Who was he: Friedrich (Frederick) Engels was a German industrialist, social scientist, author, political theorist, philosopher and one of the founding fathers of communist theory, together with Karl Marx. When it came to purging rival political organizations, Engels was a ruthless tactician and a brutal ideologue. He believed in literature, culture, art and music as an open forum and said he was indebted to German philosophy because of its impact on his intellectual development.
Background: Friedrich Engels was born in Barmen, Germany on November 28th, 1820. Engels dropped out of high school due to family circumstances and at 18, he went to work as a non-salaried office clerk at a commercial house in Bremen. While there, Engels read the philosophy of Hegel, the dominant philosophy of the time.
Engels moved to Berlin and joined the Prussian military as a member of the Household Artillery in 1841. While in Berlin, Engels attended university lectures and began to associate with groups of young Hegelians. He published articles in the Rheinische Zeitung as Anonymous that exposed the working and living conditions workers at the factories had to endure.
In 1842, when Engels was 22, he was sent to work at a sewing mill in Manchester, England by his parents in the hopes that Friedrich would amend his way of thinking. Before he left, Engels stopped in at the Rheinische Zeitung and met Karl Marx, editor, for the first time. In Manchester, Engels met Mary Burns and started a relationship with her. They never married, as they were both against the institution, finding it to be unnatural and unjust.
Burns was also Engels' tour guide while in Manchester, showing him the worst sections of town for Engels' research. He published his first economic work in Manchester, sent it to Marx in Paris, where it was published in the Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher.
Engels decided to return to Germany in 1844, but stopped off in Paris where he once again met Karl Marx. The two became close friends, and Engels stayed in Paris to help Marx write his book, The Holy Family.
Engles then went back to Barmen, Germany, and made contact with the socialists to raise money for Marx's publications in Brussels. In April 1845, Engels moved to Brussels to help Marx work on his book, German Ideology. From 1845 to 1848, Marx and Engels lived in Brussels and spent their time organizing the German workers. They joined Brussels' underground German Communist League, where Engels and Marx were commissioned to write a pamphlet explaining Communist principles, a work better known as the Communist Manifesto.
The French Revolution of 1848 caused Marx and Engels to return to Prussia, where they settled in Cologne. While there, they created and edited the publication Neue Rheinische Zeitung. The newspaper, which chronicled the French Revolution and war for independence, was suppressed in June 1849. After the coup, Marx lost Prussian citizenship and fled to London but Engels continued in Prussia, joining an armed uprising. The uprising was crushed and Engels escaped to Switzerland and eventually England. Engels chronicled the Prussian military campaign and titled it The Campaign for the German Imperial Constitution.
Back in England, Engels re-entered the company in which his father held shares as a way to financially support Marx while he worked on Das Kapital. The second time living in England, Engels was watched by the secret police and he spread his official and unofficial homes about Manchester to confuse the police. Here Engels wrote The Peasant War in Germany.
Karl Marx and Engels worked together until Marx's death. Engels continued to edit Das Kapital, as well as argue that men invented marriage as a means to control women so that their offspring would inherit their wealth.
Friedrich Engels died of throat cancer in 1895.