Ernest Mandel

The Place of Marxism in History


The Development of Marxism:
A Diagram

Classical German philosophy
(Hegel, Feuerbach)

Industrial capitalism
(industrial revolution)

The utopian socialists
(Saint-Simon, Fourier,
Owen, Weitling)

English classical
political economy
(Adam Smith, Ricardo)

French revolution

First proletarian
revolutionary organisations
(Babeuf, Blanqui)

French classical sociology
(discovery of classes
and class struggle:
Montesquieu, Rousseau,
Diderot, A. Thierry, Guizot)

Real proletarian
class struggle
(first strikes and
workers insurrections)

Birth of the modern
labour movement
(trade unions,
Chartist party,
Communist League)

revolutionary tension


Dialectical materialism

Historical materialism
(classes, the state,
pre-capitalist modes
of production, social

of "Capital" and
bourgeois society

History and theory
of the proletarian
class struggle and
labour movement

Theory of the
social surplus
and social division
of labour

Theory of
surplus value

Theory of the
proletarian revolution,
of the dictatorship
of the proletariat,
of communism and
the withering away
of the state


The Eight Main Periods
of the “History” of Marx

1. 1837-1843: radical democracy

2. 1843-1844: from political emancipation to social emancipation

3. 1845-1847: foundations of historical materialism

4. 1848-1850: from the bourgeois revolution to the proletarian revolution ("permanent revolution")

5. 1850-1852: balance sheet of the revolutionary wave, class struggles and political struggles

6. 1853-1859: preparation of Capital

7. 1860-1867: completion of his economic work and creation of the First International

8. 1867-1883: the proletarian revolution on the march ... and the workers parties

A Few Events of Marx’s Time

Economic developments
Political and military events
Class struggles and revolutions
Workers’ movement

1757: British Empire established in India after the battle of Plessey
1770-1830: Industrial revolution: birth of modern factories, first in England, then Belgium, France, Switzerland, the United States, Germany, etc.
1791-1815: French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars in Europe, Santo Domingo, Egypt. Consolidation of the British Empire.
1815: Defeat of Napoleon and dominance of the Holy Alliance.







1846: Potato famine in Ireland.
1846-1848: Mexican-American War.

1848-1873: Expansion of industrial capitalism, free trade and competition in Britain, France, Germany, Belgium.

1854-1856: Crimean War (Tsarist Russia versus the rest of Europe) followed by the emancipation of the serfs in Russia in 1861.

1861-1867: French intervention in Mexico.
1859-1866-1870: Unification of Italy.

1870-1871: Franco-Prussian War and unification of Germany.



1873-1893: Generalisation of colonialism; rapid development of industrialisation in the USA, Japan, Russia Italy, Austria-Hungary.

1776: American revolution.
1789: French revolution; Bastille prison falls on July 14.
1792-1793: Highpoint of French revolution; dictatorship of the Jacobins.
1794 (July 27): Thermidor, victory of the political counter-revolution.
1795-1805: Revolution of the slaves of Santo Domingo.

1810-1824: Liberation Wars (first revolution) of Latin America against the Spanish Empire.

1830: Revolutions in France and Belgium; national insurrection in Poland; birth of the "Ju1y Monarchy" under Louis Philippe in France.





1848: Revolutions in France, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Poland, Italy.
1849: Defeat of these revolutions.
1851: Definitive victor of political counter-revolution in France.
1853: Chinese revolution of the Taipings.
1857: Sepoys' insurrection in India.
1857-1867: Second Mexican revolution (Reforma).

1864-1865: Civil War (second revolution) in the United States.
Abolition of slavery.

1871: Paris Commune.



1886: Beginning of struggle for the eight-hour day in the United States, then around the world; May 1 becomes international day of struggle.




1796: Babeuf and the Conspiracy of the Equals.


1819: Peterloo Massacre, near Manchester.

1828: Creation of local labour parties in Philadelphia and New York.

1831: First workers' insurrection, in Lyons.
1830-1848: Blanqui and Blanquism.

1843: Silesian weavers' insurrection (Germany).
1847: Marx and Engels join the Communist League.
1848: Rise of Chartism in Britain.
1848: Communist Manifesto is written.
June 1848: Workers' insurrection in Paris.


1863: Foundation of the General Association of German Workers by Lassalle.
1864: Foundation of the First International.
1867: Publication of Capital, Volume One, by Marx. Bebel and Liebknecht elected to the German parliament (Reichstag).

1874: Dissolution of the First International.
1875: Unification of German social-democracy.

1883: Death of Marx.

1889-1891: Foundation of the Second International.

1895: Death of Engels.


Last updated on 22.7.2004