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Theory of

Concept of History.


• Early Life:

Karl Heinrich Marx was born on 5th of May 1818, in Trier, Rhine Province, Prussia
(Germany) and died on 14th of March 1883, in London.
Marx is typically cited as one of the principal architects of modern social science.
His work in economic laid the basis for much of the current understanding of labor and
its relation to capital.

Marx was educated from 1830 – 1835 at a high school in Trier.
In 1836, he was enrolled at the University of Berlin to study Law and Philosophy.

Karl Marx was the oldest surviving boy out of nine children.
His Father, Heinroch was a successful lawyer; his mother Henrietta was from Holland.
Both of his parents were Jewish, but a year before Marx was born his father got
baptized; Marx got baptized when he was 6 years old.
In June 1843 Marx, after an engagement of 7 years, married Jenny Von Westphalen,
who was an attractive and much admired woman; 4 years older than Marx and came
from a family of military and administrative distinctions.

4 months after their marriage the young couple moved to Paris, which was then the center of
socialist and communist thought.

There, Marx first became a revolutionary and a communist and began to associate communist
societies of French and German workingmen.
For these reasons he was expelled from Paris and went to London which was to be his home for
the rest of his life.

From 1850 – 1864 Marx lived in a material misery with his funds and job gone.
The family was evicted and their belongings were seized.
 Several of his children died out of illness and starvation.
 Following the death of his wife, Marx developed a lung disease that
kept him ill heath for the last 15 months of his life. As a result, he died
at the age of 64 in 1883.
Materialist Conception Of History


 Marx lived during Industrial Capitalism poor condition of the working class,
economic inequality, excessive exploitation prevailed in the society.
 Marx believed that by observing the historical patterns of societal development, the
future of the society could be predicted.
 Since his approach has always been scientific in nature, he wanted to see if there
was any identifiable law that which explains the development of society.
 He claims that he found the answer through his theory of History, also known as
 It is important to shed some light on the difference between an idealist and a
materialist and the term dialectics before explaining the theory in detail
They believe that the world around us is nothing but a reflection of ideas and concepts
and hence Materialism is just an imperfect image of the ideas.

Their belief is the right opposite; they believe that what is real is the material world and
the ideas are the reflection of it. First comes the world then the ideas, as they say.
Karl Marx was a materialist.

It is a theory to explain change. Progress or development is the result of struggle between
two or more contradictory forces.

According to Marx there are 3 stages of societal development:

Stage A (Thesis) (Status-quo)
with some contradictions and limitations;

then struggle happens:

Stage B (Anti-Thesis) (Reaction Stage)

with less contradictions and limitations

this stage is the reaction of the struggle and limitations.

Stage C (Synthesis) (Progress/development)

with even less contradictions and limitations.


 Marx believed that a long term and influential method of

domination used over working class is by controlling their thoughts,
beliefs and ideas. This is done through economic base which

 This structure justifies the division of labor, class difference, inequality

of wealth, status and power.

 Laws are created, religion is taught, economic distribution is used to

justify the superiority of the class of haves over have-nots.

 Karl Marx’s analysis of history is based on his distinction between the means
of production (Raw materials, Labor and technology) and the social
relationship of production.

 Social Relationship is the relationship between the class of haves and the
class of have-nots. Who can acquire the means of production …

 Together they comprise of the MODE OF PRODUCTION.

 According to Marx, the mode of production has evolved over time and
has gone through the following stages :

 Asiatic Mode of Production: The concept of private property did not exist and
the properties were owned by the community as a whole. This concept is also
known as ‘primitive communism’.

 Ancient Mode of Production: According to Marx every History had its end
point, so primitive communism was to go and slavery came into being. People
who had physical, political and material strength had authority over others. This is
where the concept of private property emerged.

 Feudal Mode of Production: Two Classes – the feudal lords and serfs were
formed at this stage. Lords owned the land and their job was to lease the
land and employ agricultural labor. The owners who were leased had to
pay taxes and the labor was given wages. Marx believed that this stage
was to exploitative in nature as the labor was not paid its due.
Stages of Mode of Production


 Marx was very much bothered about this stage as this represented the
most heinous and migration was found from rural to urban areas.
 Those who worked in agricultural lands, started working in industries.
 2 classes – the working class (proletariat) and the bourgeoisie were
formed at this stage.
 The primary issue that Marx was concerned about at this stage was the
concept of ‘surplus value’.
 It arises from the fact that the value of the commodities produced by the
worker is greater than the value of his/her own labor value.
Stages of Mode of Production
 The Capitalists can sell the commodities for a greater value than
that given to the workers in shape of wages.

 Surplus Value in other words, is the unpaid labor of the working class.
Future Predicted By Marx

 Marx believed that socialism is inevitable as the gap between the

Proletariat and Bourgeoisie will increase so much that the working
classes will rise up in revolution and overthrow the elite.

 He believed that will create the dictatorship of the Proletariat and a

class-less society.

 “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his

needs will be created.” (Karl Marx)