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1852 publication in Die Revolution

Der 18te Brumaire des Louis Napoleon (in English, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon) was written by Karl Marx between December 1851 and March 1852, and originally published in 1852 in Die Revolution, a German-language monthly magazine published in New York and established by Joseph Weydemeyer. Later English editions (such as an 1869 Hamburg edition) were entitled The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte.

The pamphlet shows Marx in his form as a social and political historian, treating actual historical events—those leading up to Louis Bonaparte's coup d'état of 2 December 1851—from the viewpoint of his materialist conception of history. Together with Marx's contemporary writings on English politics, the Eighteenth Brumaire is the principal source for our understanding of Marx's theory of the capitalist state.[1]

The "Eighteenth Brumaire" refers to November 9, 1799 in the French Revolutionary Calendar—the day Louis Bonaparte's uncle Napoleon Bonaparte had made himself dictator by a coup d'état; and the work is the source of one of Marx's most quoted statements, that history repeats itself, "the first as tragedy, then as farce" (with the former referring to Napoleon I, the latter to Napoleon III). Marx said: "Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce." [2] In the preface to the second edition, Marx said it was the intention of the work to "demonstrate how the class struggle in France created circumstances and relationships that made it possible for a grotesque mediocrity to play a hero's part." [3]

The work also contains the most famous formulation of Marx's view of the role of the individual in history: "Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past."

Marx's interpretation of Louis Bonaparte's rise and rule is of interest to later scholars studying the nature and meaning of fascism. Many Marxist scholars regard the coup as a forerunner of the phenomenon of 20th century fascism.

See also

External links

Notes

  1. ^ Jon Elster, An Introduction to Karl Marx, Cambridge, England, 1990 (first pub. 1986), p 8.
  2. ^ "The Dreyfusian Revolution by George Sorel 1908". http://www.marxists.org/archive/sorel/1908/dreyfus-revolution.htm. Retrieved 2009-06-03.  
  3. ^ "The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon". http://www.marx2mao.com/M&E/EBLB52.html. Retrieved 2009-06-03.  
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Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon
by Karl Marx, translated by Daniel De Leon
The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon was written between December 1851 and March 1852, and originally published in 1852 in Die Revolution, a German-language monthly magazine. The pamphlet shows Marx in his form as a social and political historian, treating actual historical events—those leading up to Louis Bonaparte's coup d'état of 2 December 1851—from the viewpoint of his materialist conception of history. The "Eighteenth Brumaire" refers to November 9, 1799 in the French Revolutionary Calendar—the day Louis Bonaparte's uncle Napoleon Bonaparte had made himself dictator by a coup d'état. The work is the source of one of Marx's most quoted statements, that history repeats itself, "the first as tragedy, then as farce".
Excerpted from The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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