because he restored the authority of faith. He transformed
parsons into laymen, because he transformed laymen into parsons. He
liberated men from outward religiosity, because he made religiosity an
inward affair of the heart. He emancipated the body from chains,
because he laid chains upon the heart.

But if Protestantism is not the true solution, it was the true
formulation of the problem. The question was no longer a struggle
between the layman and the parson external to him; it was a struggle
with his own inner parson, his parsonic nature. And if the protestant
transformation of German laymen into parsons emancipated the lay
popes, the princes, together with their clergy, the privileged and the
philistines, the philosophic transformation of the parsonic Germans
into men will emancipate the people. But little as emancipation stops
short of the princes, just as little will the secularization of
property stop short of church robbery, which was chiefly set on foot
by the hypocritical Prussians. Then the Peasants' War, the most
radical fact of German history, came to grief on the reef of theology.
To-day, when theology itself has come to grief, the most servile fact
of German history, our _status quo_, will be shivered on the rock of

The day before the Reformation, official Germany was the most abject
vassal of Rome. The day before its revolution, it is the abject vassal
of less than Rome, of Prussia and Austria, of country squires and

Meanwhile there seems to be an important obstacle to a radical German

Revolutions in fact require a passive element, a material foundation.

Theory becomes realized among a people only in so far as it represents
the realization of that people's needs. Will the immense cleavage
between the demands of the German intellect and the responses of
German actuality now involve a similar cleavage of middle-class
society from the State, and from itself? Will theoretical needs merge
directly into practical needs? It is not enough that the ideas press
towards realization; reality itself must stimulate to thinking.

But Germany did not pass through the middle stages of political
emancipation simultaneously with the modern nations. Even the stages
which she has overcome theoretically she has not reached practically.

How would she be able to clear with a _salto mortale_ not only her own
obstacles, but at the same time the obstacles of modern nations,
obstacles which she must actually feel to mean a liberation to be
striven for from her real obstacles? A radical revolution can only be
the revolution of radical needs, whose preliminary conditions appear
to be wholly lacking.

Although Germany has only accompanied the development of nations with
the abstract activity of thought, without taking an active part in the
real struggles incident to this development, she has, on the other
hand, shared in the suffering incident to this development, without
sharing in its enjoyments, or their partial satisfaction. Abstract
activity on the one side corresponds to abstract suffering on the
other side.

Consequently, one fine day Germany will find herself at the level of
European decay, before she has ever stood at the level of European
emancipation. The phenomenon may be likened to a fetish-worshipper,
who succumbs to the diseases of Christianity.

Looking upon German governments, we find that, owing to contemporary
conditions, the situation of Germany, the standpoint of German culture
and finally their own lucky instincts, they are driven to combine the
civilized shortcomings of the modern State world, whose advantages we
do not possess, with the barbarous shortcomings of the _ancien
régime_, which we enjoy in full measure, so that Germany is constantly
obliged to participate, if not intelligently, at any rate
unintelligently, in the State formations which lie beyond her _status

Is there for example a country in the world which shares so naïvely in
all the illusions of the constitutional community, without sharing in
its realities, as does so-called constitutional Germany? Was it
necessary to combine German governmental interference, the tortures of
the censorship, with the tortures of the French September laws which
presupposed freedom of the press? Just as one found the gods of all
nations in the Roman pantheon, so will one find the flaws of all State
forms in the Holy Roman German Empire. That this eclecticism will
reach a point hitherto unsuspected is guaranteed in particular by the
politico-æsthetic _gourmanderie_ of a German king, who thinks he can
play all the parts of monarchy, both of the feudal and the
bureaucratic, both of the absolute and the constitutional, of the
autocratic as of the democratic, if not in the person of his people,
then in his own person, if not for the people, then for himself.
Germany as the embodiment of the defect of the political present,
constituted in her own world, will not be able to overthrow the
specifically German obstacles without overthrowing the general
obstacles of the political present.

It is not the radical revolution which is a utopian dream for Germany,
not the general human emancipation, but rather the partial, the merely
political revolution, the revolution which leaves the pillars of the
house standing. Upon what can a partial, a merely political revolution
base itself? Upon the fact that a part of bourgeois society could
emancipate itself and attain to general rulership, upon the fact that,
by virtue of its special situation, a particular class could undertake
the general emancipation of society. This class would liberate the
whole of society, but only upon the assumption that the whole of
society found itself in the situation of this class, and consequently
possessed money and education, for instance, or could acquire them if
it liked.

No class in bourgeois society can play this part without setting up a
wave of enthusiasm in itself and among the masses, a wave of feeling
wherein it would fraternize and commingle with society in general, and
would feel and be recognized as society's general representative, a
wave of enthusiasm wherein its claims and rights would be in truth
the claims and rights of society itself, wherein it would really be
the social head and the social heart. Only in the name of the general
rights of society can a particular class vindicate for itself the
general rulership.

Revolutionary energy and intellectual self-confidence are not
sufficient by themselves to enable a class to attain to this
emancipatory position, and thereby exploit politically all social
spheres in the interest of its own sphere. In order that the
revolution of a people should coincide with the emancipation of a
special class of bourgeois society, it is necessary for a class to
stand out as a class representing the whole of society. Thus further
involves, as its obverse side, the concentration of all the defects of
society in another class, and this particular class must be the
embodiment of the general social obstacles and impediments. A
particular social sphere must be identical with the notorious crime of
society as a whole, in such wise that the emancipation of this sphere
would appear to be the general self-emancipation. In order that one
class should be the class of emancipation _par excellence_, another
class must contrariwise be the class of manifest subjugation. The
negative-general significance of the French nobility and the French
clergy was the condition of the positive-general significance of the
class of the bourgeoisie, which was immediately encroaching upon and
confronting the former.

But in Germany every class lacks not only the consistency, the
keenness, the courage, the ruthlessness, which might stamp it as the
negative representative of society. It lacks equally that breadth of
soul which would identify it, if only momentarily, with the popular
soul, that quality of genius which animates material power until it
becomes political power, that revolutionary boldness which hurls at
the opponent the defiant words: I am nothing, and I have to be
everything. But the stock-in-trade of German morality and honour, not
only as regards individuals but also as regards classes, constitutes
rather that modest species of egoism which brings into prominence its
own limitations.

The relation of the various spheres of German society is therefore not
dramatic, but epic. Each of them begins to be self-conscious and to
press its special claims upon the others not when it is itself
oppressed, but when the conditions of the time, irrespective of its
co-operation, create a sociable foundation from which it can on its
part practise oppression. Even the moral self-esteem of the German
middle class is only based on the consciousness of being the general
representative of the philistine mediocrity of all the other classes.

Consequently it is not only the German kings who succeed to the throne
_mal à propos_, but it is every sphere of bourgeois society which
experiences its defeat before it celebrates its victory, develops its
own handicaps before it overcomes the handicaps which confront it,
asserts its own narrow-minded nature before it can assert its generous
nature, so that even the opportunity of playing a great part is always
past before it actually existed, and each class, so soon as it embarks
on a struggle with the class above it, becomes involved in a struggle
with the class below it. Consequently, the princedom finds itself
fighting the monarchy, the bureaucrat finds himself fighting the
nobility, the bourgeois finds himself fighting them all, while the
proletariat is already commencing to fight the bourgeois.

The middle class hardly dares to seize hold of the ideas of
emancipation from its own standpoint before the development of social
conditions and the progress of political theory declare this
standpoint to be antiquated, or at least very problematical. In France
partial emancipation is the basis of universal emancipation. In
Germany universal emancipation is the _conditio sine quâ non_ of every
partial emancipation. In France it is the reality, in Germany it is
the impossibility of gradual emancipation which must bring forth
entire freedom. In France every popular class is tinged with political
idealism, and does not feel primarily as a particular class, but as
the representative of social needs generally. The rôle of emancipator,
therefore, flits from one class to another of the French people in a
dramatic movement, until it eventually reaches the class which will no
longer realize social freedom upon the basis of certain conditions
lying outside of mankind and yet created by human society, but will
rather organize all the conditions of human existence upon the basis
of social freedom. In Germany, on the other hand, where practical life
is as unintellectual as intellectual life is unpractical, no class of
bourgeois society either feels the need or possesses the capacity for
emancipation, unless driven thereto by its immediate position, by
material necessity, by its chains themselves.

Wherein, therefore, lies the positive possibility of German

Answer: In the formation of a class in radical chains, a class which
finds itself in bourgeois society, but which is not of it, an order
which shall break up all orders, a sphere which possesses a universal
character by virtue of its universal suffering, which lays claim to no
special right, because no particular wrong but wrong in general is
committed upon it, which can no longer invoke a historical title, but
only a human title, which stands not in a one-sided antagonism to the
consequences, but in a many-sided antagonism to the assumptions of the
German community, a sphere finally which cannot emancipate itself
without emancipating all the other spheres of society, which
represents in a word the complete loss of mankind, and can therefore
only redeem itself through the complete redemption of mankind. The
dissolution of society reduced to a special order is the proletariat.

The proletariat arises in Germany only with the beginning of the
industrial movement; for it is not poverty resulting from natural
circumstances but poverty artificially created, not the masses who are
held down by the weight of the social system, but the multitude
released by the acute break-up of society--especially of the middle
class--which gives rise to the proletariat. When the proletariat
proclaims the dissolution of the existing order of things it is merely
announcing the secret of its own existence, for it is in itself the
virtual dissolution of this order of things. When the proletariat
desires the negation of private property, it is merely elevating to a
general principle of society what it already involuntarily embodies in
itself as the negative product of society.

With respect to the nascent world the proletariat finds itself in the
same position as the German king occupies with respect to the departed
world, when he calls the people his people, just as he calls a horse
his horse. In declaring the people to be his private property, the
king acknowledges that private property is king.

Just as philosophy finds in the proletariat its material weapons, so
the proletariat finds in philosophy its intellectual weapons, and as
soon as the lightning of thought has penetrated into the flaccid
popular soil, the elevation of Germans into men will be accomplished.

Let us summarize the result at which we have arrived. The only
liberation of Germany that is practical or possible is a liberation
from the standpoint of the theory that declares man to be the supreme
being of mankind. In Germany emancipation from the Middle Ages can
only be effected by means of emancipation from the results of a
partial freedom from the Middle Ages. In Germany no brand of serfdom
can be extirpated without extirpating every kind of serfdom.
Fundamental Germany cannot be revolutionized without a revolution in
its basis. The emancipation of Germans is the emancipation of mankind.
The head of this emancipation is philosophy; its heart is the
proletariat. Philosophy cannot be realized without the abolition of
the proletariat, the proletariat cannot abolish itself without
realizing philosophy.

When all the inner conditions are fulfilled, the German day of
resurrection will be announced by the crowing of the Gallic Cock.


[1] Speech in defence of hearths and homes.

[2] Shameful part.

[3] _listigen_, a play on the name of the protectionist economist F.

[4] In English in the original.

[5] In conformity with principles.


  1. BRUNO BAUER, _Die Judenfrage_ (_The Jewish Question_),
     Brunswick 1843.

  2. BRUNO BAUER, _Die Fähigkeit der heutigen Juden und Christen,
     frei zu werden_ (_The Capacity of Modern Jews and Christians to
     become free_), Zurich 1843.

1. BRUNO BAUER, _Die Judenfrage_, Brunswick 1843.

The German Jews crave for emancipation. What emancipation do they
crave? Civic, political emancipation.

Bruno Bauer answers them: Nobody in Germany is politically
emancipated. We ourselves are unfree. How shall we liberate you? You
Jews are egoists, if you demand a special emancipation for yourselves
as Jews. As Germans you ought to labour for the political emancipation
of Germany, as men for human emancipation, and you ought to feel the
special nature of your oppression and your disgrace not as an
exception from the rule, but rather as its confirmation.

Or do Jews demand to be put on an equal footing with Christian
subjects? Then they recognize the Christian State as justified, then
they recognize the régime of general subjugation. Why are they
displeased at their special yoke, when the general yoke pleases them?
Why should Germans interest themselves in the emancipation of the
Jews, if Jews do not interest themselves in the emancipation of

The Christian State knows only privileges. In that State the Jew
possesses the privilege of being a Jew. As a Jew, he has rights which
a Christian has not. Why does he crave the rights which he has not,
and which Christians enjoy?

If the Jew wants to be emancipated from the Christian State, then he
should demand that the Christian State abandon its religious
prejudice. Will the Jew abandon his religious prejudice? Has he
therefore the right to demand of another this abdication of religion?

By its very nature the Christian State cannot emancipate the Jews;
but, adds Bauer, by his very nature the Jew cannot be emancipated.

So long as the State is Christian and the Jew is Jewish, both are
equally incapable of granting and receiving emancipation.

The Christian State can only behave towards the Jew in the manner of a
Christian State, that is in a privileged manner, by granting the
separation of the Jew from the other subjects, but causing him to feel
the pressure of the other separated spheres, and all the more
onerously inasmuch as the Jew is in religious antagonism to the
dominant religion. But the Jew also can only conduct himself towards
the State in a Jewish fashion, that is as a stranger, by opposing his
chimerical nationality to the real nationality, his illusory law to
the real law, by imagining that his separation from humanity is
justified, by abstaining on principle from all participation in the
historical movement, by waiting on a future which has nothing in
common with the general future of mankind, by regarding himself as a
member of the Jewish people and the Jewish people as the chosen

Upon what grounds therefore do you Jews crave emancipation? On account
of your religion? It is the mortal enemy of the State religion. As
citizens? There are no citizens in Germany. As men? You are as little
men as He on whom you called.

After giving a criticism of the previous positions and solutions of
the question, Bauer has freshly posited the question of Jewish
emancipation. How, he asks, are they constituted, the Jew to be
emancipated, and the Christian State which is to emancipate? He
replies by a criticism of the Jewish religion, he analyses the
religious antagonism between Judaism and Christianity, he explains the
nature of the Christian State, and all this with boldness, acuteness,
spirit, and thoroughness, in a style as precise as it is forcible and

How then does Bauer solve the Jewish question? What is the result? The
formulation of a question is its solution. The criticism of the Jewish
question is the answer to the Jewish question.

The summary is therefore as follows:

We must emancipate ourselves before we are able to emancipate others.

The most rigid form of the antagonism between the Jew and the
Christian is the religious antagonism. How is this antagonism
resolved? By making it impossible. How is a religious antagonism made
impossible? By abolishing religion.

As soon as Jew and Christian recognize their respective religions as
different stages in the development of the human mind, as different
snake skins which history has cast off, and men as the snakes encased
therein, they stand no longer in a religious relationship, but in a
critical, a scientific, a human one. Science then constitutes their
unity. Antagonisms in science, however, are resolved by science

The German Jew is particularly affected by the lack of political
emancipation in general and the pronounced Christianity of the State.
In Bauer's sense, however, the Jewish question has a general
significance independent of the specific German conditions.

It is the question of the relation of religion to the State, of the
contradiction between religious entanglement and political
emancipation. Emancipation from religion is posited as a condition,
both for the Jews, who desire to be politically emancipated, and for
the State, which shall emancipate and itself be emancipated.

"Good, you say, and the Jew says so too, the Jew also is not to be
emancipated as Jew, not because he is a Jew, not because he has such
an excellent, general, human principle of morality; the Jew will
rather retire behind the citizen and be a citizen, although he is a
Jew and wants to remain one: that is, he is and remains a Jew, in
spite of the fact that he is a citizen and lives in general human
relationships: his Jewish and limited nature always and eventually
triumphs over his human and political obligations. The prejudice
remains in spite of the fact that it has been outstripped by general
principles. If, however, it remains, it rather outstrips everything
else." "Only sophistically and to outward seeming would the Jew be
able to remain a Jew in civic life; if he desired to remain a Jew, the
mere semblance would therefore be the essential thing and would
triumph, that is, his life in the State would be only a semblance or a
passing exception to the rule and the nature of things" ("The Capacity
of modern Jews and Christians to become free," p. 57).

Let us see, on the other hand, how Bauer describes the task of the
State: "France has recently (proceedings of the Chamber of Deputies,
26th December 1840) in connection with the Jewish question--as
constantly in all other political questions--given us a glimpse of a
life which is free, but revokes its freedom in law, and therefore
asserts it to be a sham, and on the other hand contradicts its free
law by its act." "The Jewish Question," p. 64.

"General freedom is not yet legal in France, the Jewish question is
not yet solved, because legal freedom--that all citizens are equal--is
limited in practice, which is still dominated by religious privileges,
and this unfreedom in practice reacts on the law, compelling the
latter to sanction the division of nominally free citizens into
oppressed and oppressor," p. 65.

When, therefore, would the Jewish problem be solved for France?

"The Jew, for instance, must cease to be a Jew if he will not allow
himself to be hindered by his law from fulfilling his duties towards
the State and his fellow-citizens, going, for example, to the Chamber
of Deputies on the Sabbath and taking part in the public sittings.
Every religious privilege, and consequently the monopoly of a
privileged Church, must be surrendered, and if few or many or even the
great majority believe they ought still to perform religious duties,
this performance must be left to themselves as a private matter," p.
65. "When there is no longer a privileged religion, there will no
longer be a religion. Take from religion its excommunicating power,
and it exists no longer," p. 66.

On the one hand, Bauer states that the Jew must abandon Judaism, and
that man must abandon religion, in order to be emancipated as a
citizen. On the other hand, he feels he is logical in interpreting the
political abolition of religion to mean the abolition of religion
altogether. The State, which presupposes religion, is as yet no true,
no real State. "At any rate the religious idea gives the State
guarantees. But what State? What kind of State?" p. 97.

At this point we are brought up against the one-sided conception of
the Jewish question.

It was by no means sufficient to inquire: Who shall emancipate? Who
shall be emancipated? Criticism had a third task to perform.

It had to ask: what kind of emancipation are we concerned with? Upon
what conditions is the desired emancipation based? The criticism of
political emancipation itself was only the eventual criticism of the
Jewish question and its true solution, in the "general question of the

Because Bauer does not raise the question to this level he falls into
contradictions. He posits conditions which are not involved in the
nature of political emancipation itself. He suggests questions which
his problem does not imply, and he solves problems which leave his
questions unsettled. Whereas Bauer says of the opponents of Jewish
emancipation: "Their mistake was that they assumed the Christian State
to be the only real State, and did not subject it to the same
criticism that they applied to Judaism," we find Bauer's mistake to
consist in the fact that it is only the Christian State, and not the
"general State," that he subjects to criticism, that he does not
investigate the relation of political emancipation to human
emancipation, and consequently lays down conditions which are only
explicable from an uncritical confusion of political emancipation with
general human emancipation.

When Bauer asks Jews: Have you the right from your standpoint to crave
political emancipation? we would inquire on the contrary: Has the
standpoint of political emancipation the right to demand of Jews the
abolition of Judaism, or from men generally the abolition of

The complexion of the Jewish question changes according to the State
in which Jews find themselves. In Germany, where no political State,
no State as State exists, the Jewish question is a purely theological
question. The Jew finds himself in religious antagonism to the State,
which acknowledges Christianity as its basis. This State is theologian
_ex professo_. Here criticism is criticism of theology, is two-edged
criticism, criticism of Christian and criticism of Jewish theology.
But however critical we may be, we cannot get out of the theological

In France, in the constitutional State, the Jewish question is the
question of constitutionalism, of the incompleteness of political
emancipation. As the semblance of a State religion is there preserved,
although in a meaningless and self-contradictory formula, in the
formula of a religion of the majority, the relationship of Jews to the
State retains the semblance of a religious and theological antagonism.

It is only in the North American Free States--at least in part of
them--that the Jewish question loses its theological significance and
becomes a really secular question. Only where the political State
exists in its completeness can the relation of the Jew, of the
religious man generally, to the political State, and therefore the
relation of religion to the State, be studied in its special features
and its purity. The criticism of this relationship ceases to be
theological criticism when the State ceases to adopt a theological
attitude towards religion, when its attitude towards religion becomes
purely political. The criticism then becomes criticism of the
political State. At this point, where the question ceases to be
theological, Bauer's criticism ceases to be critical. In the United
States there is neither a State religion nor a religion declared to be
that of the majority, nor the predominance of one cult over another.
The State is alien to all cults. (_Marie ou l'esclavage aux
Etats-Unis_, etc., by G. Beaumont, Paris 1835, p. 214.) There are even
North American States where "the constitution does not impose
religious beliefs or the practice of a cult as a condition of
political privileges" (l. c. p. 225). Yet "nobody in the United States
believes that a man without religion might be an honest man" (l. c. p.
224). Yet North America is pre-eminently the country of religiosity,
as Beaumont, Tocqueville and the Englishman Hamilton assure us with
one voice. Meanwhile, the North American States only serve us as an
example. The question is: What is the attitude of completed political
emancipation towards religion? If even in the country of completed
political emancipation we find religion not only existing, but in a
fresh and vital state, it proves that the existence of religion does
not contradict the completeness of the State. But as the existence of
religion indicates the presence of a defect, the source of this defect
may only be looked for in the nature of the State. We are no longer
concerned with religion as the basis, but only as the phenomenon of
secular shortcomings. Consequently we explain the religious handicap
of the free citizens from their secular handicap. We do not assert
that they must remove their religious handicap as soon as they cast
off their secular fetters. We do not transform secular questions into
theological questions. We transform theological questions into secular

After history has for so long been dissolved in superstition, we
dissolve the superstition in history. The question of the relation of
political emancipation becomes for us the question of the relation of
political emancipation to human emancipation. We criticize the
religious weakness of the political State by criticizing the political
State in its secular construction, apart from the religious
weaknesses. We transmute the contradiction of the State with a
specific religion, like Judaism, into the contradiction of the State
with specific secular elements, and the contradiction of the State
with religion generally into the contradiction of the State with its
general assumptions.

The political emancipation of the Jew, of the Christian, of the
religious man in general, means the emancipation of the State from
Judaism, from Christianity, from religion generally. In its form as
State, in the manner peculiar to its nature, the State emancipates
itself from religion by emancipating itself from the State religion,
that is, by the State as State acknowledging no religion.

Political emancipation from religion is not a thorough-going and
consistent emancipation from religion, because political emancipation
is not effectual and consistent human emancipation.

The limit of political emancipation is immediately seen to consist in
the fact that the State can cast off a fetter without men really
becoming free from it, that the State can become a free State without
men becoming free men. Bauer tacitly assents to this in laying down
the following condition for political emancipation. "Every religious
privilege, and therefore the monopoly of a privileged Church must be
surrendered, and if few or many or even the great majority believe
they ought still to perform religious duties, this performance must be
left to themselves as a private matter." The State may therefore
achieve emancipation from religion, although the great majority are
still religious. And the great majority do not cease to be religious
by being religious privately.

The political elevation of the individual above religion shares all
the defects and all the advantages of political elevation generally.
For example, the State as State annuls private property, the
individual declares in a political manner that private property is
abolished as soon as he abolishes the census for active and passive
eligibility, which has been done in many North American States.
Hamilton interprets this fact quite correctly from the political
standpoint: "The great multitude has won the victory over the property
owners and the monied men." Is not private property ideally abolished
when the have-nots become the legislators of the haves? The census is
the last political form to recognize private property.

Yet private property is not only not abolished with the political
annulment of private property, but is even implied therein. The State
abolishes in its fashion the distinctions of birth, status, education,
and occupation when it declares birth, status, education, and
occupation to be unpolitical distinctions, when, without taking
account of these distinctions, it calls upon every member of the
community to participate in the popular sovereignty on an equal
footing, when it deals with all the elements of the real popular life
from the State's point of view. Nevertheless the State leaves private
property, education, occupation operating in their own manner, that
is, as education, as occupation, and developing their potentialities.

From abolishing these actual distinctions, it rather exists only upon
their basis, and is conscious of being a political State and
enforcing its communal principle only in opposition to these its
elements. Consequently Hegel defines the relation of the political
State to religion quite correctly when he says: "If the State is to
have reality as the ethical, self-conscious realization of spirit, it
must be distinguished from the form of authority and faith. But this
distinction arises only in so far as the ecclesiastical side is in
itself divided into several churches. Then only is the State seen to
be superior to them, and wins and brings into existence the
universality of thought as the principle of its form." ("Philosophy of
Right," Eng. tr. p. 270.)

By its nature the completed political State is the generic life of man
in contradistinction to his material life. All the assumptions of this
egoistic life remain in existence outside the sphere of the State, in
bourgeois society, but as the peculiarities of bourgeois society.

Where the political State has attained its true development, the
individual leads not only in thought, in consciousness, but in
reality, a double life, a heavenly and an earthly life, a life in the
political community, wherein he counts as a member of the community,
and a life in bourgeois society, wherein he is active as a private
person, regarding other men as a means, degrading himself into a means
and becoming a plaything of alien powers.

The political State is related to bourgeois society as
spiritualistically as heaven is to earth. It occupies the same
position of antagonism towards bourgeois society; it subdues the
latter just as religion overcomes the limitations of the profane
world, that is, by recognizing bourgeois society and allowing the
latter to dominate it. Man in his outermost reality, in bourgeois
society, is a profane being. Here, where he is a real individual for
himself and others, he is an untrue phenomenon.

In the State, on the other hand, where the individual is a generic
being, he is the imaginary member of an imagined sovereignty, he is
robbed of his real individual life and filled with an unreal

The conflict in which the individual as the professor of a particular
religion is involved with his citizenship, with other individuals as
members of the community, reduces itself to the secular cleavage
between the political State and bourgeois society.

For the individual as a bourgeois, "life in the State is only a
semblance, or a passing exception to the rule and the nature of
things." In any case, the bourgeois, like the Jew, remains only
sophistically in political life, just as the citizen remains a Jew or
a bourgeois only sophistically; but this sophistry is not personal. It
is the sophistry of the political State itself. The difference between
the religious individual and the citizen is the difference between the
merchant and the citizen, between the labourer and the citizen,
between the landowner and the citizen, between the living individual
and the citizen. The contradiction in which the religious individual
is involved with the political individual is the same contradiction in
which the bourgeois is involved with the citizen, in which the member
of bourgeois society is involved with his political lionskin.

This secular conflict to which the Jewish question is finally reduced,
the relation of the political State to its fundamental conditions,
whether the latter be material elements, like private property, etc.,
or spiritual elements, like education or religion, the conflict
between the general interest and the private interest, the cleavage
between the political State and bourgeois society--these secular
antagonisms are left unnoticed by Bauer, while he controverts their
religious expression. "It is precisely its foundation, the need which
assures to bourgeois society its existence and guarantees its
necessity, which exposes its existence to constant dangers, maintains
in it an uncertain element and converts the latter into a constantly
changing mixture of poverty and wealth, distress and prosperity," p.

Bourgeois society in its antagonism to the political State is
recognized as necessary, because the political State is recognized as

Political emancipation at least represents important progress; while
not the last form of human emancipation generally, it is the last form
of human emancipation within the existing world order. It is
understood that we are speaking here of real, of practical

The individual emancipates himself politically from religion by
banishing it from public right into private right. It is no longer the
spirit of the State, where the individual--although in a limited
manner, under a particular form and in a special sphere--behaves as a
generic being, in conjunction with other individuals; it has become
the spirit of bourgeois society, of the sphere of egoism, of the
_bellum omnium contra omnes_.[6] It is no longer the essence of the
community, but the essence of social distinctions.

It has become the expression of the separation of the individual from
his community, from himself and from other individuals--what it was
originally. It is only the abstract profession of special perversity,
of private whim. The infinite splitting-up of religion in North
America, for example, gives it outwardly the form of a purely
individual concern. It has been added to the heap of private
interests, and exiled from the community as community. But there is no
misunderstanding about the limits of political emancipation. The
division of the individual into a public and a private individual, the
expulsion of religion from the State into bourgeois society, is not a
step, it is the completion of political emancipation, which thus
neither abolishes nor seeks to abolish the real religiosity of the

The splitting-up of the individual into Jew and citizen, into
Protestant and citizen, into a religious person and citizen, this
decomposition does not belie citizenship; it is not a circumvention of
political emancipation; it is political emancipation itself, it is the
political manner of becoming emancipated from religion. Moreover, in
times when the political State as a political State is forcibly born
of bourgeois society, when human self-liberation strives to realize
itself under the form of political self-liberation, the State is
driven the whole length of abolishing, of destroying religion, but it
also proceeds to the abolition of private property, to the law of
maximum, to confiscation, to progressive taxation, just as it proceeds
to the abolition of life, to the guillotine. In the moment of its
heightened consciousness, the political life seeks to suppress its
fundamental conditions, bourgeois society and its elements, and to
constitute itself as the real and uncontradictory generic life of the
individual. It is, however, only enabled to do this by a flagrant
violation of its own conditions of life, by declaring the revolution
to be permanent, and the political drama therefore ends as inevitably
with the restoration of religion, of private property, and all the
elements of bourgeois society, as war ends with peace.

Why not even the so-called Christian State, which acknowledges
Christianity as its basis, as the State religion, and therefore adopts
a proscriptive attitude towards other religions is the completed
Christian State. The latter is rather the atheistic State, the
democratic State, the State which consigns religion among the other
elements of bourgeois society. The State which is still theological
and which still officially prescribes belief in Christianity, has not
yet succeeded in giving secular and human expression to those human
foundations whose exaggerated expression is Christianity. The
so-called Christian State is simply no State at all, because it is not
Christianity as a religion, but only the human background of the
Christian religion which can realize itself in actual human creations.

The so-called Christian State is the Christian denial of the State,
although it is not by any means the political realization of
Christianity. The State, which still professes Christianity in the
form of religion, does not yet profess it in the form of the State,
for its attitude towards religion is a religious attitude. It is not
yet the actual realization of the human basis of religion, because it
still operates upon the unreality, upon the imaginary shape of this
human kernel. The so-called Christian State is the incomplete State,
and the Christian religion is regarded by it as the complement and the
redemption of its imperfection. Consequently religion becomes its
instrument, and it is the State of hypocrisy. The so-called Christian
State needs the Christian religion in order to complete itself as a
State. The democratic State, the real State, does not need religion
for its political completion. It can rather do without religion,
because it represents the realization of the human basis of religion
in a secular manner. The so-called Christian State, on the other hand,
adopts a political attitude towards religion and a religious attitude
towards politics. If it degrades the State form to the level of a
fiction, it equally degrades religion to a fiction.

In order to elucidate these antagonisms, let us consider Bauer's
construction of the Christian State, a construction which has
proceeded from contemplating the Christian-Germanic State.

Says Bauer: "In order to demonstrate the impossibility or the
non-existence of a Christian State, we are frequently referred to
that pronouncement in the Gospel which it not only does not follow,
but cannot follow without dissolving itself completely as a State."
"But the question is not settled so easily. What then does this Gospel
text enjoin? Supernatural self-denial, subjection to the authority of
revelation, the turning away from the State, the abolition of secular
conditions. Now all this is enjoined and carried out by the Christian
State. It has absorbed the spirit of the Gospel, and if it does not
repeat it in the same words as the Gospel expresses it, the reason is
only because it expresses this spirit in the State form, that is, in
forms which are indeed derived from the State of this world, but which
are degraded to a sham in the religious rebirth which they have to

Bauer goes on to show how the people of the Christian State are only a
sham people, who no longer have any will of their own, but possess
their real existence in the chief to whom they are subject, but from
whom they were originally and naturally alien, as he was given to them
by God; how the laws of this people are not their creation, but
positive revelations; how their chief requires privileged mediators
with his own people, with the masses; how these masses themselves are
split up into a multitude of special circles, which are formed and
determined by chance, which are distinguished by their interests,
their particular passions and prejudices, and receive as a privilege
permission to make mutual compacts (p. 56).

The separation of the "spirit of the Gospel" from the "letter of the
Gospel" is an irreligious act. The State, which makes the Gospel speak
in the letter of politics, in other letters than those of the Holy
Spirit, commits a sacrilege if not in human eyes, at least in its own
religious eyes. The State, which acknowledges Christianity as its
supreme embodiment and the Bible as its charter, must be confronted
with the words of Holy Writ, for the writings are sacred to the
letter. The State lapses into a painful, and from the standpoint of
the religious consciousness, irresolvable contradiction, when it is
pinned down to that pronouncement of the Gospel, which it "not only
does not follow, but cannot follow without completely dissolving
itself as a State." And why does it not want to completely dissolve
itself? To this question it can find no answer, either for itself or
for others. In its own consciousness the official Christian State is
an Ought, which is impossible of realization. Only by lies can it
persuade itself of the reality of its existence, and consequently it
always remains for itself an object of doubt, an unreliable and
ambiguous object. The critic is therefore quite justified in forcing
the State, which appeals to the Bible, into a condition of mental
derangement where it no longer knows whether it is a phantasm or a
reality, where the infamy of its secular objects, for which religion
serves as a mantle, falls into irresolvable conflict with the
integrity of its religious consciousness, to which religion appears as
the object of the world. This State can only redeem itself from its
inner torment by becoming the hangman of the Catholic Church. As
against the latter, which declares the secular power to be its serving
body, the State is impotent. Impotent is the secular power which
claimed to be the rule of the religious spirit.

In the so-called Christian State it is true that alienation counts,
but not the individual. The only individual who counts, the king, is a
being specially distinguished from other individuals, who is also
religious and directly connected with heaven, with God. The relations
which here prevail are still relations of faith. The religious spirit
is therefore not yet really secularized.

Moreover, the religious spirit cannot be really secularized, for what
in fact is it but the unworldly form of a stage in the development of
the human mind? The religious spirit can only be realized in so far as
the stage of development of the human mind, whose religious expression
it is, emerges and constitutes itself in its secular form. This is
what happens in the democratic State. It is not Christianity, but the
human basis of Christianity which is the basis of this State. Religion
remains the ideal, unworldly consciousness of its members, because it
is the ideal form of the human stage of development which it

The members of the political State are religious by virtue of the
dualism between the individual life and the generic life, between the
life of bourgeois society and the political life; they are religious
inasmuch as the individual regards as his true life the political life
beyond his real individuality, in so far as religion is here the
spirit of bourgeois society, the expression of the separation and the
alienation of man from man. The political democracy is Christian to
the extent that it regards every individual as the sovereign, the
supreme being, but it means the individual in his uncultivated,
unsocial aspect, the individual in his fortuitous existence, the
individual just as he is, the individual as he is destroyed, lost, and
alienated through the whole organization of our society, as he is
given under the dominance of inhuman conditions and elements, in a
word, the individual who is not yet a real generic being.

The sovereignty of the individual, as an alien being distinguished
from the real individual, which is the chimera, the dream, and the
postulate of Christianity, is under democracy sensual reality, the
present, and the secular maximum.

The religious and theological consciousness itself is heightened and
accentuated under a completed democracy, because it is apparently
without political significance, without earthly aims, an affair of
misanthropic feeling, the expression of narrow-mindedness, the product
of caprice, because it is a really other-worldly life. Here
Christianity achieves the practical expression of its universal
religious significance, in that the most various philosophies are
marshalled in the form of Christianity, and, what is more, other
members of society are not required to subscribe to Christianity, but
to some kind of religion. The religious consciousness riots in the
wealth of religious antagonism and of religious variety.

We have therefore shown: Political emancipation from religion leaves
religion in existence, although not as a privileged religion. The
contradiction in which the supporter of a particular religion finds
himself involved with his citizenship, is only a part of the general
secular contradiction between the political State and bourgeois
society. The completion of the Christian State is the State which
professes to be a State and abstracts from the religion of its
members. The emancipation of the State from religion is not the
emancipation of the real individual from religion.

We do not therefore tell the Jews with Bauer: You cannot be
politically emancipated without radically emancipating yourselves from
Judaism. We tell them rather: Because you could be emancipated
politically without entirely breaking away from Judaism, political
emancipation is not human emancipation. If you Jews desire to be
politically emancipated without emancipating yourselves humanly, the
incompleteness, the contradiction, lies not only in you, but it also
resides in the essence and the category of political emancipation. If
you remain enmeshed in this category, you share in a general

But if the individual, although a Jew, can be politically emancipated
and receive civic rights, can he claim and receive the so-called
rights of man? Bauer denies it: "The question is whether the Jew as
such, that is the Jew who admits that by his very nature he is
compelled to live in everlasting separation from others, is capable of
receiving and conceding to others the general rights of man."

"The idea of the rights of man was first discovered in the last
century so far as the Christian world is concerned. It is not innate
in the individual, it is rather conquered in the struggle with the
historical traditions in which the individual has hitherto been
brought up. Thus the rights of man are not a gift from Nature, not a
legacy from past history, but the price of the struggle against the
accident of birth and against the privileges which history has
bequeathed from generation to generation up to now. They are the
result of education, and can only be possessed by those who have
acquired and earned them."

"Can they really be claimed by the Jew? So long as he is a Jew, the
limiting quality which makes him a Jew must triumph over the human
quality which binds him as a man to other men, and must separate him
from gentiles. By this separation he proclaims that the special
quality which makes him a Jew is his real supreme quality, to which
the human quality must give place."

"In the same manner the Christian as Christian cannot grant the rights
of man," pp. 19, 20.

According to Bauer, the individual must sacrifice the "privilege of
faith" in order to be able to receive the general rights of man. Let
us consider for a moment the so-called rights of man, in fact the
rights of man in their authentic shape, in the shape which they
possess among their discoverers, the North Americans and the French.
In part these rights of man are political rights, rights which are
only exercised in the community with others. Participation in the
affairs of the community, in fact of the political community, forms
their substance. They come within the category of political freedom,
of civil rights, which does not, as we have seen, by any means
presuppose the unequivocal and positive abolition of religion, and
therefore of Judaism. It remains to consider the other aspect of human
rights, the _droits de l'homme_ apart from the _droits du citoyen_.

Among them is to be found liberty of conscience, the right to practise
any cult to one's liking. The privilege of belief is expressly
recognized, either as a human right or as the consequence of a human
right, of freedom.

_Declaration of the rights of man and of citizenship, 1791, article
10_:[7] _No penalty should attach to the holding of religious
opinions. The right of every man to practise the religious cult to
which he is attached is guaranteed by clause 1 of the Constitution of

_The Declaration of the Rights of Man, etc., 1793, includes among
human rights, article 7_: _The free practice of cults. With respect to
the right to publish ideas and opinions and to assemble for the
practice of a cult, it is even stated: The necessity for enunciating
these rights presupposes either the presence or the recent memory of a

_Constitution of Pennsylvania, article 9, paragraph 3_: _All men have
received from Nature the imprescriptible right to worship the Almighty
according to the dictates of their conscience, and nobody may legally
be constrained to follow, to institute, or to support, against his
will, any religious cult or ministry. In no case may any human
authority interfere in questions of conscience and control the
prerogatives of the soul._

_Constitution of New Hampshire, articles 5 and 6_: _Among the number
of natural rights, some are inalienable by their nature, because
nothing can take their place. Such are the rights of conscience._

The incompatibility of religion with the rights of man is thus not
implied by the conception of the rights of man, because the right to
be religious, to be religious according to one's liking, to practise
the cult of a particular religion, is expressly included among the
rights of man. The privilege of faith is a general right of man.

The rights of man as such are distinguished from the rights of the
citizen. What is man apart from the citizen? Nothing else than a
member of bourgeois society. Why is the member of bourgeois society
called "man," and why are his rights called the rights of man? How do
we explain this fact? From the relation of the political State to
bourgeois society, from the meaning of political emancipation.

Above all we must record the fact that the so-called rights of man, as
distinguished from the rights of the citizen, are nothing else than
the rights of the member of bourgeois society, that is of the egoistic
individual, of man separated from man and the community. The most
radical constitution, the Constitution of 1793, may be cited:

_Declaration of the rights of man and of the citizen. Article 2. These
rights, etc. (natural and imprescriptible rights) are: equality,
liberty, security, property._

Of what consists liberty? _Article 6. Liberty is the power which
belongs to man to do everything which does not injure the rights of

Freedom is therefore the right to do and perform that which injures
none. The limits within which each may move without injuring others
are fixed by the law, as the boundary between two fields is fixed by
the fence. The freedom in question is the freedom of the individual as
an isolated atom thrown back upon itself. Why, according to Bauer, is
the Jew incapable of receiving the rights of man? "So long as he is a
Jew, the limiting quality which makes him a Jew must triumph over the
human quality which binds him as a man to other men, and must separate
him from gentiles." But the right of man to freedom is not based upon
the connection of man with man, but rather on the separation of man
from man. It is the right to this separation, the right of the
individual limited to himself.

The practical application of the right of man to freedom is the right
of man to private property.

In what consists the right of man to private property?

_Article 16 (Const. of 1793): The right to property is the right of
every citizen to enjoy and dispose of as he likes his goods, his
income, the fruit of his toil and of his industry._

The right of man to private property is therefore the right to enjoy
and dispose of his property, at his will and pleasure, without regard
for others, and independently of society: the right of self-interest.
Each particular individual freedom exercised in this way forms the
basis of bourgeois society. It leaves every man to find in other men
not the realization, but rather the limits of his freedom. But it
proclaims above all the right of man to enjoy and dispose of his
property, his income, and the fruit of his toil and his industry
according to his pleasure.

There still remain the other rights of man, equality and security.

Equality here in its non-political significance is nothing but the
equality of the above described liberty, viz.: every individual is
regarded as a uniform atom resting on its own bottom. Article 5 of the
_Constitution of 1793_ states: _Equality consists in the fact that the
law is the same for all, whether it protects or whether it punishes._

And security? _Article 8 of the Constitution of 1793_: _Security
consists in the protection accorded by society to each of its members
for the preservation of his person, his rights, and his property._

Security is the supreme social conception of bourgeois society, the
conception of the police, the idea that society as a whole only exists
to guarantee to each of its members the maintenance of his person,
his rights, and his property.

By the conception of security bourgeois society does not raise itself
above its egoism. Security is rather the confirmation of its egoism.

None of the so-called rights of man, therefore, goes beyond the
egoistic individual, beyond the individual as a member of bourgeois
society, withdrawn into his private interests and separated from the
community. Far from regarding the individual as a generic being, the
generic life, Society itself, rather appears as an external frame for
the individual, as a limitation of his original independence. The sole
bond which connects him with his fellows is natural necessity,
material needs and private interest, the preservation of his property
and his egoistic person.

It is strange that a people who were just beginning to free
themselves, to break down all the barriers between the various members
of the community, to establish a political community, that such a
people should solemnly proclaim the justification of the egoistic
individual, separated from his fellows and from the community, and
should even repeat this declaration at a moment when the most heroic
sacrifice could alone save the nation and was therefore urgently
required, at a moment when the sacrifice of all interests of bourgeois
society was imperative, and egoism should have been punished as a
crime. This fact is even stranger when we behold the political
liberators degrading citizenship and the political community to the
level of a mere means for the maintenance of these so-called rights of
man, proclaiming the citizen to be the servant of the egoistic man,
degrading the sphere in which the individual behaves as a social being
below the sphere in which he behaves as a fractional being, and
finally accepting as the true proper man not the individual as
citizen, but the individual as bourgeois.

_The aim of every political association is the preservation of the
natural and imprescriptible rights of man._ (_Declaration of the
rights, etc., of 1791, article 2._) _The purpose of government is to
assure to man the enjoyment of his natural and imprescriptible
rights._ (_Declaration of 1793, art. 1._)

Thus even at the time when its enthusiasm was still fresh and kept at
boiling point by the pressure of circumstances, the political life
proclaimed itself to be a mere means whose end is the life of
bourgeois society.

It is true that its revolutionary practice was in flagrant
contradiction to its theory. While security, for example, was
proclaimed to be a right of man, the violation of the secrecy of
correspondence was publicly proposed.

While the indefinite liberty of the press (1793 Constitution, art.
122) was guaranteed as a consequence of the right of man to individual
liberty, the freedom of the press was completely destroyed, for
liberty of the press could not be permitted when it compromised public
liberty. (Robespierre jeune, "Parliamentary History of the French
Revolution." Buchez et Roux, p. 135.) This means that the right of man
to liberty ceases to be a right as soon as it comes into conflict with
the political life, whereas, according to theory, the political life
is only the guarantee of the rights of man, and should therefore be
surrendered as soon as its object contradicts these rights of man. But
the practice is only the exception and the theory is the rule. If,
however, we regard the revolutionary practice as the correct position
of the relation, the riddle still remains to be solved, why the
relationship was inverted in the consciousness of the political
liberators, the end appearing as the means, and the means as the end.
This optical illusion of their consciousness would still be the same
riddle, although a psychological, a theoretical riddle.

The riddle admits of easy solution.

The political emancipation is at the same time the dissolution of the
old society, upon which was based the civic society, or the rulership
alienated from the people. The political revolution is the revolution
of bourgeois society. What was the character of the old society? It
can be described in one word. Feudality. The old civic society had a
directly political character, that is, the elements of civic life, as
for example property or the family, or the mode and kind of labour,
were raised to the level of elements of the community in the form of
landlordism, status, and corporation. In this form they determined the
relation of the individual to the community, that is his political
relation, his relationship of separation and exclusion from the other
constituent parts of society. For the latter organization of popular
life did not raise property or labour to the level of social elements,
but rather completed their separation from the political whole and
constituted them as special societies within society. Thus the vital
functions and vital conditions of society continued to be political,
although political in the sense of feudality, which means that they
excluded the individual from the political whole, and transformed the
special relation of his corporation to the political whole into his
own general relation to the popular life. As a consequence of this
organization, the political unity necessarily appears as the
consciousness, the will and the activity of the political unity, and
likewise the general State power as the special concern of a ruler and
his servants sundered from the people.

The political revolution, which overthrew this domination and raised
political affairs to the rank of popular affairs, which constituted
the political State as a general concern, that is as a real State,
necessarily shattered all Estates, corporations, guilds, privileges,
which were just so many expressions of the separation of the people
from their community. The political revolution thereby abolished the
political character of civic society.

It dissolved civic society into its elemental parts, on the one hand,
into the individuals, on the other hand, into the material and
spiritual elements, which formed the vital content, the civic
situation of these individuals. It released the political spirit,
which was imprisoned in fragments in the various blind alleys of the
feudal society; it collected all these dispersed parts of it,
liberated it from its entanglement with the civic life, and
constituted it as the sphere of the community, of the general popular
concerns in ideal independence from its particular elements of civic
life. The specific life activity and the specific life situation
settled into a merely general significance. They no longer formed the
general relation of the individual to the political whole. The public
business as such became rather the general business of every
individual and the political function became his general function.

But the completion of the idealism of the State was at the same time
the completion of the materialism of civic society.

The throwing off of the political yoke was at the same time the
throwing off of the bond which had curbed the egoistic spirit of civic
society. The political emancipation was at the same time the
emancipation of civic society from politics, from even the semblance
of a general content.

Feudal society was resolved into its basic elements, its individual
members. But into the individuals who really formed its basis, that
is, the egoistic individual.

This individual, the member of civic society, is now the basis, the
assumption of the political State. He is recognized as such in the
rights of man.

The liberty of the egoistic individual and the recognition of this
liberty are, however, tantamount to the recognition of the unbridled
movement of the intellectual and material elements which inform him.

The individual was therefore not liberated from religion; he received
religious freedom. He was not freed from property; he received freedom
of property. He was not freed from the egoism of industry; he received
industrial freedom.

The constitution of the political State and the dissolution of civic
society into independent individuals--whose relation is right, as the
relation of the members of Estates and of guilds was privilege--is
accomplished in one and the same act. But the individual as a member
of civic society, the unpolitical individual, necessarily appears as
the natural individual. The rights of man appear as natural rights,
for the self-conscious activity concentrates itself upon the political
act. The egoistic individual is the sediment of the dissolved society,
the object of immediate certitude, and therefore a natural object. The
political revolution dissolves the civic society into its constituent
parts without revolutionizing and subjecting to criticism those parts
themselves. It regards bourgeois society, the world of needs, of
labour, of private interests, as the foundation of its existence, as
an assumption needing no proof, and therefore as its natural basis.
Lastly, the individual as a member of bourgeois society counts as the
proper individual, as the man in contradistinction to the citizen,
because he is man in his sensual, individual, closest existence,
whereas political man is only the abstract, artificial individual, the
individual as an allegorical, moral person. The real man is only
recognized in the shape of the egoistic individual, the true man is
only recognized in the shape of the abstract citizen.

The abstraction of the political man was very well described by
Rousseau: _He who dares undertake to give instructions to a nation
ought to feel himself capable as it were of changing human nature; of
transforming every individual who in himself is a complete and
independent whole into part of a greater whole, from which he receives
in some manner his life and his being; of altering man's constitution,
in order to strengthen it; of substituting a social and moral
existence for the independent and physical existence which we have all
received from nature. In a word, it is necessary to deprive man of his
native powers, in order to endow him with some which are alien to him,
and of which he cannot make use without the aid of other people._

All emancipation leads back to the human world, to relationships, to
men themselves.

Political emancipation is the reduction of man, on the one side, to
the member of bourgeois society, to the egoistic, independent
individual, on the other side, to the citizen, to the moral person.

Not until the real, individual man is identical with the citizen, and
has become a generic being in his empirical life, in his individual
work, in his individual relationships, not until man has recognized
and organized his own capacities as social capacities, and
consequently the social force is no longer divided by the political
power, not until then will human emancipation be achieved.

2. _The Capacity of Modern Jews and Christians to become Free_, by

Under this form Bauer deals with the relation of the Jewish and
Christian religion, as well as with the relation of the same to
criticism. Its relation to criticism is its relation "to the capacity
to be free."

It follows: "The Christian has only one stage to surmount, viz.: his
religion, in order to abolish religion generally," and therefore to
become free. "The Jew, on the contrary, has to break not only with his
Jewish essence, but also with the development of the completion of his
religion, with a development that has remained alien to him" (p. 71).

Bauer therefore transforms here the question of Jewish emancipation
into a purely religious question. The theological scruple as to who
stood the most chance of being saved, Jew or Christian, is here
repeated in the enlightened form: which of the two is most capable of
emancipation? It is no longer a question of whether Judaism or
Christianity makes free? but rather on the contrary: which makes more
for freedom, the negation of Judaism or the negation of Christianity?

"If they wish to be free, Jews should be converted, not to
Christianity, but to Christianity in dissolution, to religion
generally in dissolution, that is to enlightenment, criticism and its
results, to free humanity," p. 70.

It appears that Jews have still to be converted, but to Christianity
in dissolution, instead of to Christianity.

Bauer requires Jews to break with the essence of the Christian
religion, a requirement which, as he says himself, does not arise from
the development of Jewish essentials.

As Bauer had interpreted Judaism merely as a crude-religious criticism
of Christianity, and had therefore read "only" a religious meaning
into it, it was to be foreseen that the emancipation of the Jews would
be transformed into a philosophic-theological act.

Bauer conceives the ideal abstract being of the Jew, his religion as
his whole being. Consequently he correctly infers: "The Jew gives
mankind nothing, when he despises his narrow law, when he abolishes
his whole Judaism," p. 65.

The relation of Jews and Christians is therefore as follows: the sole
interest of Christians in the emancipation of the Jews is a general
human, a theoretical interest. Judaism is a detrimental fact in the
religious eyes of Christians. As soon as their eyes cease to be
religious, this fact ceases to be detrimental. The emancipation of
Jews in itself is no work for Christians.

But in order to emancipate himself, the Jew has to undertake not only
his own work, but at the same time the work of the Christian, the
criticism of the synoptics, etc.

We will try to get rid of the theological conception of the question.
The question of the capacity of the Jews for emancipation is from our
standpoint transformed into the question, what particular social
element has to be overcome in order to abolish Judaism? For the
capacity for emancipation of the modern Jew is the relation of Judaism
to the emancipation of the modern world. This relation is necessarily
disclosed by the special position of Judaism in the modern subjugated

Let us consider the real worldly Jews, not the Sabbath Jews, as Bauer
does, but the every-day Jews.

We will not look for the secret of the Jew in his religion, but we
will look for the secret of religion in the real Jew.

What is the secular basis of Judaism? Practical needs, egoism.

What is the secular cult of the Jew? Huckstering. What is his secular
God? Money.

Very well. Emancipation from huckstering and from money, and therefore
from practical, real Judaism would be the self-emancipation of our

An organization of society, which would abolish the fundamental
conditions of huckstering, and therefore the possibility of
huckstering, would render the Jew impossible. His religious
consciousness would dissolve like a mist in the real vital air of
society. On the other hand: if the Jew recognizes as valueless this
his practical essence, and labours for its abolition, he would work
himself free of his previous development, and labour for human
emancipation generally, turning against the supreme practical
expression of human self-alienation.

We therefore perceive in Judaism a general pervading anti-social
element, which has been carried to its highest point by the historical
development, in which Jews in this bad relation have zealously
co-operated, a point at which it must necessarily dissolve itself.

The emancipation of the Jews in its last significance is the
emancipation of mankind from Judaism.

The Jew has already emancipated himself in Jewish fashion. "The Jew
who in Vienna, for example, is only tolerated, determines by his
financial power the fate of the whole Empire. The Jew who may be
deprived of rights in the smallest German State, determines the fate
of Europe."

"While the corporations and guilds excluded the Jew, the enterprise of
industry laughs at the obstinacy of the medieval institution." (Bauer,
"The Jewish Question," p. 14.)

This is no isolated fact. The Jew has emancipated himself in Jewish
fashion, not only by taking to himself financial power, but by virtue
of the fact that with and without his co-operation, money has become
a world power, and the practical Jewish spirit has become the
practical spirit of Christian nations. The Jews have emancipated
themselves in so far as Christians have become Jews.

"The pious and politically free inhabitant of New England," relates
Colonel Hamilton, "is a kind of Laokoon, who does not make even the
slightest effort to free himself from the serpents which are
throttling him. Mammon is his god, he prays to him, not merely with
his lips, but with all the force of his body and mind.

"In his eyes, the world is nothing more than a Stock Exchange, and he
is convinced that here below he has no other destiny than to become
richer than his neighbours. When he travels, he carries his shop or
his counter on his back, so to speak, and talks of nothing but
interest and profit."

The practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has
reached such a point in North America that the preaching of the Gospel
itself, the Christian ministry, has become an article of commerce, and
the bankrupt merchant takes to the Gospel, while the minister grown
rich goes into business.

"He whom you see at the head of a respectable congregation began as a
merchant; his business failing, he became a minister. The other
started his career in the ministry, but as soon as he had saved a sum
of money, he abandoned the pulpit for the counter. In the eyes of a
large number, the ministry is a commercial career." Beaumont.

According to Bauer, to withhold political rights from the Jew in
theory, while in practice he wields enormous power, exercising
wholesale the influence he is forbidden to distribute in retail, is an

The contradiction between the practical, political power of the Jew
and his political rights is the contradiction between politics and
financial power generally. While the former is raised ideally above
the latter, it has in reality become its bond slave.

Judaism has persisted alongside of Christianity not only as religious
criticism of Christianity, not only as the embodiment of doubt in the
religious parentage of Christianity, but equally because Judaism has
maintained itself, and even received its supreme development, in
Christian society. The Jew who exists as a peculiar member of
bourgeois society, is only the particular expression of the Judaism
of bourgeois society.

Judaism has survived not in spite of, but by virtue of history.

Out of its own entrails, bourgeois society continually creates Jews.

What was the foundation of the Jewish religion? Practical needs,
egoism. Consequently the monotheism of the Jew is in reality the
polytheism of many needs. Practical needs or egoism are the principle
of bourgeois society, and they appear openly as such so soon as
bourgeois society gives birth to the political state. The God of
practical needs and egoism is money.

Money is the jealous God of Israel, by the side of which no other god
may exist. Money degrades all the gods of man and converts them into
commodities. Money is the general and self-constituted value of all
things. Consequently it has robbed the whole world--the world of
mankind as well as Nature--of its peculiar value. Money is the being
of man's work and existence alienated from himself, and this alien
being rules him, and he prays to it.

The God of the Jews has secularized himself and become the universal
God. Exchange is the Jew's real God.

The conception of Nature which prevails under the rule of private
property and of money is the practical degradation of Nature, which
indeed exists in the Jewish religion, but only in imagination.

In this sense Thomas Münzer declared it to be intolerable "that all
creatures have been turned into property, the fishes in the water, the
birds in the air, the growths of the soil."

What remains as the abstract part of the Jewish religion, contempt for
theory, for art, for history, for man as an end in himself, is the
real conscious standpoint and virtue of the monied man. The generic
relation itself--the relation of man to woman, etc., becomes an object
of commerce. Woman is bartered.

The chimerical nationality of the Jew is the nationality of the
merchant, of the monied man generally.

The baseless law of the Jew is only the religious caricature of the
baseless morality and of right generally, of the merely formal
ceremonies which pervade the world of egoism.

Here also the highest relation of man is the legal relation--the
relation to laws which do not govern him because they are the laws of
his own will and being, but because they are imposed on him from
without. Any infraction thereof is punished.

Jewish Jesuitism, the same practical Jesuitism that Bauer infers from
the Talmud, is the relation of the world of egoism to the laws which
dominate it, and the cunning circumvention of which is the supreme art
of this world.

The movement of this world within its laws is necessarily a continual
abrogation of the law.

Judaism cannot develop any further as a religion, that is
theoretically, because the philosophy of practical needs is limited by
its nature and is exhausted in a few moves.

Judaism could create no new world; it could only draw the new world
creations and world relations within the orbit of its activity,
because the practical need whose rationale is egoism remains a passive
state, which does not extend itself by spontaneous act, but only
expands with the development of social conditions.

Judaism reaches its acme with the completion of bourgeois society, but
bourgeois society first completes itself in the Christian world. Only
under the reign of Christianity, which turns all national, natural,
moral and theoretical relations into relations external to man, can
bourgeois society separate itself entirely from the political life,
dissever all the generic ties of the individual, set egoism in the
place of these generic ties, and dissolve the human world into a world
of atomized, mutually hostile individuals.

Christianity sprang out of Judaism. It has again withdrawn into

The Christian from the outset was the theorizing Jew; the Jew is
therefore the practical Christian, and the practical Christian has
again become a Jew.

Christianity had only appeared to overcome Judaism. It was too noble,
too spiritual to abolish the crudeness of practical needs except by
elevation into the blue sky.

Christianity is the sublime idea of Judaism. Judaism is the common
application of Christianity, but this application could only become
general after Christianity had completed the alienation of man from
himself, and theoretically from Nature. Not until then could Judaism
attain to general domination and turn the alienated individual and
alienated Nature into alienable and saleable objects.

Just as the individual while he remained in the toils of religion
could only objectivize his being by turning it into a fantastic and
alien being, so under the domination of egoistic needs he can only
manifest himself in a practical way and only create practical objects
by placing both his products and his activity under the domination of
an alien being, and investing them with the significance of an alien
being--of money.

The Christian selfishness of bliss is necessarily transmuted in its
completed practice into the material selfishness of the Jew, heavenly
needs become earthly needs, and subjectivity becomes egoism. We do not
explain the Jew's tenacity from his religion, but rather from the
human basis of his religion, that is, practical needs, egoism.

Because the real essence of the Jew has been generally realized and
secularized in bourgeois society, the latter could not convince the
Jew of the unreality of his religious essence, which is merely the
ideal reflexion of his practical needs.

Consequently, it is not only in the Pentateuch or the Talmud, but also
in present-day society that we find the essence of the modern Jew; not
as an abstract, but as an extremely empirical being, not merely in the
form of the Jew's limitations, but in that of the Jewish limitations
of society.

As soon as society succeeds in abolishing the empirical essence of
Judaism, the huckster, and the conditions which produce him, the Jew
will become impossible, because his consciousness will no longer have
a corresponding object, because the subjective basis of Judaism, viz.:
practical needs, will have been humanized, because the conflict of the
individual sensual existence with the generic existence of the
individual will have been abolished.

The social emancipation of the Jew is the emancipation of society from


[6] The war of all against all.

[7] The italicized passages following are given in French in the


No. 60 of "Vorwärts" contained an article entitled "The King of
Prussia and Social Reform," signed "A Prussian."[8]

In the first place, the so-called Prussian refers to the contents of
the Royal Prussian Cabinet Order touching the Silesian weavers' revolt
and the opinion of the French journal _La Reforme_ upon the Prussian
Cabinet Order. _La Reforme_ considers that "the fears and the
religious feeling of the King" are the source of the Cabinet Order. It
even finds in this document a foreshadowing of the great reforms which
are in prospect for bourgeois society. "Prussian" instructs _La
Reforme_ as follows:

"The King and German society have not reached the stage of
foreshadowing their reform, and even the Silesian and Bohemian revolts
have not created this state of mind. It is impossible to regard the
partial distress of the factory districts as a general question for
an unpolitical country like Germany, let alone as a blot upon the
whole civilized world. For the Germans the incident has the same
significance as any local drought or famine. Consequently the King
regards it in the light of a defect of administration or a lack of
charity. For the same reason, and because a few soldiers settled
accounts with the weak weavers, the destruction of factories and
machines caused no fears to the King and the authorities. Even
religious feeling did not dictate the Cabinet Order, which is a very
sober expression of Christian statecraft, and a doctrine which puts no
obstacle in the way of the acceptance of its medicine: the good
feeling of Christian hearts. Poverty and crime are two great evils;
who can remedy them? The State and the authorities? No, but the union
of all Christian hearts."

The so-called Prussian denies the existence of the King's "fears" on
the ground, amongst others, that a few soldiers settled accounts with
the weak weavers.

In a country then where festivals accompanied by liberal toasts and
liberal champagne froth--the Dusseldorf festival will be recalled in
this connection--provoke a Royal Cabinet Order, not a single soldier
being required, for the purpose of crushing the longing of the whole
liberal bourgeoisie for the freedom of the Press and a constitution;
in a country where passive obedience is the order of the day; in such
a country would the compulsory use of armed force against weak weavers
be no event and no startling event? And the weak weavers triumphed at
the first encounter. They were suppressed by a subsequently reinforced
body of troops. Is the revolt of a crowd of workers less dangerous
because it needs no army to suppress it? If the wise Prussian compares
the Silesian weavers' revolt with the English labour revolts, the
Silesian weavers will appear to him to be strong weavers.

From the general relation of politics to social crime we will explain
why the weavers' revolt could cause no special "fears" to the King.
For the moment only this need be said: the revolt was directed not
immediately against the King of Prussia, but against the bourgeoisie.
As an aristocrat and an absolute monarch, the King of Prussia can have
no love for the bourgeoisie; he can have even less cause for
apprehension when their submission and their impotence are heightened
by a strained and difficult relation to the proletariat. Further: the
orthodox catholic regards the orthodox protestant with more hostility
than the atheist, just as the legitimist regards the liberal with
greater hostility than the communist. Not because atheists and
communists are related to the catholic and legitimist, but because
they are more alien to him than the protestant and the liberal,
because they are outside his circle. As a politician, the King of
Prussia finds his immediate antagonism in politics, in liberalism.

For the King, the antagonism of the proletariat exists just as little
as the King exists for the proletariat. The proletariat must attain to
decisive power before it can extinguish antipathies and political
antagonisms, and draw upon itself the whole enmity of politics.
Lastly: it must even afford a delightful surprise to the well-known
character of the King, thirsting for what is interesting and
important, to find that "interesting" and "much celebrated" pauperism
on his own soil, in conjunction with an opportunity of making people
talk about him afresh. How smug he must have felt at the news that
henceforth he possessed his "own" Royal Prussian pauperism.

Our "Prussian" is even more unlucky when he denies "religious feeling"
to be the source of the Royal Cabinet Order.

Why is not religious feeling the source of this Cabinet Order? Because
it is a "very sober" expression of Christian statecraft, a "sober"
expression of the doctrine which places no difficulties in the way of
the acceptance of its own medicine: the good feeling of Christian

Is not religious feeling the source of Christian statecraft?

Is not a doctrine which possesses its panacea in the good feeling of
Christian hearts based on religious feelings? Does a sober expression
of religious feeling cease to be an expression of religious feeling?
In fact, it must be a religious feeling greatly infatuated with itself
and very intoxicated which would seek in the "unity of Christian
hearts the remedy for great evils" which it denies can be supplied by
the State and the authorities. It must be a very intoxicated religious
feeling which, according to "Prussian's" admission, finds the entire
evil to consist in the lack of Christian sentiment, and consequently
refers the authorities to the sole means of strengthening this
sentiment, to "exhortation." According to "Prussian," Christian
feeling is the object at which the Cabinet Order aims. When it is
intoxicated, when it is not sober, religious feeling regards itself as
the sole good. Where it perceives evil, it ascribes the latter to its
own absence, for if it be the only good, it alone can create good.

How then does the so-called Prussian prove that the Cabinet Order is
not the outcome of religious feeling? By describing the Cabinet Order
everywhere as an outcome of religious feeling. Is an insight into
social movements to be expected from such an illogical mind? Listen to
his prattle about the relation of German society to the Labour
movement and to social reform generally.

Let us distinguish, and this "Prussian" neglects to do, between the
various categories that are comprised within the expression "German
society": government, bourgeoisie, Press, lastly the workers
themselves. These are the various divisions with which we are here
concerned. "Prussian" lumps them all together, and appraises them in
the lump from a superior standpoint. German society, according to him,
has not yet reached the stage of foreshadowing reform.

Why does it lack this instinct?

"In an unpolitical country like Germany," answers "Prussian," "it is
impossible to regard the partial distresses of the factory districts
as a general question, let alone as a blot on the whole civilized
world. The incident has for the Germans the same significance as any
local drought or famine. Consequently, the King regards it in the
light of a defect in administration or a lack of charity."

"Prussian" therefore explains this inverted conception of labour
distress from the peculiarity of an unpolitical country.

It will be conceded that England is a political country. It will be
further conceded that England is the country of pauperism, even the
word is of English origin.

The study of English conditions is thus the surest means of becoming
acquainted with the connection of a political country with pauperism.
In England labour distress is not partial but universal, not confined
to the factory districts, but co-extensive with the country
districts. The movements are not here in their initial stages; they
have recurred periodically for almost a century.

Now how does the English bourgeoisie and the government and Press
which are connected with it regard pauperism?

So far as the English bourgeoisie places the responsibility for
pauperism on politics, the Whig regards the Tory and the Tory the Whig
as the cause of pauperism. According to the Whig, the monopoly of
large landed property and the prohibitive legislation against the
import of corn constitute the chief source of pauperism. According to
the Tory, the whole evil is due to Liberalism, to competition, to a
factory system that has been carried too far. Neither of the parties
finds the cause to reside in politics generally, but each rather in
the policy of its opponent; of a reform in society neither party

The most decisive expression of the English insight into pauperism--we
refer always to the insight of the English bourgeoisie and
government--is English political economy, that is the scientific
reflexion of English economic conditions.

MacCulloch, one of the best and most famous of English political
economists, who knows existing conditions and has doubtless a clear
insight into the movement of bourgeois society, a pupil of the cynical
Ricardo,[9] ventured at a public lecture, amidst applause, to apply to
political economy what Bacon said of philosophy: "The man who with
true and untiring wisdom suspends his judgment, who progresses
gradually, surmounting one after the other the obstacles which impede
like mountains the course of study, will in time reach the summit of
knowledge, where rest and pure air may be enjoyed, where Nature offers
herself to the eye in all her beauty, and whence one may descend by a
convenient path to the last details of practice." Good pure air, the
pestilential atmosphere of the English cellar dwellings.

Great natural beauties, the picturesque rags of the English poor, and
the shrivelled flesh of the women, ravaged by work and poverty;
children lying in dirt; and the stunted creatures produced by overwork
in the one-sided processes of the factories! And the most charming
last details of practice: prostitution, murder and the gallows!

Middle class Englishmen who are most alive to the danger of pauperism
have an inadequate idea of its causes.

For instance Dr Kay, in his pamphlet _Recent Measures for the
Promotion of Education in England_, reduces everything to neglected
education. Upon what grounds, think you? Owing to the lack of
education, the worker fails to perceive the "natural laws of trade,"
laws which necessarily bring him to pauperism. Consequently he is up
in arms against them. This is calculated to "disturb the prosperity of
English manufactures and of English trade, destroy the mutual
confidence of business people, weaken the stability of political and
social institutions."

So great is the thoughtlessness of the English bourgeoisie and its
Press with regard to pauperism, England's national epidemic.

Let us grant then that the reproaches which our "Prussian" levels at
German society are well founded. Is the explanation to be sought in
the unpolitical condition of Germany?

But if the bourgeoisie of unpolitical Germany cannot grasp the general
significance of a partial distress, the bourgeoisie of political
England, on the other hand, has managed to miss the general
significance of a universal distress, which has been forced upon its
attention partly by periodical recurrence in time, partly by extension
in space, and partly by the failure of all efforts to remedy it.

"Prussian" further lays it to the account of the unpolitical condition
of Germany that the King of Prussia finds the cause of pauperism in
administrative defects or lack of benevolence, and consequently seeks
the remedy for pauperism in administrative and ameliorative measures.

Is this point of view peculiar to the King of Prussia? Let us take a
rapid glance at England, the only country where important political
measures have been taken against pauperism.

The present English Poor Law dates from the Forty-third Act of the
Government of Elizabeth. In what consisted the expedients of this
legislation? In the obligation laid on parishes to support their poor
workers, in the poor rate, in legal benevolence. For two hundred years
this legislation--benevolence by Act of Parliament--has lasted. What
is the attitude of Parliament in its Amendment Bill of 1834; after
long and painful experience?

First of all, the formidable increase in pauperism is explained from a
"defect in administration."

The administration of the poor rate, which consisted of officials of
the respective parishes, is therefore reformed. Unions of about twenty
parishes are formed, united in a single administration. A Board of
Guardians, elected by taxpayers, assembles on an appointed day in the
residence of the Union and decides upon the granting of relief. These
boards are coordinated and supervised by officials of the Government,
the Central Commission of Somerset House, the Ministry of Pauperism,
Frenchman has aptly described it. The capital which this
administration supervises is almost equal to the amount which the
French War Office costs. The number of local administrations which it
employs amounts to 500, and each of these local administrations keeps
at least twelve officials busy.

The English Parliament did not stop short at the mere reform of the

The chief source of the acute state of English pauperism it found in
the poor law itself. Benevolence, which is the legal remedy for social
crime, favours social crime. As regards pauperism in general, it is
an eternal natural law, according to the theory of Malthus: "As the
population unceasingly tends to overstep the means of subsistence,
benevolence is folly, a public encouragement to poverty. The State can
therefore do nothing more than leave poverty to its fate and at the
most soften death for the poor." With this amiable theory the English
Parliament combines the opinion that pauperism is poverty for which
the worker is himself responsible. It should therefore not be regarded
as a misfortune, but rather be suppressed and punished as a crime.

Thus the workhouse system arose, that is, the houses of the poor,
whose internal arrangements deter the poverty-stricken from seeking a
refuge from starvation. In the workhouse benevolence is ingeniously
combined with the revenge of the bourgeoisie upon the poor who appeal
to its charity.

England, therefore, at first attempted to destroy pauperism by
benevolence and administrative measures. Then it perceived in the
progressive increase of pauperism, not the necessary consequence of
modern industry, but rather the consequence of the English poor rate.
It regarded the universal distress as nothing more than a peculiarity
of English legislation. What was formerly ascribed to the lack of
charity was now attributed to a superfluity of charity. Finally,
poverty was regarded as the fault of the poor, and punished as such.

The general significance to which pauperism has attained in political
England is limited to the fact that, in course of development, in
spite of the administrative measures, pauperism has grown into a
national institution, and has therefore inevitably become the subject
of a ramified and extensive administration, an administration,
however, which no longer aims at extinguishing it, but at disciplining
and perpetuating it. This administration has abandoned all thought of
stopping up the source of pauperism by constructive measures; it is
content to dig a grave for it with official gentleness whenever it
breaks out on the surface of the official country. Instead of going
beyond the administrative and charitable measures, the English State
has actually gone back upon them. Its administration is confined to
that pauperism which is so despairing as to allow itself to be caught
and detained.

So far, therefore, "Prussian" has not demonstrated anything peculiar
in the procedure of the King of Prussia. But why, exclaims the great
man with rare simplicity: "Why does not the King of Prussia
immediately order the education of all destitute children?" Why does
he first look to the authorities and wait upon their plans and

The over-wise "Prussian" may calm himself on learning that in this
respect the King of Prussia displays as little originality as in his
other actions, that he has even adopted the only course that a Chief
of State can adopt.

Napoleon desired to destroy mendicancy at one blow. He instructed his
authorities to draw up proposals for the extirpation of mendicancy in
the whole of France. The project kept him waiting; and Napoleon lost
patience. Writing to his Home Secretary, Cretet, he ordered him to
destroy mendicancy within one month, and said: "One should not tarry
in this world without leaving behind that which would commend our
memory to posterity. Do not keep me waiting another three or four
months for information; you have your lawyers, your prefects, your
properly trained engineers of roads and bridges, set all these to
work, do not go to sleep in the usual official manner." Within a few
months everything was done. On the 5th July 1808 a law was passed
which put down mendicancy. How? By means of the depôts, which were
rapidly transformed into penal institutions, and it was not long
before the poor would only reach the harbour of these institutions by
way of legal punishment. And yet M. Noailles du Gard, member of the
Legislative Assembly, exclaimed at the time: "Everlasting gratitude to
the hero who assures a place of refuge for the needy and sustenance to
the poor: childhood will no longer be neglected, poor families will no
longer be deprived of their resources, nor the workers of
encouragement and employment. Our steps will no longer be dogged by
the disgusting spectacle of infirmities and of shameful poverty." The
last cynical passage is the single truth in this eulogy.

If Napoleon asks for the views of his lawyers, prefects, and
engineers, why should not the King of Prussia address himself to _his_

Why did not Napoleon order the immediate extinction of mendicancy? Of
equal value is "Prussian's" question: "Why does not the King of
Prussia order the immediate education of neglected children?" Does
"Prussian" know what the King should have ordered? Nothing less than
the immediate extinction of the proletariat. Children cannot be
educated unless they are fed and freed from industrial labour. The
feeding and educating of neglected children is tantamount to feeding
and educating the whole adolescent proletariat, and would mean the
extinction of the proletariat and of pauperism.

The Convention once had the courage to order the abolition of
pauperism, yet not "immediately," as "Prussian" requires of his king,
but only after it had entrusted the Committee of Public Safety with
the preparation of the necessary plans and proposals, and after the
latter had utilized the exhaustive investigations of the Constituent
Assembly into the state of French poverty and proposed through Barrère
the establishment of the _Livre de la bienfaisance nationale_, etc.
What was the result of the instructions of the Convention? That there
was one more order in the world and a year later starving women
besieged the Convention.

The Convention, however, represented the maximum of political energy,
of political power, and of political insight.

No government in the world has ever issued peremptory orders
concerning pauperism, without an understanding with the authorities.
The English parliament even sent commissioners into all the countries
of Europe, in order to become acquainted with the various
administrative remedies for pauperism. But so far as States have been
concerned with pauperism, they have either confined themselves to
administrative and charitable measures, or have gone back upon such

Can the State behave otherwise?

The State will never find the cause of social crime in the "State and
the institution of society," as "Prussian" requires of his king. Where
there are political parties, each finds the cause of every evil in the
fact that its opponent, instead of itself, is at the helm of the
State. Even the radical and revolutionary politicians seek the cause
of the evil not in the essence of the State, but in a specific form of
the State, which they aim at replacing by another State form.

From the political standpoint, the State and the institution of
society are not two separate things. The State is the institution of
society. So far as the State recognizes social evils, it attributes
them either to natural laws, which are amenable to no human power, or
to the defects of private life, which is independent of the State, or
in the futility of the administration which is dependent on it. Thus
England finds poverty to be grounded in the natural law according to
which the population is always bound to overstep the means of
subsistence. According to another side, it explains pauperism from the
wicked dispositions of the poor, just as the King of Prussia explained
it from the unchristian sentiment of the rich, and just as the
Convention explained it from the counter-revolutionary and suspicious
dispositions of the property owners. England therefore punishes the
poor, the King of Prussia exhorts the rich, and the Convention
decapitates the property owners.

Finally, all States seek the cause of social evil in accidental or
deliberate defects of administration, and therefore look to
administrative measures for the remedy. Why? Just because the
administration is the organized activity of the State.

The State cannot abolish the contradiction between the intentions and
the good will of the administration, on the one hand, and its
expedients and its resources, on the other hand, without abolishing
itself, for it is based upon this contradiction. It is based upon the
contradiction between public and private life, upon the contradiction
between the general interest and individual interests. The
administration is therefore obliged to confine itself to a formal and
negative activity, for its power ceases where middle-class life and
its work begin. Yes, as against the consequences which spring from the
unsocial nature of this middle-class life, this private property, this
trade, this industry, this mutual plundering of various middle-class
circles, as against these consequences impotence is the natural law of
the administration.

For this dismemberment, this slavery of middle-class society, is the
natural foundation upon which the modern State rests, just as the
civil society of slavery was the natural foundation upon which the
antique State rested. The existence of the State is inseparable from
the existence of slavery. The antique State and antique
slavery--manifest classical antagonisms--were not more intimately
connected than is the modern State with the modern huckstering
world--sanctimonious Christian antagonisms. If the modern State wishes
to abolish the impotence of its administration, it would have to
abolish the present-day mode of living. If it wishes to abolish this
mode of living, it would have to abolish itself, for it exists only in
opposition to the same. No living person, however, would believe that
defects in his existence are due to the vital principle of his life,
but would rather attribute them to circumstances outside his life.
Suicide is unnatural.

The State cannot therefore believe in the innate impotence of its
administration. It can only take notice of formal and accidental
defects therein and attempt to remedy them. If these modifications are
fruitless, social crime must be a natural imperfection independent of
mankind, a law of God, or else the dispositions of private individuals
are too vitiated to second the good intentions of the administration.
And what perverted private individuals! They murmur against the
government whenever the latter restricts freedom, and they demand that
the government should provide against the necessary consequences of
this freedom.

The more powerful the State, and the more political, therefore, a
country is, all the less is it inclined to seek in the principle of
the State, and consequently in the existing institution of society,
whose self-conscious and official expression the State is, for the
cause of social crime, and to grasp its general principle.

Political understanding is political understanding precisely because
it thinks within the limitations of politics. The more acute, the more
alert it is, the more incapable it is of perceiving social crime. The
classic period of political understanding is the French Revolution.
Far from perceiving the source of social defects in the principle of
the State, the heroes of the French Revolution rather perceived in
social defects the source of political abuses. Thus Robespierre saw in
great poverty and great riches only an obstacle to pure democracy.
Consequently, he desired to establish a general Spartan frugality.

The principle of politics is will-power. The more one-sided, which
means the more complete, political understanding is, all the more does
it believe in the omnipotence of will-power, all the more blind is it
to the natural and intellectual limitations to will-power, all the
more incapable is it, therefore, of discovering the source of social

No further proof is needed to refute the absurd hope entertained by
"Prussian", according to which "political understanding" is called
upon "to discover the roots of social distress in Germany."

It was ridiculous to impute to the King of Prussia a power which the
Convention and Napoleon together did not possess; it was ridiculous to
credit him with an insight that went beyond the limits of all
politics, an insight which the wise "Prussian" possesses no more than
his king.

Let us suppose that "Prussian's" observations upon the German
Government and the German bourgeoisie--the latter is of course
included in "German society"--are perfectly justified. Is this section
of society more perplexed in Germany than in England and France? Is it
possible to be more perplexed than, for example, in England, where
perplexity has been elevated into a system?

If Labour revolts are now breaking out all over England, the
bourgeoisie and the Government there are no better advised than in
the last third of the eighteenth century. Their sole expedient is
material force, and as material force diminishes in the same degree as
the spread of pauperism and the insight of the proletariat increase,
English perplexity necessarily grows in geometrical proportion.

Lastly, it is in point of fact untrue that the German bourgeoisie has
entirely missed the general significance of the Silesian revolt.

In several towns the masters are endeavouring to combine with the
journeymen. All the liberal German newspapers, the organs of the
liberal bourgeoisie, are gushing about the organization of labour, the
reform of society, the criticism of monopoly and of competition, etc.
All this as a result of the labour movements. The newspapers of
Treves, Aachen, Cologne, Wesel, Mannheim, Breslau, even of Berlin, are
constantly publishing quite intelligent articles on social affairs,
from which "Prussian" may learn at any time. Yes, letters from Germany
are constantly expressing astonishment at the slight opposition which
the bourgeoisie offers to social tendencies.

If "Prussian" had been better acquainted with the history of the
social movement, he would have put his question the other way round.
Why does the German bourgeoisie itself interpret the partial distress
as relatively universal? Whence the animosity and cynicism of the
political bourgeoisie? Whence the supineness and the sympathies of the
unpolitical bourgeoisie with respect to the proletariat?

Now to "Prussian's" oracular pronouncements concerning the German
workers. "The German poor," he puns, "are not wiser than the poor
Germans, that is, they can nowhere see beyond their hearth, their
factory, their district: the whole question has so far been neglected
by the all-comprehending political soul."

In order to be able to compare the condition of the German workers
with the condition of the French and English workers, "Prussian" must
compare the first manifestation, the beginning of the English and
French Labour movement, with the German movement which has just begun.
He neglects to do this. His reasoning therefore runs upon a
triviality, such as that industry in Germany is not yet so developed
as in England, or that a movement in its beginnings looks different
from a movement that has made progress.

If, however, "Prussian" would place himself at the correct standpoint,
he would find that not any of the French and English Labour revolts
possessed such a theoretical and conscious character as the Silesian
weavers' revolt.

In the first place, let us recall the song of the weavers, those bold
accents of the struggle, wherein hearth, factory, and district are not
once mentioned, but the proletariat immediately gets into the stride
of its opposition to the society of private property in the most
vigorous, ruthless, and powerful fashion. The Silesian revolt begins
just where the French and English Labour revolts end, with the
consciousness of the being of the proletariat. The action itself bears
this superior character. Not only the machines, these rivals of the
worker, were destroyed, but also the ledgers, the title of property,
and while all other movements have been directed in the first place
against the visible enemy, the lords of industry, this movement was
simultaneously directed against the bankers, the concealed foe.

Lastly, no single English Labour revolt has been conducted with equal
bravery, circumspection, and persistence.

As regards the state of education or the capacity for education of the
German workers generally, I may recall Weitling's excellent writings,
which frequently represent an advance upon Proudhon in a theoretical
respect, although they may be inferior to him in finish. Where can the
bourgeoisie--their philosophers and scholars included--show a work
similar to Weitling's "Guarantees of Harmony and Freedom" pertaining
to the emancipation of the bourgeoisie--the political emancipation? If
we compare the mediocrity of German political literature with this
expansive and brilliant literary début of the German worker; if we
compare this giant child's shoe of the proletariat with the dwarf
proportions of the worn-out political shoe of the German bourgeoisie,
we must predict an athletic figure for the German Cinderella. It must
be admitted that the German proletariat is the theorist of the
European proletariat, just as the English proletariat is its political
economist, and the French proletariat its politician. Germany
possesses a classical vocation for the social revolution although she
is incapable of the political revolution. For if the impotence of the
German bourgeoisie is the same thing as the political impotence of
Germany, the talent of the German proletariat--even apart from German
theory--is the social talent of Germany. The disproportion between the
philosophical and the political development in Germany is no
abnormality. It is a necessary disproportion. Only by means of
socialism can a philosophical people put its philosophy into practice,
and only in the proletariat, therefore, can it find the active element
for its emancipation.

At this moment, however, I have neither the time nor the inclination
to explain to "Prussian" the relation of "German society" to the
social transformation, and from this relation to explain, on the one
side, the weak reaction of the German bourgeoisie to socialism, and,
on the other hand, the exceptional talent of the German proletariat
for socialism. The first elements for the understanding of this
phenomenon he will find in my introduction to the criticism of Hegel's
philosophy of right ("Franco-German Annuals"). (See pp. 11 _et seq._
of this book.)

The wisdom of the German poor is therefore in inverse proportion to
the wisdom of the poor Germans. Thus "Prussian's" attempt to
manipulate his thought in the form of antithesis on the occasion of
the Silesian labour unrest had led to the greatest antithesis against
the truth. What a thoughtful mind should do in connection with a first
outbreak, such as the Silesian workers' revolt, is not to play the
schoolmaster to this event, but to study its peculiar character. For
this a certain amount of scientific insight and some goodwill is
necessary, whereas for the other operation a glib phraseology,
saturated in shallow egoism, fully suffices.

Why does "Prussian" judge the German workers so contemptuously?
Because he finds that the "whole question,"--namely the question of
labour distress--has not yet been taken up by the "all-comprehending
political soul." He carries his Platonic love to the political soul so
far as to say:

"All revolts which break out from the isolation of men from the
community and the separation of their thoughts from the social
principles will be extinguished in blood and unreason; but if the
distress first creates the understanding, and if the political
understanding of the Germans discovers the roots of social distress,
then these incidents would also be felt in Germany as the symptom of a
great transformation."

In the first half of the sentence we read: if distress creates
understanding, and in the second half: if political understanding
discovers the roots of social distress. Simple understanding in the
first half of the antithesis becomes political understanding in the
second half, just as the simple distress of the first half of the
antithesis becomes social distress in the second half. Why has the
artist in style so unequally endowed the two halves of the antithesis?

Had "Prussian" written: "If social distress creates political
understanding, and if political understanding discovers the roots of
social distress," the absurdity of this antithesis could not have
escaped any impartial reader. Such a reader would have immediately
wondered why the anonymous writer did not couple social understanding
with social distress and political understanding with political
distress, as the simplest logic dictates? Now to business.

So false is it to say that social distress creates political
understanding that the truth is rather the reverse; social well-being
creates political understanding. Political understanding is an
intellectual quality and is given to him who already has, who lives in
clover. Our "Prussian" should hear what a French political economist,
M. Michel Chevalier, has to say upon this subject: "In the year 1789
when the bourgeoisie revolted, the sole thing they wanted was a share
in the government of the country. Emancipation consisted in snatching
the direction of public affairs, the high civic, military and
religious functions, from the hands of the privileged persons who
possessed the monopoly of these functions. Wealthy and enlightened,
able to govern themselves, they desired to escape from the _régime du
bon plaisir_."

How incapable political understanding is of discovering the source of
social distress we have already demonstrated to "Prussian." Another
word about this opinion of his. The more cultivated and general the
political understanding of a people is, all the more does the
proletariat--at least at the beginning of the movement--dissipate its
energies in irrational, useless, and brutally suppressed revolts.
Because it thinks along political lines, it perceives the cause of
all evils in the wills of men, and all remedies to lie in force and
the overthrow of a particular form of the State. In proof whereof we
cite the first outbreak of the French proletariat. The workers in
Lyons believed they were only pursuing political aims and were only
soldiers of the Republic, whereas they were in truth soldiers of
socialism. Thus their political understanding hid from them the roots
of social distress; it distorted their insight into their real aims;
their political understanding deceived their social instinct.

"Prussian" prophesies the suppression of revolts which break out owing
to the "isolation of men from the community and the separation of
their thoughts from social principles."

We have shown that the Silesian revolt was by no means characterized
by the separation of ideas from social principles. It remains to deal
with the "isolation of men from the community." By community is to be
understood in this connection the political community, the State
institution. It is the old story of unpolitical Germany.

But do not all revolts without exception break out from the isolation
of men from the community? Does not every revolt necessarily
presuppose this isolation? Would the Revolution of 1789 have taken
place without the isolation of the French citizens from the community?
Its aim, in fact, was to end this isolation.

But the community from which the worker is isolated is a community of
quite a different nature from and of quite other dimensions than the
political community. This community, from which his own labour
separates him, is life itself, physical and intellectual life, human
morality, human activity, human enjoyment, the human community.

Human life is the real community of men. Just as the isolation from
this body is more complete, more painful, more to be feared, more
contradictory than is isolation from the political community, so too
the removal of this isolation, and even a partial reaction, a revolt
against the same, are tasks all the more infinite as man is more
infinite than the citizen, and human life than political life. However
partial the industrial revolt may be, it conceals within itself a
universal soul: political revolt may be never so universal but it
hides a narrow-minded spirit under the most colossal form.

"Prussian" worthily closes his article with the following phrase: "A
social revolution without a political soul (that is, without organized
insight from the standpoint of the whole) is impossible."

We have seen that a social revolution maybe considered to be from the
standpoint of the whole because, even if it only occurs in a factory
district, it is a protest of men against degraded life, because it
proceeds from the standpoint of the real individual, because the
community against whose separation from himself the individual reacts,
is the real community of men, the civic community.

The political soul of a revolution, on the other hand, consists in the
endeavour of the classes without political influence to abolish their
isolation from the community and from government. Their standpoint is
that of the State, an abstract whole, which exists only in and through
its separation from real life, which is unthinkable without the
organized antagonism between the general idea and the individual
existence of man. Consequently a revolution of political souls
organizes a ruling clique in society, in accordance with the limited
and doubly-cleft nature of these souls, at the cost of society.

We should like to confide to "Prussian" what a "social revolution with
a political soul" is; we should like at the same time to suggest to
him that not once has he been able to raise himself above the
restricted political standpoint.

A "social" revolution with a political soul is either a composite
absurdity, if "Prussian" means by "social" revolution a social
revolution in contrast to a political, and yet invests the social
revolution with a political, instead of a social, soul. Or a "social
revolution with a political soul" is nothing but what is otherwise
called a "political revolution" or a "revolution pure and simple."

Every revolution dissolves the old society; in so far it is social.
Every revolution overthrows the old power; in so far it is political.

"Prussian" may choose between the paraphrase and the absurdity.

Equally ridiculous is the notion of a political revolution with a
social soul. The revolution as such--the overthrow of the existing
power and the dissolution of the old conditions--is a political act.
But without a revolution, socialism cannot be enforced. It requires
this political act, so far as it has need of the process of
destruction and dissolution. But where its organizing activity begins,
where its proper aim, its soul, emerges, there socialism casts away
the political hull.


[8] Arnold Ruge was the author of this article.

[9] Marx in later years changed his views about MacCulloch and


"I cannot imagine that Mr Engels and our communists are so blind as
not to see that force also dominates property, and that the injustice
in the property relations is only maintained by force. I call that
person a fool and a coward who cherishes animosity towards a bourgeois
because he is accumulating money, and leaves a king in peace because
he has acquired power," states Mr Heinzen.

"Force also dominates property." Property is likewise also a species
of power. The economists call capital, for example, "the command over
other labour." We are thus confronted with two kinds of force or
power: on the one hand, the power of property, that is, of the
property owner; on the other hand, the political power, the State
power. "Force also dominates property" means that property has not
yet got the political power in its hands, but is rather vexed by it,
for example, by arbitrary taxes, by confiscation, by privileges, by
the disturbing interference of the bureaucracy in industry and trade
and the like.

In other words: The bourgeoisie is not yet politically constituted as
a class. The State power is not yet its own power. In countries where
the bourgeoisie has already conquered political power, and where
political rule is nothing less than the rule, not of the individual
bourgeois over the workers, but of the bourgeois class over the whole
of society, Mr Heinzen's dictum has lost its meaning. The propertyless
are, of course, not affected by political rule, so far as it relates
directly to property.

Whilst, therefore, Mr Heinzen fancies he is uttering a truth as
eternal as it is original, he has only recorded the fact that the
German bourgeoisie must capture the political power, that is, he is
saying unconsciously what Engels says, in the brave belief that he is
saying the opposite.

"The injustice in the property relations," continues Mr Heinzen, "is
only maintained by force." Either Mr Heinzen understands by "the
injustice in the property relations" the above-mentioned pressure,
which the German bourgeoisie still suffers in its "most sacred"
interests from the absolute monarchy, and then he only repeats what
has just been said--or he understands by "the injustice in the
property relations" the economic relations of the workers, and in that
case his revelation amounts to this: The existing bourgeois property
relations are "maintained" by the State power, which the bourgeoisie
has organized for the protection of its property relations. The
proletarians must, therefore, overthrow the political power where it
is already in the hands of the bourgeoisie. They must themselves
attain to power, to revolutionary power. Mr Heinzen again says
unconsciously what Engels says, again in the sincere conviction of
having said the opposite. What he says he does not mean, and what he
means he does not say.

Moreover, if the bourgeoisie politically, that is, through the agency
of its State power, maintains "the injustice in the property
relations," it does not create the latter. The "injustice in the
property relations," conditioned by the modern division of labour,
the modern form of exchange, competition, concentration, etc., does
not in any way proceed from the political rule of the bourgeoisie,
but, contrariwise, the political rule of the bourgeoisie proceeds from
these modern relations of production, which are proclaimed by the
bourgeois economists to be necessary and eternal laws.

If, therefore, the proletariat should overthrow the political rule of
the bourgeoisie, its victory would be only temporary, only an episode
in the service of the bourgeois revolution, so long as the material
conditions which would render necessary the abolition of the bourgeois
mode of production, and consequently the definitive overthrow of the
political rule of the bourgeoisie, had not yet been created in the
course of historical development. From this point of view, the Reign
of Terror in France did no more than to clear away the feudal ruins
from French soil by its hammer blows.

The anxious and cautious bourgeoisie would have taken decades to
perform this work. The bloody action of the people, therefore,
prepared the way. Similarly, the overthrow of the absolute monarchy
would have been merely a momentary incident, if the economic
conditions for the rule of the bourgeois class had not been developed
to the point of ripeness.

Men built for themselves a new world, not out of earthly goods, as the
bluff Heinzen superstition would have us believe, but out of the
historical achievements of their shipwrecked world. In the course of
development, they have first to create the material conditions for a
new society themselves, and no effort of the mind or the will can save
them from this destiny.

It is typical of bluff common sense that where it manages to see
difference, it does not see unity, and where it sees unity, it does
not see difference. If perchance it sets up distinguishing qualities,
it immediately petrifies them, and sees nothing but sophistry in the
notion of rubbing these slabs of ideas against each other until they
catch fire.

In stating that money and force, property and rule, money-making and
power-acquiring are not the same, it is merely uttering a tautology.

How "money-making" is turned into "winning power," and "property"
into "political rule," and how, instead of the hard and fast
distinctions drawn by Mr Heinzen, the two forces are interrelated to
the point of unity, of all this he may quickly convince himself by
observing how the communes purchased their municipal rights; how the
citizens enticed money out of the pockets of the feudal lords by trade
and industry, on the one hand, and disintegrated their landed property
by bills of exchange, on the other hand; aiding absolute monarchy to
triumph over the great feudatories who were thus being undermined,
just as later they exploited the financial crises of absolute monarchy
itself, etc.; how the most absolute monarch became dependent on the
Stock Exchange barons through the national debt system--a product of
modern industry and of modern commerce; and how in the international
relations of peoples industrial monopoly is immediately transmuted
into political rule, as in the case of the princes of the Holy
Alliance in the "German liberation war," who were only the paid foot
soldiers of England, etc., etc.

Mr Heinzen cannot fail to notice that even in Prussia the power of
property has been raised to the point of a _mariage forcé_ with the
political power. Listen further:

"You wish to give a contemporary meaning to social questions; and yet
you fail to see that there is no more important question than that of
monarchy versus republic." A little while ago Mr Heinzen only saw the
_distinction_ between the money power and the political power, now he
only sees _unity_ between political questions and social questions.

The political relations of men are, of course, also social relations,
as are all relations which bind men to men. All questions pertaining
to the relations of men to each other are social questions at the same

The "social questions" which have been "discussed in our time"
increase in importance in the degree that we emerge from the realm of
absolute monarchy. Socialism and communism did not originate in
Germany, but in England, France and North America. The first
appearance of a really active communist party may be placed within the
period of the middle-class revolution, the moment when constitutional
monarchy was abolished. The most consistent republicans, in England
the Levellers, in France Babeuf, Buonarotti, etc., were the first to
proclaim these "social questions." The "Conspiracy of Babeuf," written
by his friend and comrade Buonarotti, shows how these republicans
derived their social insight from the "historical movement." It also
demonstrates that when the social question of princedom versus
republic is removed, not a single social question of the kind that
interests the proletariat has been solved.

The property question as it presents itself in "our time" cannot be
recognized under the form in which Mr Heinzen clothes it, _i.e._
"whether it is right that one man should possess everything and
another nothing, whether man as an individual need possess anything at
all," and suchlike simple questions of conscience and pious phrases.

The question of property assumes different forms according to the
successive stages of development of industry in general and according
to its particular stages of development in various countries.

For the Galician peasant, for example, the property question reduces
itself to the transformation of feudal landed property into small
middle-class holdings. It has for him the same meaning as it had for
the French peasants of 1789. On the other hand, the English
agricultural labourer does not stand in any relation to the landed
proprietor. He comes into contact merely with the farmer, that is, the
industrial capitalist who carries on agriculture upon factory lines.
This industrial capitalist, on his part, who pays a rent to the land
owner, stands in a direct relationship to the latter. The abolition of
landed property is therefore the most important property question that
exists for the English industrial bourgeoisie, and the struggle
against the Corn Laws had no other meaning. The abolition of capital,
on the other hand, is the property question as understood equally by
the English agricultural labourer and by the English factory worker.

Both in the English and in the French Revolutions the property
question presented itself in such wise that it seemed to be imperative
to enforce free competition and to effect the abolition of all feudal
property relations, such as manorial rights, guilds, monopolies, which
had been transformed into fetters upon the industry which was
developing between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries. Lastly, in
"our time" the property question means the abolition of the
antagonisms which are produced by the great industry, the development
of the world market and of free competition.

The property question, according to the successive stages in the
development of industry, has always been the life question of a
particular class. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries when the
point at issue was the abolition of feudal property relations, the
property question was the life question of the bourgeois class. In the
nineteenth century, when the point at issue is the abolition of
bourgeois property relations, the property question is a life question
for the working class.

The property question, which in "our time" is a world-historical
question, has therefore a meaning only in the modern bourgeois
society. The more developed this society is, the more therefore the
bourgeoisie develops itself economically in a country, and
consequently the more the State power has assumed a bourgeois
expression, all the more acutely does the social question obtrude
itself, in France more acutely than in Germany, in England more
acutely than in France, in the constitutional monarchy more acutely
than in the absolute monarchy, in the Republic more acutely than in
the constitutional monarchy. Thus, for example, the crises in the
credit system and in speculation, etc., are nowhere more acute than in
North America. Nowhere, too, does social inequality obtrude itself
more harshly than in the Eastern States of North America, because it
is nowhere less glossed over by political inequality. If pauperism has
not yet developed here to the extent that it has in England, this is
due to economic conditions which need not be further discussed at this
place. Meanwhile pauperism is making the most delightful progress.

"In a country where there is no privileged class, where all classes of
society have equal rights" (but the difficulty lies in the existence
of classes), "and where our population is far from pressing on the
means of subsistence, it is in fact alarming to see pauperism growing
with such rapidity." (Report of Mr Meredith to the Pennsylvanian
Congress.) "It is proved that pauperism in Massachusetts has increased
by 60 per cent, in twenty-five years." (From Miles' Register.)

As in England under the name of Chartists, so in North America under
the name of National Reformers, the workers are forming a political
party, whose slogan is not--monarchy versus republic, but rule of the
working class versus rule of the bourgeois class.

While therefore it is just in the modern bourgeois society, with its
corresponding political forms of the constitutional or the republican
representative state, that the "property question" has become the most
important "social question," it is the peculiar situation of the
German middle-class man which prompts him to assert that the question
of princedom is the most important social question of the time.

"The princes," Mr Heinzen tells us, are the "chief authors of all
poverty and all distress." Where princedom has been abolished, this
explanation is of course out of place, and the slavery system upon
which the ancient republics broke down--the slavery system which will
lead to the most terrible collisions in the southern states of
republican North America, the slavery system may exclaim with Jack
Falstaff: and if reasons were as plentiful as blackberries!

Once upon a time the people were obliged to place at their head the
most eminent personalities to conduct public affairs. Later these
positions were transmitted through families. And lastly the stupidity
and depravity of mankind have tolerated this abuse for centuries. If a
conference were convened of all the native pot-house politicians of
Europe, they could answer nothing different. And if one went through
Mr Heinzen's entire works, they would yield no other answer.

Bluff commonsense believes that it explains princedom by declaring
itself to be the latter's opponent. But the difficulty which confronts
this normal method of reasoning is to show how the opponent of healthy
commonsense and of moral dignity came to be born, and to drag out a
remarkably tenacious life for centuries. Nothing simpler. For
centuries healthy commonsense and moral dignity were non-existent. In
other words, the sense and the morality of centuries answered to the
institution of princedom, instead of contradicting it. And even this
sense and this morality of bygone centuries are not understood by the
"healthy commonsense" of to-day. The latter does not grasp it, and
therefore despises it. It flees from history to morality, which allows
it full play to the heavy artillery of its moral indignation.

In the same fashion as political "healthy commonsense" here explains
the rise and continuance of princedom as the work of unreason, in the
same way religious "healthy commonsense" explains heresy and unbelief
as the work of the devil. In the same manner irreligious "healthy
commonsense" explains religion as the work of the devil, of the

But once Mr Heinzen has explained the origin of princedom by means of
moral commonplaces, the "connection of princedom with social
conditions" follows quite naturally. Listen: "An individual
sequestrates the state, and more or less sacrifices a whole people,
not only materially, but also morally, to his person and his
supporters, institutes a graduated series of ranks, divides the
people, as if they were fat and lean cattle, into various classes,
and, solely on the ground of affection for his own person, makes every
member of the State the official enemy of the other."

Mr Heinzen has in mind the princes upon the top of the social
structure in Germany. He does not doubt for a moment that they have
made and are daily renewing their social foundation. Can a simpler
explanation be afforded of the connection of the monarchy with social
conditions, of which it is the official political expression, than by
making this connection the work of the princes? What is the connection
between representative chambers and the modern middle-class society
which they represent? The former have made the latter. Similarly
political divine right with its apparatus and its gradations has made
the profane world, of which it is the holy of holies. By a parity of
reasoning religious divine right has made the secular conditions of
which it constitutes a fantastic and glorified reflexion.

Bluff commonsense, which proffers such homely wisdom with beseeming
pathos would of course be morally indignant at the opponent who
attempted to show that the apple did not make the apple tree.

Modern historical research has shown how absolute monarchy appeared in
the period of transition, when the old feudal classes were decaying
and the medieval burgher class was evolving into the modern bourgeois
class, without either of the disputing parties being able to settle
accounts with the other.

The elements out of which absolute monarchy builds itself up cannot in
any way be its product: they rather form its preliminary condition,
the historic origin of which is too well known to be repeated here.
That absolute monarchy in Germany developed later and is lasting
longer is to be explained by reference to the distorted course of
development of the German middle class. The solution to the riddle of
this course of development is to be found in the history of commerce
and industry.

The decay of the German free towns, the destruction of the Order of
Knighthood, the defeat of the peasants--the local supremacy of the
princes which arose therefrom--the decay of German industry and of
German commerce, which were based on entirely medieval conditions, at
the same time as the modern world market was being opened up and
large-scale manufacture was thriving--the depopulation and the
barbarous condition that followed in the wake of the Thirty Years
War--the character of the reviving national branches of industry, such
as the small linen industry, which are adapted to patriarchal
conditions and relations--the nature of the articles of export, the
greater part of which belonged to agriculture, and therefore almost
alone increased the material sources of life of the landed nobility,
and consequently the power of the latter over the citizens--the
depressed position of Germany in the world market in general, whereby
the subsidies paid by foreigners to the princes became a chief source
of national income, the consequent dependence of the citizens upon the
Court, etc. etc.,--all these conditions, within which German society
and a political organization corresponding thereto developed, are
transformed by Heinzen's bluff common sense into a few pithy sayings,
the pith of which consists in the assertion that "German princedom"
made and daily remakes "German society."

The optimistic delusion which enables healthy common sense to find in
princedom the source of German society, instead of seeing the source
of princedom in German society, is susceptible of an easy explanation.

It sees truly enough at first glance, and its first glance is always
keenest, that the German princes maintain and consolidate the old
German social condition, upon which their existence stands or falls,
and forcibly react against the dissolving elements. It likewise sees,
on the other hand, the dissolving elements striving with the princely
power. All the healthy five senses testify at once that princedom is
the foundation of the old society, its gradations, its prejudices, and
its antagonisms.

Regarded more closely, however, this phenomenon only contradicts the
rough and ready opinion for which it furnished the innocent occasion.

The powerful reactionary rôle which princedom assumed only proves that
in the pores of the old society a new society has evolved, which feels
the political husk--the appropriate covering of the old society--to be
an unnatural fetter which it must burst. The more immature these new
elements are, the more conservative appears to be even the most
vigorous reaction of the old political power. The reaction of
princedom, instead of proving that it makes the old society, rather
proves that it is at the end of its tether so soon as the material
conditions of the old society are obsolete. Its reaction is at the
same time the reaction of the old society, which is still the
official society.

If the material conditions of life of society have so far developed
that the transformation of their official political shape has become a
vital necessity for it, the entire physiognomy of the old political
power undergoes a transformation. Thus absolute monarchy now aims at
decentralization, instead of at centralization, wherein consists its
proper civilizing activity.

Itself the product of the defeat of the feudal orders, and even taking
the most active part in their destruction, it tries now to retain at
least the semblance of feudal distinctions. Formerly favouring
commerce and industry and also the rise of the burgher class, as being
necessary conditions both of the national power and of its own
brilliance, absolute monarchy now puts all kinds of obstacles in the
way of commerce and industry, which have become more and more
dangerous weapons in the hands of a powerful bourgeoisie. From the
town, which fostered its rise, it casts an anxious and dulled glance
over the countryside, which is fertilized with the corpses of its old
heroic foes.

But what Mr Heinzen understands by the "connection of politics with
social conditions" is really only the connection of German princedom
with German distress and German poverty.

The monarchy, like every other State, exists externally for the
working class only in the form of taxes. Taxes constitute the
existence of the State economically expressed. Officials and parsons,
soldiers and ballet dancers, schoolmasters and beadles, Greek museums
and Gothic towers, civil list and army list--the communal seeds
wherein all these fabulous existences embryonically slumber are--the

And what reasoning citizen would not refer the starving people to the
taxes, to the ill-gotten gains of the princes, as the source of their
poverty? German princes and German distress! In other words, the taxes
on which the princes live in opulence and which the people pay with
the sweat of their blood! What inexhaustible material for declamatory
human saviours!

No doubt the monarchy is very expensive. One has only to glance at the
North American budget and compare it with what our thirty-eight
duodecimo fatherland has to pay in order to be administered and

The blustering outbreaks of this conceited demagogy are answered not
by the communists, but by such middle-class economists as Ricardo,
Senior, etc., in a few words.

The economic existence of the State is the taxes. The economic
existence of the worker is wages. What has to be settled is the
relation between wages and taxes.

The average wage is necessarily reduced by competition to the minimum,
that is, to a wage which allows the workers and their race to drag out
a scanty existence. Taxes form a part of this minimum, for the
political business of the worker just consists in paying taxes. If the
whole of the taxes that fall on the working class were drastically cut
down, the necessary consequence would be that wages would be reduced
by the whole amount of the taxes now included in them. Either the
profit of the employer would thereby be increased to the same extent,
or a change in the method of raising taxes would have taken place.
Instead of the capitalist advancing to-day in wages the taxes which
the worker must pay, he would no longer pay them in this roundabout
fashion, but directly to the State. If wages are higher in North
America than in Europe, this is by no means due to its lighter
taxation. It is the consequence of its territorial, commercial, and
industrial situation. The demand for workers in relation to the supply
of workers is considerably greater than in Europe. And this truth is
known already to every pupil of Adam Smith.

On the other hand, so far as the bourgeoisie is concerned, both the
incidence and the nature of the taxes, as well as the spending of the
money, are a vital question, both on account of their influence upon
commerce and industry, and because taxes are the golden cord with
which absolute monarchy is strangled.

After vouchsafing such profound explanations about the "connection of
politics with social conditions" and the "class relations" with the
State power, Mr Heinzen exclaims triumphantly: "The 'communistic
narrow-mindedness' which divides men into classes, or antagonizes them
according to their handicraft, has been avoided by me. I have left
open the 'possibility' that 'humanity' is not always determined by
'class' or the 'length of one's purse.'" Bluff common sense transforms
the class distinction into the "length of the purse" and the class
antagonism into trade quarrels. The length of the purse is a purely
quantitative distinction, which may perchance antagonize any two
individuals of the same class. That the medieval guilds confronted
each other on the basis of handicraft is well known. But it is
likewise well known that the modern class distinction is by no means
based on handicraft; rather the division of labour within the same
class produces very different methods of work.

It is very 'possible' that particular individuals are not always
influenced in their attitude by the class to which they belong, but
this has as little effect upon the class struggle as the secession of
a few nobles to the _tiers état_ had on the French Revolution. And
then these nobles at least joined a class, the revolutionary class,
the bourgeoisie. But Mr Heinzen sees all classes melt away before the
solemn idea of 'humanity.'

If he believes that entire classes, which are based upon economic
conditions independent of their will, and are set by these conditions
in a relation of mutual antagonism, can break away from their real
relations, by virtue of the quality of 'humanity' which is inherent in
all men, how easy it should be for a prince to raise himself above his
'princedom', above his 'princely handicraft' by virtue of 'humanity'?
Why does he take it amiss when Engels perceives a 'brave Emperor
Joseph' behind his revolutionary phrases?

But if, on the one hand, Mr Heinzen obliterates all distinctions, in
addressing himself vaguely to the 'humanity' of Germans, so that he is
obliged to include even the princes in his admonitions, on the other
hand, he finds himself obliged to set up at least one distinction
among Germans, for without a distinction there can be no antagonism,
and without an antagonism, no materials for political Capuchinian

Mr Heinzen therefore divides Germans into princes and subjects.

The 'narrow-minded' communists see not only the political distinction
of prince and subject, but also the social distinction of classes.

It is well known that, shortly after the July Revolution, the
victorious bourgeoisie, in its September laws, made "the incitement
of class against class," probably also out of 'humanity,' a criminal
offence, to which imprisonment and fines were attached. It is further
well known that the English bourgeois newspapers could not denounce
the Chartist leaders and Chartist writers more effectively than by
reproaching them with setting class against class. It is even
notorious that, in consequence of inciting class against class, German
writers are incarcerated in fortresses. Is not Mr Heinzen this time
talking the language of the French September laws, the English
bourgeois newspapers, and the German penal code?

But no. The well-meaning Mr Heinzen only fears that the communists
"are seeking to assure the princes a revolutionary Fontanelle." Thus
the Belgian liberals assure us that the radicals are in secret
alliance with the catholics; the French liberals assure us that the
democrats have an understanding with the legitimists. And the liberal
Mr Heinzen assures us that the communists have an understanding with
the princes.

As I once pointed out in the Franco-German Annuals, Germany has her
own Christian-Germanic plague. Her bourgeoisie was so retarded in its
development that it is beginning its struggle with absolute monarchy
and seeking to establish its political power at the moment when in all
developed countries the bourgeoisie is already engaged in the most
violent struggles with the working class, and when its political
illusions are already obsolete so far as the intellect of Europe is

In this country, where the political poverty of absolute monarchy
still exists with a whole appendage of decayed semi-feudal orders and
conditions, there exist on the other hand, partly in consequence of
the industrial development and Germany's dependence on the world
market, the antagonisms between the bourgeoisie and the working class,
and the struggle arising therefrom, an instance of which are the
workers' revolts in Silesia and Bohemia. The German bourgeoisie
therefore finds itself in a relation of antagonism to the proletariat
before it has yet constituted itself politically as a class. The
struggle among the subjects has broken out before ever princes and
nobles have been got rid of, in spite of all Hambach songs.

Mr Heinzen does not know how to explain these contradictory relations,
which of course are also reflected in German literature, except by
putting them on to his opponents' conscience and interpreting them as
the consequence of the counter-revolutionary activities of the

Meanwhile the German workers are quite aware that the absolute
monarchy does not and cannot hesitate one moment to greet them with a
whiff of grapeshot in the service of the bourgeoisie. Why then should
they prefer the direct rule of the bourgeoisie to the brutal
oppression of absolute government, with its semi-feudal retinue? The
workers know that the bourgeoisie must not only make them wider
concessions than absolute monarchy, but that in the interests of its
commerce and industry, the bourgeoisie must create against its will
the conditions for the unity of the workers, and the unity of the
workers is the first requisite for their victory. The workers know
that the abolition of bourgeois property relations is not brought
about by the maintenance of feudal property relations. They know their
own revolutionary movement can only be accelerated through the
revolutionary movement of the bourgeoisie against the feudal orders
and the absolute monarchy. They know that their own struggle with the
bourgeoisie can only break out on the day the bourgeoisie triumphs. In
spite of all, they do not share Mr Heinzen's middle-class illusions.
They can and must take part in the middle-class revolution as a
condition preliminary to the Labour revolution. But they cannot for a
moment regard it as their objective.

That the attitude of the workers is as above described, of this the
English Chartists have furnished us with a brilliant example in the
recent Anti-Corn Law League movement. Not for a moment did they
believe the lies and delusions of the middle-class radicals, not for a
moment did they abandon their struggle against the latter, but fully
conscious of what they were doing, the Chartists assisted their
enemies to triumph over the Tories, and the day after the abolition of
the Corn Laws, it was no longer Tories and Free Traders who faced each
other at the hustings, but Free Traders and Chartists. And they
captured seats in Parliament from these middle-class radicals.

Mr Heinzen understands the middle-class liberals just as little as he
understands the workers, however unconsciously he labours in their
service. He believes it necessary to repeat to them the old platitudes
anent German "laziness" and humility. But the honest man takes quite
seriously what are only servile phrases in the mouth of a Camphausen
or a Hansemann. The bourgeois gentry will laugh at this simplicity.
They know that the mob is bold and aggressive in revolutions.
Consequently, the bourgeois gentry try as far as possible to transform
the absolute monarchy into a middle-class monarchy by amicable means.

But absolute monarchy in Prussia, as formerly in England and France,
does not lend itself to peaceful transformation into a middle-class
monarchy. It does not gracefully abdicate. In addition to personal
prejudices, the princes are bound hand and foot by a whole civil,
military, and parsonic bureaucracy--constituent parts of absolute
monarchy which do not by any means desire to exchange their ruling
position for a serving position under the bourgeoisie.

On the other hand, the feudal orders hold aloof, as what is at stake
is their existence or non-existence, that is, property or
expropriation. It is clear that absolute monarchy, in spite of all the
servile homage of the bourgeoisie, perceives its true interest to lie
on the side of these orders.

As little, therefore, as the sweet persuasions of a Lally Tollendal, a
Mounier, a Malouet, or a Mirabeau could induce a Louis XVI. to cast in
his lot with the bourgeoisie, in opposition to the feudalists and the
remnants of absolute monarchy, just as little will the siren songs of
a Camphausen or a Hansemann convince Friedrich Wilhelm IV.

But Mr Heinzen has no concern either with the bourgeoisie or with the
proletariat in Germany. His party is the "party of humanity," that is
the honest and warmhearted enthusiasts who champion middle-class
interests under the disguise of "human" objects, without being clear
as to the connection of the idealistic phrase with its realistic

To his party, the party of man, or the crowd of humanity in Germany,
the State builder Karl Heinzen offers the "best republic," the best
republic devised by him, "the federal republic with social
institutions." Rousseau once sketched the best political world for the
Poles and Mably for the Corsicans. The great Genevese citizen has
found a still greater successor.

"I submit that just as a flower can only be made out of petals, so a
republic can only be composed of republican elements." A man who knows
how to make flowers out of petals, even if it is only a daisy, cannot
fail to devise the best republic, whatever an ill-natured world might

In spite of all slanderous tongues, the brave state builder takes the
example of the Charter of Republican North America. What seems
offensive to him, he brushes aside with his common sense. Thus he
accomplishes a revised edition--in _usum delphini_, that is for the
use and edification of "German humanity." The colossal picture of the
world devised by him he has in fact hung up with his own hand on the
highest summit of the Swiss Alps.

_Cacatum non est pictum_, hisses the voice of the "small" impenitent
snake. And the republican Ajax angrily lets the communistic Thersites
fall to the ground, and blurts out in a deep-throated voice the
fearful words: "You carry the ridiculous too far, Mr Engels!"

And really, Mr Engels? Do you not believe that the American federal
system is the best political form which statecraft has so far devised?
You shake your head? What? You deny that the American federal system
has ever been devised by statecraft at all? And that there are "best
political social forms" _in abstracto_? But that is the last straw.

You are shameless enough to point out to us that the honest German who
would benefit his true fatherland by conferring on it the North
American constitution, beautified and improved, resembles the idiotic
merchant who copied the ledgers of his rich rival, and imagined that
being in possession of this copy, he had also come into possession of
the coveted wealth.

Barbaroux, and other persons who had made much noise in the world,
were made shorter by a whole head because they happened to claim the
"American federal system" to be the "best political form." And thus it
will befall all other Goliaths to whom it may occur, in the midst of
any democratic revolution in Europe, and especially in still quite
feudal and dismembered Germany, to put the "American federal system"
in place of the one and indivisible republic and its levelling

The state-founding Hercules indeed does not copy slavishly the North
American federal republic. He decorates it with "social institutions";
he would regulate the property relations "according to rational
principles," and the seven great measures wherewith he would abolish
the old bourgeois society are by no means wretched flimsy recipes
collected from modern, objectionable communist and socialist

To the "Incas" and "Campe's books for children" the great Karl Heinzen
is indebted for his recipe for the "humanizing of society," just as he
is indebted for the latter pompous phrase not to the philosopher and
Pomeranian Ruge, but rather to a "Peruvian" grown grey in wisdom. And
Mr Engels calls all this arbitrarily-contrived, commonplace enthusiasm
for world improvement.

Take for instance any well-meaning citizen and ask him on his
conscience: What is the difficulty under which the existing property
relations labour? And the worthy man will place his index finger at
the tip of his nose, draw two deep breaths of thought, and then give
it out as his opinion, that it is a shame for many to possess
"nothing," not even the most absolute necessities, while others roll
in shameless millions, not only to the detriment of the propertyless
masses, but also to that of honest citizens. _Aurea mediocritas._
Golden mediocrity, the worthy member of the middle class will exclaim.
It is only extremes that should be avoided. What rational state
constitution would be compatible with these extremes, these highly
objectionable extremes?

And now take a look at the Heinzen "federal republic," with "social
institutions" and seven measures for the "humanizing of society."
There a minimum of property is assured to every citizen, below which
he cannot fall, and a maximum of property is prescribed which he must
not exceed. Has Mr Heinzen then not solved all difficulties inasmuch
as he has repeated in the form of State decrees and thereby realized
the pious desire of all worthy citizens, that none should have too
little and none too much?

And in the same equally simple and generous fashion Mr Heinzen solves
all the economic problems. He has regulated property according to
reasonable principles corresponding to honest cheapness.

And do not raise the objection that the "rational rules" of property
are just those "economic laws" on whose cold-blooded necessity all
cheap "measures," whether or not recommended by Incas and Campe's
books for children and held in great esteem by the most sturdy
patriots, must come to grief.

How unkind it is to raise economic objections against a man who,
unlike others, does not boast of his "studies of political economy,"
but has rather out of modesty managed to give the impression in all
his works, that he has still to make his first studies in political

Whereas private property is not a simple relation, or even an abstract
concept, a principle, but consists in the totality of middle-class
production relations--we are concerned here not with subordinate and
decaying, but with existing, middle-class private property--whereas
all these middle-class productive relations are class relations, a
connection which is obvious to every pupil of Adam Smith or
Ricardo--an alteration in these conditions can only be brought about
by an alteration of these classes in their reciprocal connection, and
an alteration in the position of classes is--a historical change, a
product of the total social activity, the product of a specific
"historical movement."

For example, in order to explain the abolition of middle-class
property relations, modern historians would have to describe the
movement in which the bourgeoisie progressed to the point where it had
developed its conditions of life far enough to be able to abolish the
whole of the feudal orders and the feudal mode of existence, and
consequently the feudal relations of production within which these
feudal orders had been producing. The abolition of feudal property
relations and the foundation of modern middle-class society was
therefore not the result of a certain action which proceeded from a
particular theoretical principle pressed to its logical conclusion.
The principles and theories which the writers of the bourgeoisie put
forward during the latter's struggle with feudalism were rather
nothing but the theoretical expression of the practical movement. How
this expression was more or less Utopian, dogmatic, or doctrinaire,
according as it related to a more or less developed phase of the real
movement can be clearly traced.


Just as the first critical moves in every science are necessarily
entangled in the assumptions of the science which they are intending
to combat, so Proudhon's work _Qu'est ce que la propriété?_ is a
criticism of political economy from the standpoint of political
economy. Since the criticism of political economy forms the chief
subject of interest, we need not here examine the legal section of the
book, which criticizes law from the standpoint of law. Proudhon's book
is therefore scientifically surpassed by the critical school of
political economy, even of political economy as conceived by Proudhon.
This work of criticism was only rendered possible by Proudhon himself,
just as Proudhon's criticism had as its antecedents the criticism of
the mercantile system by the physiocrats, that of the physiocrats by
Adam Smith, that of Adam Smith by Ricardo, as well as the labours of
Fourier and Saint-Simon.

All the developments of political economy have private property as
their major premise. This fundamental assumption is regarded by it as
an unassailable fact, which needs no demonstration, and about which it
only chances to speak casually, as M. Say naïvely confesses.

Now Proudhon subjects private property, the basis of political
economy, to a critical examination, which is in fact the first
decisive, ruthless, and at the same time scientific analysis. This
constitutes the great scientific progress which he made, a progress
which revolutionized political economy, and first rendered possible a
real science of political economy.

Proudhon's work _Qu'est ce que la propriété?_ has the same
significance for modern political economy as Siéyès' pamphlet: _Qu'est
ce que le tiers état?_ has for modern politics.

If Proudhon did not conceive the various forms of private property,
as, for example, wages, trade, value, price, money, etc., as such, but
used these forms of political economy as weapons against political
economy, this was quite in accordance with his whole standpoint, as
above described and historically justified.

Political economy, which accepts the relationships of private
property as human and reasonable relationships, moves in a perpetual
contradiction to its fundamental assumption, which is private
property, a contradiction analogous to that of theology, which
constantly gives a human interpretation to religious ideas, and
thereby constantly violates its fundamental assumption, which is the
supramundane character of religion. Thus in political economy wages
appear at the outset as labour's proportionate share in the product.
Wages and the profit of capital exist in the most friendly and
apparently human relations, alternately assisting each other.
Subsequently it transpired that they stand in the most hostile, in an
inverted, relationship towards each other. In the beginning value is
apparently determined on rational principles, by the costs of
production of an article and by its social utility. Subsequently it
transpires that value is a purely accidental determination, which does
not need to have any connection at all either with the costs of
production or with social utility. The magnitude of wages is in the
beginning determined by a free contract between the free worker and
the free capitalist. Subsequently it transpires that the worker is
compelled to let it be determined, just as the capitalist is compelled
to fix it as low as possible. Coercion takes the place of the freedom
of the contracting parties. The same observation applies to trade and
all the other relations of political economy. Political economists
occasionally have an intimation of these contradictions, the
development of which forms the principal content of their mutual
wrangling. When, however, they become fully aware of them, they
proceed to attack private property in one of its partial
manifestations, as the falsifier of wages which are rational in
themselves, that is, in the ideas they have formed about wages; or of
value that is rational in itself, or of commerce that is rational in
itself. Thus Adam Smith occasionally attacks the capitalists, Destutt
de Tracy attacks the money-changers, Simonde de Sismondi attacks the
factory system, Ricardo attacks landed property, and thus almost all
political economists attack the non-industrial capitalists who regard
property merely as consumable goods.

Sometimes, therefore, the political economists invest economic
conditions with a human semblance, that is, when they are attacking a
particular abuse, but at other times, which is mostly the case, they
interpret these conditions in their strict economic meaning, as
distinguished from human conditions. They reel unconsciously in this

Now Proudhon has made an end once for all of this unconsciousness. He
took seriously the human semblance given to economic conditions and
sharply confronted it with their inhuman reality. In all seriousness
he accepted the human gloss which the political economists had put
upon economic conditions, and sharply compared it with their inhuman
reality. He demanded that these conditions should be in reality what
they are in fancy. In other words, the ideas which have been formed of
them should be abandoned and their veritable inhumanity should be
acknowledged. He was therefore consistent in plainly representing
private property in its most universal aspect to be the falsifier of
economic relationships, and not this or that kind of private property,
to a partial degree, as did most of the other political economists. He
achieved everything that could be achieved by the criticism of
political economy from the standpoint of political economy.

All political economy hitherto has taken as its starting-point the
wealth which the movement of private property ostensibly creates for
the nations, in order to reach its conclusions in support of private

Proudhon starts out from the reverse side, which is sophistically
covered up in political economy, that is, from the poverty created by
the movement of private property, in order to reach his conclusions,
which are unfavourable to private poverty. The first criticism of
private property was naturally prompted by the phenomenon which
embodies its essence in the most striking and clamorous form, a form
which directly violates human feeling--by the phenomenon of poverty.

The critics of Proudhon cannot deny that Proudhon also perceives an
inner connection between the facts of poverty and of property, as he
proposes to abolish property on account of this connection, in order
to abolish poverty. Proudhon has done even more. He has demonstrated
in detail how the movement of capital creates poverty. The critics of
Proudhon, on the other hand, will not enter into such trivialities.
They perceive only that poverty and private property are opposites:
which is fairly obvious.

Proletariat and wealth are antitheses. As such they constitute a
whole; both are manifestations of the world of private property. The
question to be considered is the specific position which both occupy
in the antithesis. To describe them as two sides of a whole is not a
sufficient explanation. Private property as private property, as
wealth, is compelled to preserve its own existence, and along with it
that of its antithesis, the proletariat. Private property satisfied in
itself is the positive side of the antithesis. The proletariat, on the
other hand, is obliged, as proletariat, to abolish itself, and along
with it private property, its conditioned antithesis, which makes it
the proletariat.

It is a negative side of the antithesis, the internal source of
unrest, the disintegrated and disintegrating proletariat.

The possessing class and the proletarian class represent the same
human self-estrangement. But the former class feels perfectly
satisfied with this self-estrangement, knowing that in this
estrangement resides its own power, and possesses therein the
semblance of a human existence; the latter class feels itself to be
destroyed by the estrangement, perceives therein its impotence and the
reality of an inhuman existence.

Within the antithesis, therefore, the owner of private property is the
conservative, and the proletarian is the destructive party. From the
former proceeds the action of maintaining the antithesis, from the
latter the action of destroying it. From the point of view of its
national, economic movement, private property is, of course,
continually being driven towards its own dissolution, but only by an
unconscious development which is independent of it, and which exists
against its will, and is limited by the nature of things; only, that
is, by creating the proletariat as proletariat, poverty conscious of
its own physical and spiritual poverty, and demoralized humanity
conscious of its own demoralization and consequently striving against

The proletariat fulfils the judgment which private property by the
creation of the proletariat suspends over itself, just as it fulfils
the judgment which wage-labour suspends over itself in creating alien
riches and its own condemnation. If the proletariat triumphs, it does
not thereby become the absolute side of society, for it triumphs only
by abolishing itself and its opposite. In this way both the
proletariat and its conditioned opposite, private property, are done
away with.


The French Enlightenment of the eighteenth century, and especially of
French materialism, was not only a struggle against the existing
political institutions and against the existing religion and theology,
but equally an open and outspoken campaign against all metaphysics,
especially that of Descartes, Malebranche, Spinoza, and Leibnitz.
Metaphysics was confronted with philosophy, just as Feuerbach, in his
first decisive stand against Hegel, opposed sober philosophy to
drunken speculation. The metaphysics of the seventeenth century, which
was driven from the field by the French Enlightenment, and especially
by the French materialism, of the eighteenth century, experienced its
victorious and opulent restoration in the German philosophy, and
particularly in the speculative German philosophy, of the nineteenth

After Hegel had combined it in an ingenious manner with all subsequent
metaphysics and with German idealism, and founded a universal realm
of metaphysics, the attack on speculative metaphysics and on all
metaphysics was once again synonymous, as in the eighteenth century,
with an attack on theology. Metaphysics succumbed for good and all to
materialism, which itself was now perfected by the work of speculation
and coincided with humanism.

French and English socialism and communism represented the materialism
which coincided with humanism in the practical sphere, just as
Feuerbach represented it in the theoretical sphere.

There are two tendencies of French materialism, one of which derives
its origin from Descartes and the other from Locke. The latter is
pre-eminently an element in French culture and merges directly into
socialism. The former, viz., the mechanical materialism, is absorbed
in French natural science. The French materialism which derives
directly from Descartes does not concern us particularly, any more
than the French school of Newton and French natural science generally.

Only this much need be said. In his physics Descartes invested matter
with self-creative power, and he conceived mechanical movement to be
its vital act. He separated his physics completely from his
metaphysics. Within his physics matter is the only substance, the only
basis of being and perceiving.

Mechanical French materialism absorbed the physics of Descartes, while
rejecting his metaphysics. His pupils were anti-metaphysicians by
profession, that is to say, they were physicians.

This school commences with the doctor Leroy, and reaches its acme with
the doctor Cabanis, while the doctor Lamettrie is its centre.
Descartes was still living when Leroy transferred to the human soul
the Cartesian construction of animals, and explained the soul as a
mode of the body and ideas as mechanical movements, similarly to
Lamettrie in the eighteenth century. Leroy even believed that
Descartes had dissembled his real opinion. Descartes protested. At the
end of the eighteenth century Cabanis perfected Cartesian materialism
in a work entitled: _Rapport du physic et du moral de l'homme_.

Cartesian materialism exists in France even to this day. It had its
great success in mechanical natural science, with which Romanticism
will least of all be reproached.

The metaphysics of the seventeenth century, as specially represented
for France by Descartes, had materialism for its antagonist from its
hour of birth. In person this antagonist confronted Descartes in the
shape of Gassendi, the restorer of Epicurean materialism. French and
English materialism always remain in close relationship with
Democritus and Epicurus.

Cartesian metaphysics found another antagonist in the English
materialist Hobbes. Long after their death, Gassendi and Hobbes
triumphed over their opponent at the moment when the former reigned in
all the schools of France as the official power.

Voltaire once remarked that the indifference of Frenchmen in the
eighteenth century towards Jesuitical and Jansenist quarrels was
brought about less by philosophy than by Law's financial speculations.
Thus the overthrow of the metaphysics of the seventeenth century can
be explained from the materialistic theory of the eighteenth century
only in so far as this theoretical movement is itself explicable by
the practical shape of the French life of that time. This life was
directed to the immediate present, to worldly enjoyment and worldly
interests, to the secular world. It was inevitable that
anti-theological, anti-metaphysical, materialistic theories should
correspond to its anti-theological, anti-metaphysical, its
materialistic practice. In practice metaphysics had lost all credit.
Here we have only to indicate briefly the course of the theoretical

In the seventeenth century metaphysics had already been provided with
a positive, a profane content (_pace_ Descartes, Leibnitz etc.). It
made discoveries in mathematics, physics, and other definite sciences
which appeared to belong to it, but by the beginning of the eighteenth
century this semblance had been destroyed. The positive sciences had
broken away from it and mapped out their own territory. The whole
metaphysical realm consisted in nothing more than creatures of fancy
and heavenly things at the precise time when real beings and earthly
things were beginning to concentrate all interest upon themselves.
Metaphysics had become stale. Helvetius and Condillac were born in the
same year that Malebranche and Arnauld, the last great French
metaphysicians of the seventeenth century, died.

The man who theoretically destroyed the credit of the metaphysics of
the seventeenth century and all metaphysics generally was Pierre
Bayle. His weapon was scepticism, forged out of the magic formulas of
metaphysics itself. He took Cartesian metaphysics as his immediate
starting-point. Just as Feuerbach in combating speculative theology
was driven to combat speculative philosophy, because he perceived in
speculation the last support of theology, because he had to force the
theologians to retreat from fictitious science to crude, repugnant
faith, so religious doubt drove Bayle into doubts of the metaphysics
which supported this faith. Consequently he subjected metaphysics in
its entire historical evolution to criticism. He became its historian
in order to write the history of its death. Above all he refuted
Spinoza and Leibnitz.

Pierre Bayle not only prepared the way for the acceptance in France of
the materialism and philosophy of healthy common science through the
sceptical disintegration of metaphysics. He announced the atheistic
society which was soon to come into existence, inasmuch as a society
of avowed atheists could exist, as an atheist could be an honest man,
as man was not degraded by atheism, but by superstition and idolatry.

In the words of a French writer, Pierre Bayle was "the last
metaphysician in the sense of the seventeenth and the first
philosopher in the sense of the eighteenth century."

In addition to the negative refutation of the theology and metaphysics
of the seventeenth century, a positive, anti-metaphysical system was
required. A book was wanted which would systematize the practical
activities of that time and provide them with a theoretical
foundation. Locke's essay on the "Origin of the Human Understanding"
came as if summoned from beyond the Channel. It was greeted
enthusiastically as an anxiously awaited guest.

It may be asked: Is Locke perchance a pupil of Spinoza? We would
answer. Materialism is the native son of Great Britain. Already her
schoolman Duns Scotus asked "whether matter could not think?"

In order to work this miracle, he took refuge in God's omnipotence,
that is, he made theology itself preach materialism. Moreover, he was
a nominalist. Nominalism is found to be a chief ingredient among
English materialists, just as it is the first expression of
materialism generally.

The real progenitor of English materialism and of all modern
experimental science is Bacon. Natural science was regarded by him as
the true science, and physics as the principal part of natural
science. Anaxagoras and his homoiomeriæ, Democritus and his atoms, are
frequently quoted as his authorities. According to his doctrine, the
senses are infallible and the source of all knowledge. All science is
based upon experience and consists in subjecting the data furnished by
the senses to a rational method of investigation. Induction, analysis,
comparison, observation, experiment, are the chief instruments of such
a rational method. Among the qualities inherent in matter movement is
the first and foremost, not only in the form of mechanical and
mathematical movement, but even more as an impulse, a vital spirit, a
tension, as a qual (a torture)--to use an expression of Jacob
Bohme's--of matter.

In Bacon, as its first creator, materialism still conceals within
itself in an ingenuous manner the germs of a many-sided development.
On the one hand, the sensuous poetic glamour in which matter is bathed
entices the whole personality of man. On the other, the aphoristically
formulated doctrine swarms with theological inconsistencies.

In its further development, materialism becomes one-sided. Hobbes is
the man who systematizes Baconian materialism. Knowledge based upon
the senses loses its poetic bloom, and Becomes the abstract experience
of the mathematician. The physical movement is sacrificed to the
mechanical or mathematical; geometry is proclaimed as the chief
science. Materialism takes to misanthropy. In order to overcome
misanthropic, fleshless spiritualism on the latter's own ground,
materialism must mortify its own flesh and turn ascetic. It reappears
as an intellectual entity, but it also develops all the ruthless
consistency of the intellect.

Hobbes, as Bacon's continuator, argues that if the senses furnish men
with all knowledge, then concepts and ideas are nothing but phantoms
of the material world more or less divested of their sensual forms.
All philosophy can do is to give these phantoms names. One name may be
applied to several phantoms. There may even be names of names. It
would, however, imply a contradiction if, on the one hand, we
contended that all ideas had their origin in the world of senses, and,
on the other hand, that a word was worth more than a word; that
besides the individual beings known to us by our senses, there existed
also beings of a general nature. An immaterial substance is rather the
same absurdity as an immaterial body. Bodies, being, substance are but
different terms for the same reality. One cannot separate thought from
matter that thinks. It is the substratum of all changes. The word
infinite is meaningless unless it signifies the capacity of our minds
to perform an endless process of addition. As only material things are
perceptible and knowable, nothing can be known about the existence of

My own existence alone is certain. Every human passion is a mechanical
movement which has a beginning or an end. The objects of impulse are
what are called good. Man is subject to the same laws of Nature. Power
and freedom are identical.

Hobbes had systematized Bacon, without, however, providing any firmer
basis for the latter's fundamental principle, the origin of all
knowledge and ideas from the world of the senses.

It was Locke who established the principle of Bacon and Hobbes in his
Essay on the Human Understanding.

Just as Hobbes shattered the theistic prejudices of Baconian
materialism, so Collins, Dodwall, Coward, Hartley, Priestley, etc.
broke down the last theological bars which still obstructed Locke's
sensationalism. At least for materialists, theism became nothing more
than a convenient and easy-going way of getting rid of religion.

We have already noticed at what an opportune time Locke's work came to
the French. Locke had established the philosophy of _bon sens_, of
healthy common sense, that is, to express it in a roundabout way, that
there are no philosophers other than those of the understanding which
is based upon the healthy human senses.

Condillac, who was Locke's immediate pupil and French interpreter,
lost no time in turning the Lockeian sensationalism upon the
metaphysics of the seventeenth century. He contended that the French
had rightly spurned the latter as a clumsy product of the imagination
and theological prejudice.

He published a refutation of the systems of Descartes, Spinoza,
Leibnitz, and Malebranche. In his work: _L'essai sur l'origine des
connaissances humaines_, he developed Locke's ideas and contended that
not only the soul, but also the senses, not only the art of fashioning
ideas, but also the apparatus of sensual receptivity, are subjects of
experience and usage. Consequently, the entire development of man
depends upon education and external circumstances. Condillac was only
supplanted in the French schools by the eclectic philosophy.

The difference between French and English materialism is the
difference between the two nationalities. The French endowed English
materialism with wit, with flesh and blood, with eloquence. They
invested it with grace and gave it the temperament that was still
lacking. They civilized it.

In Helvetius, who likewise took Locke as his starting point,
materialism receives its proper French character. He applied it
immediately to social life. (Helvetius, _de l'homme_.) Sensual
qualities and egoism, enjoyment and enlightened self-interests are
the foundations of all morality.

The natural equality of human intelligences, the harmony between the
progress of reason and the progress of industry, the natural goodness
of mankind, the omnipotence of education are the principal factors in
this system.

The writings of Lamettrie exhibit the union of Cartesian and English
materialism. Lamettrie utilizes the physics of Descartes down to its
utmost detail. His _l'homme machine_ is a performance executed on the
model of the animal machine of Descartes. In Holbach's _Système de la
nature_, the section devoted to physics likewise consists of the
synthesis of English and French materialism, just as the section
devoted to morals is based essentially on the morality of Helvetius.
Robinet (_de la nature_), the French materialist who more than all the
others kept in touch with metaphysics, expressly founds himself on

Of Volney, Dupuis, Diderot, etc., we do not need to speak any more
than of the physiocrats, now that we have shown the double derivation
of French materialism from the physics of Descartes, Spinoza,
Malebranche and Leibnitz. This antagonism could only be realized by
Germans after they themselves had come into conflict with speculative

Just as Cartesian materialism branches into natural science, so the
other tendency of French materialism merges directly into socialism
and communism.

No special acuteness is required to perceive the necessary connection
of the original goodness and equally intelligent endowment of men, of
the omnipotence of experience, custom and education, the influence of
external circumstances on men, the extreme importance of industry, the
justification of enjoyment, etc., with communism and socialism.

If man receives all his impressions and forms all his conceptions from
the world of sense, and derives his experiences from the world of
sense, it follows that the empirical world ought to be so constructed
as to offer a wealth of truly human experiences. If enlightened
self-interest is the principle of all morality, it follows that the
private interests of men ought to coincide with human interests. If
man is not free in the materialistic sense, that is to say, is free,
not by reason of his negative strength to avoid this and that, but by
reason of his positive strength to assert his true individuality, then
man must not punish the crimes of individuals, but destroy the
anti-social breeding-places of crime, and afford to each person
sufficient social scope for the expression of his or her
individuality. If man is formed by circumstances, then it is only in
society that he develops his real nature, and the strength of his
nature must be measured, not with the strength of the isolated
individual, but with the strength of society.

These and similar sentences may be found almost word for word in the
writings even of the oldest French materialists. This is not the place
to criticize them. Significant of the socialist tendency of
materialism is Mandeville's (one of the older English pupils of Locke)
apology for vice. He shows that vice is indispensable and useful in
present-day society. This, however, was no justification for
present-day society.

The doctrines of French materialism form the starting-point of
Fourier. The followers of Babeuf were crude, uncivilized
materialists, but even fully-developed communism derived directly
from French materialism.

The latter, in the shape given it by Helvetius, returned to its
motherland, to England. On the morality of Helvetius, Bentham founded
his system of enlightened self-interest, just as Owen, proceeding from
Bentham's system, founded English communism. On being banished to
England, the Frenchman Cabet was stimulated by the communistic ideas
he found there, and returned to France, to become the most popular,
albeit most superficial, representative of communism here.


    Pourquoi la revolution d'Angleterre a-t-elle reussi. Discours
    sur l'histoire de la revolution d'Angleterre, Paris, 1850.[10]

The object of M. Guizot's pamphlet is to show why Louis Philippe and
Guizot's policy ought not to have been overthrown on the 24th February
1848, and how the reprehensible character of the French is to blame
for the fact that the July monarchy of 1830 ignominiously collapsed
after eighteen years of laborious existence and was not blessed with
the security of tenure enjoyed by the English monarchy since 1688.

From this pamphlet it may be seen how even the ablest individuals of
the _ancien régime_, how even people who in their own way are not
devoid of historical talent have been so completely thrown off their
balance by the fatal event of February (1848) as to have lost all
historical comprehension, even the comprehension of their former
behaviour. Instead of being impelled by the February Revolution to
study more closely the wholly different historical conditions, and the
wholly different positions occupied respectively by the various
classes of society in the French monarchy of 1830 and in the English
monarchy of 1688, M. Guizot gets rid of the entire difference between
the two situations in a few moral phrases and asserts in conclusion
that the policy overthrown on the 24th February "can alone master
revolutions, as it can sustain States."

The question which M. Guizot professes to answer may be precisely
formulated as follows: Why has middle-class society developed in
England under the form of a constitutional monarchy for a longer
period than in France?

The following passage serves to show the nature of M. Guizot's
acquaintance with the course of middle-class development in England:
"Under the reigns of George I and George II, public opinion veered in
another direction; foreign policy ceased to be its chief concern;
internal administration, the maintenance of peace, questions of
finance, of the colonies, of trade, the development and the struggles
of the parliamentary régime, became the dominant preoccupations of
the Government and of the public" (p. 168).

M. Guizot discovers only two factors in the reign of William III that
are worthy of mention: the maintenance of the equilibrium between
Parliament and the Crown, and the maintenance of the European
equilibrium by means of the struggle against Louis XIV. Under the
Hanoverian dynasty, public opinion suddenly "veered in another
direction," nobody knows how and why.

It is obvious that M. Guizot has applied the most banal platitudes of
French parliamentary debate to English history, believing he has
thereby explained it. Similarly, when he was Minister, M. Guizot
imagined he was balancing on his shoulders the pole of equilibrium
between Parliament and the Crown, whereas in reality he was only
jobbing the whole of the French State and the whole of French society
bit by bit to the Jewish financiers of the Paris Bourse.

M. Guizot does not think it worth the trouble to mention that the wars
against Louis XIV were purely wars of competition for the destruction
of French commerce and of French sea power; that under William III,
the rule of the financial middle class received its first sanction
through the establishment of the Bank of England, and the introduction
of the national debt; that a new upward impetus was given to the
manufacturing middle class through the consistent enforcement of the
protective fiscal system.

For him only political phrases have importance. He does not even
mention that under Queen Anne the ruling parties could only maintain
themselves and the constitutional monarchy by forcibly prolonging the
life of Parliament to seven years, thus almost entirely destroying
popular influence over the government.

Under the Hanoverian dynasty England had already progressed so far as
to be able to wage competitive war against France in the modern form.
England herself combated France only in America and the East Indies,
whilst on the Continent she was content to pay foreign princes like
Frederick II to wage war against France. When, therefore, foreign
politics assumed another aspect, M. Guizot says: "foreign policy
ceased to be a chief concern" and its place was taken by "the
maintenance of peace." The extent to which "the development and the
struggles of the parliamentary régime became the dominant
preoccupation of the Government and of the public" may be inferred
from the bribery stories about the Walpole ministry, which at any rate
bear a close resemblance to the scandals which came to light under M.

Why the English Revolution entered on a more prosperous career than
the French Revolution subsequently did is explained by M. Guizot from
two causes: first, from the fact that the English Revolution bore a
thoroughly religious character, and therefore broke in no way with the
traditions of the past, and secondly from the fact that from the
outset it did not wear a destructive, but a constructive aspect,
Parliament defending the old existing laws against the encroachments
of the Crown.

As regards the first point, M. Guizot forgets that the free thought of
the French Revolution, which makes him shudder so convulsively, was
imported into France from no other country than England. Locke was its
father, and in Shaftesbury and Bolingbroke it assumed that lively
form which later underwent such a brilliant development in France.

Thus we reach the strange result that the same free thought upon
which, according to M. Guizot, the French Revolution came to grief was
one of the most essential products of the religious English

With respect to the second point, M. Guizot forgets that at the outset
the French Revolution was just as conservative as the English, if not
more so. Absolutism, especially in the guise which it had latterly
assumed in France, was an innovation even there, and against this
innovation the parliaments arose and defended the old laws, the _us et
coutumes_ of the old estates-of-the-realm monarchy. And whereas the
first step of the French Revolution was the revival of the Estates
General which had been extinct since Henry IV and Louis XIII, the
English Revolution has no feature of an equally classical conservative
nature to exhibit.

According to M. Guizot, the chief result of the English Revolution was
this, that it was made impossible for the king to govern against the
will of Parliament and of the House of Commons in Parliament. The
entire revolution may be summed up by saying that at the commencement
both sides, the Crown and Parliament, overstepped their limits and
went too far until under William III they reached the proper
equilibrium and neutralized each other. That the subjection of the
monarchy was its subjection to the rule of a class M. Guizot deems it
superfluous to mention.

Consequently, he does not feel it incumbent on him to ascertain how
this class acquired the power necessary to make the Crown its servant.
He appears to think that the whole struggle between Charles I and
Parliament related to purely political privileges. For what purpose
Parliament and the class represented therein needed these privileges
we are not told. Neither does M. Guizot refer to the direct
interferences of Charles I with free competition, which rendered the
commerce and the trade of England increasingly impossible; or the
dependence upon Parliament into which Charles fell ever more
hopelessly, through his continuous financial distress, the more he
tried to defy Parliament. According to M. Guizot, therefore, the whole
Revolution is to be explained by the evil intent and religious
fanaticism of a few disturbers of the peace who could not content
themselves with a moderate freedom. M. Guizot has just as little
enlightenment to furnish with regard to the connection of the
religious movement with the development of middle-class society. Of
course, the Republic was likewise the mere work of a number of
ambitious, fanatical, and malevolent spirits. That simultaneously
efforts were being made to introduce the Republic in Lisbon, Naples,
and Messina, as in England, under the influence of the Dutch example,
is a fact which is not mentioned at all.

Although M. Guizot never loses sight of the French Revolution, it does
not occur to him that the transition from absolute to constitutional
monarchy is everywhere effected only after violent struggles and after
passing through the stage of the Republic, and that even then, the old
dynasty, being useless, must give way to a usurping collateral branch.
Consequently, he has nothing but the most trivial commonplaces to
utter respecting the overthrow of the English restored monarchy. He
does not even cite the proximate causes: the fears entertained by the
great new landowners, who had been created by the Reformation, at the
prospect of restoration of Catholicism, when they would have been
obliged to surrender all the former Church property which had been
stolen, which meant that the ownership of seven-tenths of the entire
soil of England would have changed hands; the horror of the trading
and industrial middle class at Catholicism, which by no means suited
its commerce; the nonchalance with which the Stuarts had sold, for
their own advantage and that of the Court nobility, the whole of
English industry and commerce, that is, had sold their own country, to
the Government of France, which was then maintaining a very dangerous,
and in many respects, successful competition with the English.

As M. Guizot everywhere leaves out the most important factors, there
is nothing for him to do but to present an extremely inadequate and
banal narration of merely political events.

The great riddle for M. Guizot, which he can only solve by pointing to
the superior intelligence of the English, the riddle of the
conservative character of the English Revolution, is explained by the
continuous alliance which united the middle class with the largest
section of the great landowners, an alliance that essentially
distinguishes the English Revolution from the French Revolution, which
destroyed large landed property by parcelling out the soil. This class
of large landowners, which had originated under Henry VIII, unlike the
French feudal land-ownership in 1789, did not find itself in conflict
but rather in complete harmony with the conditions of life of the
bourgeoisie. Its land-ownership, in fact, was not feudal, but middle
class. On the one hand, it placed at the disposal of the middle class
the necessary population to carry on manufactures, and on the other
hand, it was able to impart to agriculture a development which
corresponded to the state of industry and of commerce. Hence its
common interests with the middle class, hence its alliance with the

With the consolidation of the constitutional monarchy in England,
English history comes to a full stop, as far as M. Guizot is
concerned. All that follows is for him confined to a pleasant sea-saw
between Tories and Whigs, and this means the great debate between M.
Guizot and M. Thiers.

In reality, however, the colossal development and transformation of
commercial society in England began with the consolidation of the
English monarchy. Where M. Guizot sees only soft repose and idyllic
peace, the most violent conflicts, the most drastic revolutions, were
in reality developing. First of all, under the constitutional monarchy
manufactures underwent an expansion hitherto undreamed of, in order
then to make way for the great industry, the steam-engine, and the
gigantic factories. Whole classes of the population disappeared, new
classes took their place, with new conditions of life and new needs. A
large new middle class emerged; while the old bourgeoisie fought the
French Revolution, the new captured the world market. It became so
all-powerful that even before the Reform Act placed political power
directly in its hands, it had compelled its opponents to legislate
almost solely in its interests and according to its needs. It captured
direct representation in Parliament and utilized it for the
destruction of the last vestiges of real power which remained to
landed property. Lastly, it is at this moment engaged in razing to the
ground the splendid structure of the English constitution before
which M. Guizot stands in admiration.

And while M. Guizot congratulates the English that among them the
noxious growths of French social life, republicanism and socialism,
have not undermined the foundation pillars of the unique all-blessing
monarchy, the class antagonisms in English society have been
developing to a point that is without example in any other country. A
middle class without rival in wealth and productive forces confronts a
proletariat which is likewise without rival in power and
concentration. The tribute which M. Guizot pays to England finally
resolves itself into this: that there under the protection of the
constitutional monarchy the elements making for social revolution have
developed to a far greater extent than in all the other countries of
the world put together.

When the threads of English development get entangled in a knot, which
he seemingly can no longer cut by more political phrases, M. Guizot
takes refuge in religious phrases, in the armed intervention of God.
Thus the spirit of God suddenly comes over the Army and prevents
Cromwell from proclaiming himself king, etc. M. Guizot saves himself
from his conscience through God, and from the profane public through
his style.

In fact, it is not merely a case of _les rois s'en vont_, but also of
_les capacités de la bourgeoisie s'en vont_.


[10] Why the English Revolution was successful. A lecture on the
history of the English Revolution, Paris, 1850.

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