Skip to main content Skip to Search Box

Definition: Engels, Friedrich from Philip's Encyclopedia

German political philosopher. Engels and Marx formulated the theory of dialectical materialism and co-wrote the Communist Manifesto (1848). Engels' materialist reworking of Hegel is most evident in Anti-Dühring (1878) and Socialism, Utopian and Scientific (1882). From 1870 until Marx's death in 1883, Engels helped financially with Marx's research and continued to assist him with his writings, particularly Das Kapital. His works include Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844 (1845).

Summary Article: Engels, Friedrich
From The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

German social and political philosopher, a friend of, and collaborator with, Karl Marx on The Communist Manifesto (1848) and other key works. His later interpretations of Marxism, and his own philosophical and historical studies such as Origins of the Family, Private Property, and the State (1884) (which linked patriarchy with the development of private property), developed such concepts as historical materialism. His use of positivism and Darwinian ideas gave Marxism a scientific and deterministic flavour which was to influence Soviet thinking.

In 1842 Engels's father sent him to work in the cotton factory owned by his family in Manchester, England, where he became involved with Chartism. In 1844 his lifelong friendship with Karl Marx began, and together they worked out the materialist interpretation of history and in 1847–48 wrote the Communist Manifesto. Returning to Germany during the 1848–49 revolution, Engels worked with Marx on the Neue Rheinische Zeitung/New Rhineland Newspaper and fought on the barricades in Baden. After the defeat of the revolution he returned to Manchester, and for the rest of his life largely supported the Marx family.

Engels's first book was The Condition of the Working Classes in England (1845). He summed up the lessons of 1848 in The Peasants' War in Germany (1850) and Revolution and Counter-Revolution in Germany (1851). After Marx's death Engels was largely responsible for the wider dissemination of his ideas; he edited the second and third volumes of Marx's Das Kapital (1885 and 1894). Although Engels himself regarded his ideas as identical with those of Marx, discrepancies between their works are the basis of many Marxist debates.


Engels, Friedrich


Engels, Friedrich

Marx and Engels Communist Manifesto

© RM, 2018. All rights reserved.

Related Articles

Full text Article Engels, Friedrich
The Penguin Dictionary of Sociology

(1820-95) A German-born industrialist whose family partly owned a textile business in Manchester, Engels spent most of his adult life working...

Full text Article Engels, Friedrich (1820-1895)
Cambridge Dictionary of Sociology

An interpreter, collaborator, and popularizer of Karl Marx . Born in Barmen, Germany, he went to Britain to manage the family factory in...

Full text Article Engels, Friedrich (1820 - 1895)
The Blackwell Dictionary of Sociology

A German-born British industrialist and socialist, Engels was a collaborator, friend, and financial supporter of Karl Marx and...

See more from Credo