Great Economists Since Petty and Boisguilbert
Edited by Gilbert Faccarello and Heinz D. Kurz
Life and Writings The formative years Karl Marx was born on 5 May 1818 the eldest son of Heinrich and Henriette Marx in the provincial town of Trier in the Rhineland, where his father practised as a lawyer. On his father’s side Karl was descended from a Jewish family with a long-standing tradition of rabbis. But his father Herschel (or, since 1814, Heinrich) Mordechai had converted to Protestantism in 1816 in order to escape the Prussian restrictions against the Jews, and he also had Karl and his six brothers and sisters baptized as Protestants. Heinrich Marx was a cultured man, who had great admiration for Leibniz, Lessing, and Kant, and raised his children as liberal and law-abiding Protestants. His wife Henriette, née Pressburg, was the daughter of a Jewish merchant from Nijmegen in the Netherlands. The person who exerted the most important intellectual influence on the young Karl, apart from his father, was Johann Ludwig von Westphalen, a high-ranking civil servant, who treated the talented young neighbour’s boy and schoolmate of his son Edgar as an equal partner in discussions on literary and philosophical themes. While his father acquainted him with the German and French enlightenment philosophers, Karl would learn about Homer, Shakespeare and the Romantics from his future father-in-law. Presumably, it was also Baron von Westphalen who introduced him to the ideas of Henri de Saint-Simon, in which he took a keen interest himself. Until his twelfth year, Karl was educated privately by his father and the local...
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