Marx and the French Revolution

François Furet

Marx and the French Revolution
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François Furet

Translated by Deborah Furet
247 pages | © 1988
Cloth $60.00 ISBN: 9780226273389 Published December 1988
Throughout his life Karl Marx commented on the French Revolution, but never was able to realize his project of a systematic work on this immense event. This book assembles for the first time all that Marx wrote on this subject. François Furet provides an extended discussion of Marx's thinking on the revolution, and Lucien Calvié situates each of the selections, drawn from existing translations as well as previously untranslated material, in its larger historical context.

With his early critique of Hegel, Marx started moving toward his fundamental thesis: that the state is a product of civil society and that the French Revolution was the triumph of bourgeois society. Furet's interpretation follows the evolution of this idea and examines the dilemmas it created for Marx as he considered all the faces the new state assumed over the course of the Revolution: the Jacobin Terror following the constitutional monarchy, Bonaparte's dictatorship following the parliamentary republic.

The problem of reconciling his theory with the reality of the Revolution's various manifestations is one of the major difficulties Marx contended with throughout his work. The hesitation, the remorse, and the contradictions of the resulting analyses offer a glimpse of a great thinker struggling with the constraints of his own system. Marx never did elaborate a theory of an autonomous state, but he never stopped wrestling with the challenge to his doctrine posed by late eighteenth-century France, whose changing conditions and successive regimes prompted some of his most intriguing and, until now, unexplored thought.
Translator's Note
Part One - Introduction
1. The Young Marx and the French Revolution
2. The Marx of 1848 Confronts 1789
3. Marx and the French Enigma (1851-1871)
Part Two - Selections from Karl Marx
1. The Philosophical Manifesto of the Historical School of Law
2. Letters to Arnold Ruge in the Franco-German Yearbooks
3. Critique of Hegel's Doctrine of the State
4. On the Jewish Question
5. Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right: Introduction
6. Marginal Notes on "The King of Prussia and Social Reform"
7. The Holy Family, or Critique of Critical Criticism: Contra Bruno Bauer and Company
8. From Marx's Notes of 1845
9. The German Ideology: Critique of the Most Recent German Philosophy as Represented by Freuerbach, B. Bauer, and Stirner, and of German Socialism as Represented by Its Various Prophets
10. Karl Grün's Die soziale Bewegung in Frankreich and Belgien (Darmstadt, 1845), or The Historiography of True Socialism
11. The Poverty of Philosophy: A Reply to Proudhon's Philosophy of Poverty
12. The Communism of the Rheinische Beobachter
13. Moralizing Criticism and Critical Morality: A Contribution to German Cultural History—contra Karl Heinzen
14. Manifesto of the Communist Party
15. Speech on the Second Anniversary of the Polish Revolution of 22 February 1846
16. The Bill for the Abolition of Feudal Burdens
17. The Bourgeoisie and the Counterrevolution
18. Review of François Guizot's Pourquoi la révolution d'Angleterre a-t-elle réussi? Discours sur l'histoire de la révolution d'Angleterre (Paris, 1850) 
19. The Class Struggles in France, 1848-1850
20. Address of the Central Committee to the Communist League (March 1850)
21. Minutes of the Central Committee Meeting of 15 September 1850
22. The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte
23. Letter to Engels, 2 December 1856
24. Letter to Engels, 2 December 1856
25. Theories of the Plus Value
26. Letter to Engels, 30 January 1865
27. Capital, Volume 1
28. Letter to John Melcolm Ludlow, 10 April 1869
29. Letter to César de Paepe, 14 September 1870
30. The Civil War in France 
31. Letter to Ferdinand Domela Nieuwenhuis, 22 February 1881


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