How does Marxism formed the foundation of understanding the 18th and 19th century

Marx presents an interpretation of the structure, functioning and progression of the capitalist society through various stages. Marx outlines the Asiatic, the feudal and the capitalist as the major modes of production in the progress of human society. 

Karl Marx was the most influential socialist thinker on development in the 19th and 20th centuries.  Marx impacted everyone. He influenced people in less developed countries to people in most developed countries. The writing of Karl Marx influenced a large number of intellectual as well as common people. This resulted in a proletarian revolutionin many countries like Russia, China, Cuba etc. This challenged the Capitalist hegemony and appeared as if the whole world will turn red.  But in the meantime, many problems cropped up in the Socialist system resulting in the collapse of Soviet Union in1991.


Marx’s ideas of development are best understood in terms of his analysis and interpretation of the  capitalist society, its evolution, structure and functioning. As a prolific writer, Marx has touched upon all these issues in several of his writings, especially in the Communist Manifesto and The Capital.   Marxist labour activists in the 1900s received much of their literature including not only Marx and Engels but also others. In 1968, an essay named ‘The Making of the English Working Class’was published by E.P. Thomson and it created chaos as weavers and labourers were not the regular subjects. Soon the book became a sensation as it lashes, out at capitalists’ policies.

19th Century and Marx

19th century gave birth to English novel and it became a mode of storytelling which for the first time looked at the working class. D.H. Lawrence, Raymond Williams are some other vital writers, who focused on the working class rather than the elites. The other factor which could be expected to determine Marxist influence was the appeal of Marxism to middle-class intellectuals. Marx ideas became the doctrine inspiring the labour socialism movements of most of Europe. The expansion of labour and socialist movement associated with the name of Karl Marx inevitably spread the influence of his theories  aroundthe world especially Europe. His ideas were equally welcomed from China to Peru, mainly via Lenin and the Russian revolution and he became all over the world.

Also, Karl Marx was one of the first thinkers to draw sharp attention to the highly deleterious effects of caste on Indian Society. In his famous essay on ‘The Future Results of British in India’, Marx characterized the Indian Castes as ‘ the most decisive impediment to India’s progress and power’.

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