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Friedrich Engels (1820-1895)Engels comes from a wealthy Prussian manufacturing family (what is today Wuppertal Germany). His father owned one of the largest textile manufacturing firms in Europe, with factories centered in Manchester and Prussia. His father was a political conservative and his family was deeply pious and religious and as a result, Engels radical political views and his philosophical leanings were a constant stress and worry on his family throughout his life. His father continuously employed the young Engels in his mills as a child such that his son might be groomed to one day take over the family business. Constantly going against his families expectations, Engels was continuously drawn into radical revolutionary politics from his teens onwards, driven by a sense of the poverty and immiseration createdby industrialization. In adolescence he attended college and briefly joined the Prussian army, during which time he also began a career in journalism. When 22 his parents sent him to England and during histravels he met Karl Marx for the first time. In Manchester Engels worked at his father’s factory while he explored the impoverished areas of Manchester in his spare time. Such explorations led the young Engels to begin writing a radical ethnography about the living conditions of the proletariat within industrial capital – a work published as his first book when he was only 25 years old. As he grew older Engels continued his political and journalistic efforts, working with trade unions, pursuing journalism on the conditions and status of labor, while trying to theoretically understand the relationship between economics and forms of life. After Manchester, Engels travelled to Paris where he met the recently exiled Marx with whom he had been corresponding. Together they began a lifelong friendship that would bind the two men for the next forty years. Influencing Marx as to the importance of the working class the two immediately began collaborating in various manners, writing and editing pamphlets, undertaking journalistic endeavors, writing philosophical, political, and economic tracts, and engaging in revolutionary activities – trying to organize laborers, forming unions and leagues, and partaking in the failed European revolutions of 1848. Engels would go on and serve as a second father to Marx’s family, and he financially supported Marx for the majority of the latter’s adult life. Engels was single and a Don Juan off sorts for the majority of his life, having decried marriage as a bourgeoisie institution, he preached for open relationships and sexual parity. Engels was a vivacious character, passionate, exuberant, a lover of drink and a good time, and in general he was laid back, 45
funny, good looking, courageous, and an intelligent individual. He continued to look after Marx’s family after Karl passed, and he even claimed Marx’s illegitimate child as his own to save his friend embarrassment. An intellectual giant in his own right, Engels saw his service to Marx as his recognition of