The Communist Manifesto | Study Guide

Karl Marx

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The Communist Manifesto | Introduction | Summary



The Manifesto of the Communist Party (The Communist Manifesto's original title) begins, "A specter is haunting Europe—the specter of Communism." Although many in politics bandy about the term "communism" as an insult, few know what communism is or stands for. It is time to clear the air and for communists to make their views known. The Manifesto represents the open face of communists, representing numerous European countries, who met in London and enumerated their positions and ideas.


Although brief, the introduction establishes the very vocal and visible presence of the Communist League as a distinct threat to the established order. Influential European leaders recognize the movement, and although they regard it with disdain, they would prefer it not exist at all. The mention of spies indicates that league activities are likely being monitored, infiltration may be taking place, and police are receiving information about membership and actions. That the document is to be published in six languages indicates it will be available in industrial European nations—England, France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, and Denmark—with a sizable working class and active communist groups.

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