Friedrich Engels

Friedrich Engels (frē´drĬkh ĕng´əls), 1820–95, German socialist; with Karl Marx, one of the founders of modern Communism (see communism). The son of a wealthy Rhenish textile manufacturer, Engels took (1842) a position in a factory near Manchester, England, in which his father had an interest, where he saw child labor and other examples of the exploitation of workers. In 1844, while passing through Paris, he met Marx, and their lifelong association began. His experiences in Manchester led to Engels's first major book, The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844 (1845, tr. 1887), which attracted wide attention. From 1845 to 1850 he was active in Germany, France, and Belgium, organizing revolutionary movements and collaborating with Marx on several works, notably the Communist Manifesto (1848). The failure of the revolutions of 1848 caused his return (1850) to England, where he lived the rest of his life. He was a successful businessman, and from his income he enabled Marx to devote his life to research and writing.

Engels played a leading role in the First International and the Second International. After Marx's death, Engels edited the second and third volumes of Das Kapital from Marx's drafts and notes. The intimate intellectual relationship between Marx and Engels leaves little doubt that there was complete harmony of thought between them, although critics have sometimes questioned their full agreement. Marx's personality has overshadowed that of Engels, but the influence of Engels on the theories of Marxism, and particularly on the elaboration of dialectical materialism, can scarcely be overestimated. Engels's Anti-Dühring (1878, tr. 1934) and The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State (1884, tr. 1902) rank among the fundamental books in Communist literature and profoundly influenced Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. Among his other works is The Peasant War in Germany (tr. 1926).

See selected correspondence with Marx, ed. by D. Torr (1942); the collected works of Marx and Engels (50 vol., 1975–); his Socialism, Utopian and Scientific (1883, tr. 1892) and Dialectics of Nature (1925, tr. 1940); R. C. Tucker, ed., The Marx-Engels Reader (1972); biographies by G. Mayer (1936, repr. 1969) and T. Hunt (2009); S. Marcus, Engels, Manchester and the Working Class (1974); J. Sayers et al., ed., Engels Revisited: New Feminist Perspectives (1987); W. O. Henderson, Marx and Engels and the English Workers and Other Essays (1989).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Friedrich Engels: Selected full-text books and articles

Engels: A Very Short Introduction By Terrell Carver Oxford University Press, 2003
Lieutenants: The Evolution of Political Styles By Michael Maher Praeger, 1990
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 5 "Friedrich Engels"
The Marx-Engels Correspondence: The Personal Letters, 1844-1877 By Friedrich Engels; Karl Marx; Fritz J. Raddatz; Ewald Osers Weidenfeld and Nicolson Ltd, 1981
On Historical Materialism By Frederick Engels International Publishers, 1940
The Condition of the Working-Class in England in 1844, with Preface Written in 1892 By Frederick Engels; Florence Kelley Wischnewetzky George Allen & Unwin, 1926
The Peasant War in Germany By Frederich Engels International Publishers, 1926
FREE! The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State By Frederick Engels; Ernest Untermann Charles H. Kerr, 1902
The Political Ideas of Marx and Engels By Richard N. Hunt University of Pittsburgh Press, vol.1, 1974
Socialism Unbound By Stephen Eric Bronner Westview Press, 2001 (2nd edition)
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 1 "The Democratic Legacy of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels"
Nationalism and the International Labor Movement: The Idea of the Nation in Socialist and Anarchist Theory By Michael Forman Pennsylvania State University Press, 1998
Librarian’s tip: "The Red Republicans: Marx and Engels" begins on p. 41
Friedrich Engels and Marx's Critique of Political Economy By Smith, Cyril Capital & Class, No. 62, Summer 1997
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Marxism and the Leap to the Kingdom of Freedom: The Rise and Fall of the Communist Utopia By Andrzej Walicki Stanford University Press, 1995
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 2 "Engels and 'Scientific Socialism'"
Fundamental Problems of Marxism By George V. Plekhanov International Publishers, 1969
Librarian’s tip: Chap. I "Philosophical Writings of Marx and Engels"
The Communist Manifesto By Spalding, Roger History Review, September 2000
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