Sociology Index

Friedrich Engels

Among distinguished sociologists, Friedrich Engels was a German-English social scientist and father of Marxist theory, along with Karl Marx. The Condition of the Working Class in England (1845), was based on personal observations and research, a description of working-class life in industrializing England. In 1848 Friedrich Engels co-authored The Communist Manifesto (1848) with Karl Marx, and also helped Marx financially to do research and write Das Kapital. The Communist League commissioned Marx and Engels to write a pamphlet explaining the principles of communism. This became The Manifesto of the Communist Party, better known as the Communist Manifesto. It was first published on 21 February 1848 and ends with the famous phrase: "Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletariat have nothing to lose but their chains."

Friedrich Engels organized Marx's notes on the "Theories of Surplus Value" published as the "fourth volume" of Capital. Friedrich Engels' and Marx also jointly wrote The Holy Family (1845) and The German Ideology (1845). Friedrich Engels laid the foundations of dialectical materialism in Anti-Duhring (1877-8) and Dialectics of Nature (I952). Like Charles Darwin, he believed that social development followed evolutionary principles. Friedrich Engels developed Marxism on a scientific basis, natural science being conceived as both materialistic and following dialectical laws. The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State condemns of women's subjugation and association of patriarchy with private property is discredited.

Engels wrote his first economic work, entitled "Outline of a Critique of Political Economy." Engels sent the article to Paris, where Marx published it in the Deutsch–Französische Jahrbücher in 1844. The book, The Condition of the Working Class in England (1845) was published in German in 1845. Engels described the "grim future of capitalism and the industrial age", noting the details of the squalor in which the working people lived. The book was later published in English in 1887.