The Communist Manifesto | Study Guide

Karl Marx

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The Communist Manifesto | Glossary


alienation: (n) an idea from Marxist philosophy that workers are alienated, or distanced, from the products they make because they produce them for a wage and do not own them

bourgeoisie: (n) social class consisting of the owners of wealth, particularly through means of production; industrialists, capitalists

burgess: (n) an office or position in a feudal society that comes with certain freedoms and rights, often including political representation or the ability to hold state office

burgher: (n) a prosperous middle-class urban merchant or person in business

class struggle: (n) the conflict for political supremacy involving one social class against another, as seen throughout history in the example of slaves versus masters or peasants versus lords. In the modern period, the class struggle is the conflict between workers and capitalists, proletariat and bourgeoisie.

Communist League: (n) a revolutionary socialist party based in Europe in the mid-19th century, and the organization that commissioned the writing of The Communist Manifesto

crisis of overproduction: (n) the economic depression resulting from producing too much goods and saturating a given market. Causing curtailed production and lost jobs, the crisis ends in a market collapse and economic paralysis.

critical-utopian socialism: (n) also called utopian socialism, the brand of socialism that seeks an end to capitalism through the reconciliation of workers and capitalists without a violent revolutionary period

Enlightenment: (n) the primarily 18th-century intellectual movement that advocated rational inquiry, the scientific method, and individual rights

Hegelianism: (n) the philosophy of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, emphasizing a three-fold concept: thesis, antithesis, and syntheses, with a tension between first two

historical materialism: (n) the philosophy that material factors in society, such as class and economics, are the driving forces of history

middle class: (n) in Marxist terms, the class between aristocrats and commoners in the feudal era—the group that would become the bourgeoisie (or the class between upper bourgeoisie and proletariat, such as the petty-bourgeoisie) in the period of industrial capitalism

proletariat: (n) the working class, particularly urban industrial wage workers

social democrats: (n) European parliamentary party members seeking improved working and living conditions for workers under capitalism

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