Compare and contrast the Communist Manifesto by Marx and What Is To Be Done by Lenin.

Essay by esimpsonCollege, UndergraduateA+, December 2004

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The Communist Manifesto was written by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in 1848. During this time, many intellectuals were examining Europe's capitalist system and the effect that industrialization had on the working class. Marx was not the creator of the socialist movement. While attending the University of Berlin, Marx studied the works of Saint-Simon, Fourier, and Cabet and he found their principles too idealistic. Marx began using history, economics and science to create the "foundations of scientific socialism." In 1847, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels both joined the Communist League. Together, Marx and Engels wrote The Communist Manifesto to depict the League's agenda.

In The Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels explained that history is made up of class struggles. The authors believed the struggles arose between the "oppressor and [the] oppressed." Marx and Engels stated that each struggle ended in either a radical reconstruction of society or in the destruction of the revolting class.

The writers go on to illustrate that there are "two great classes directly facing each other - bourgeoisie and proletariat." The bourgeoisie represented the industrial millionaires while the proletariat represented the working class.

Marx and Engels also believed that the class struggle in Europe during the Nineteenth Century was unique. The writers explained that the class struggle had been simplified. In earlier times, society was broken into several different classes. Now there were two, completely opposite classes representing Nineteenth Century Europe. Marx and Engels explained the cause of society's division into two classes. The men believed that the giant increase in free trade had resulted in this two-sided class struggle. Marx and Engels explained that free trade caused the "naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation" of the proletariat.

In The Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels described the creation of the modern bourgeoisie. "From the serfs...