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When Marx and his wife and children were living in London, a visitor wrote a description of their lifestyle in their 3-room flat.

Not only did the Marx children have to endure the hunger of poverty, they were raised in filth, or what his friend described as "a pig-sty".

There was not one good piece of furniture in the flat. There was a chair with a leg missing, a sofa "tattered and torn".

The table where Marx sat on his backside to read and write was covered with pages of his writings, with newspapers and books, his glasses, his inkstand and pen, and his pipe, as well as dirty and chipped tea cups, dirty spoons, and whatever else someone dropped there, such as some children's playthings and his wife's sewing.

Everything in his flat, according to his friend, was dirty and covered with dust.

The flat was also in one of the worst sections of London, where the rent was low.

Marx and his wife knew each other as children and married when Marx was twenty-five, not so young in those days of 1843. He would have been considered a grown man, mature and able to assume the responsibilities of husband and father.

Both Marx and his wife came from comfortable homes, hers more prominent. Her father was a Prussian Baron. And she, Jenny, was an educated woman when she married Marx.

Together they had 7 children. Four of those children died young. Only three survived to achieve adulthood.

Every biography of Marx reports that his four children who died young died because of the poverty they had to endure.

The Marx way of life has been described as a hand-to-mouth existence, which generally means you don't know where your next meal is coming from.

Marx occasionally wrote articles for newspapers and he wrote his long papers and books full of his philosophies about the 'struggle' of workers, but he never worked a day in his life.

Instead, he sat in his pig-sty and found all sorts of reasons he shouldn't work.

Mainly, he thought he was too important to work.

Marx wrote that a slave needs a master and the master needs a slave. And that opposites must be equalled. And that a slave cannot be separated from his master.

Care to argue with that nonsense?

I've known men like Marx. They're just plain lazy. As he was. He didn't want to work, he wanted to sit in the filth at his table and pretend to be thinking important thoughts.

Marx was also a hypocrite. While he wrote with such sympathy for the men who worked in factories, calling them slaves, the money he lived on, the charity he received from his friend Friedrich Engels, came from the Engels family interest in a factory. So the 'slaves' were supporting the Marx family, while Marx sat and thought.

Watching his children go hungry, seeing them live in filth, is neglect. It is abuse. There was no need for it. He had an education and could have earned an income, and he knew where he had come from, a comfortable life with his parents. He could have provided for his family as his father had provided for him, but obviously that was not important to him.

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Karl Marx was not well known in his lifetime. It was only a small circle of fellow Communists who knew who he was by his writings.

An eighth child was born to Marx, but not with his wife. It was an illigitimate child.

As it happened, Jenny, Karl's wife, received an inheritance and so she hired a housekeeper to oversee their better quarters. His eighth child was born to the housekeeper.

Marx tried to convince his wife that the child had been fathered by his friend Engels, but she didn't believe him. Let's add liar to his description.

Eventually, Marx admitted the truth. The child was his son.

No one ever reported the housekeeper's side of the story. Had she been a willing partner for Marx? Or did he take advantage of her lowly position in his home? Personally, I think he saw her as nothing but a servant and one he could 'have his way' with.

By any standard, Marx' life was a failure, as a husband, as a father, as a provider.

His theory of Marxism has been a failure, too. The Soviet Union failed dramatically. Cuba's people live in poverty. And in North Korea the people truly are slaves to their Marxist beloved leader.

Under Marxism, more than one hundred million people have died, either from being murdered or from starvation.

When a man in his selfishness and laziness is willing to watch his own children die from the poverty he has imposed on them, of course his philosophy will do the same to anyone forced to endure it.

Marx abused his children, his wife, his housekeeper, and Marxism continues to abuse everyone living under a brutally uncaring Marxist government.


francisca hairston on July 19, 2019:

I always wondered why people made a hero of this bum. He let two of his young children starve. One daughter committed suicide because of a failed romance, and one daughter and her husband committed suicide for the cause (communism). He lived on his wife's meager inheritance. Then had an affair with the. The problem with communism is it destroys individual rights and gives the elite all the food and money. The commoner starves or is made a slave. Marx's life demonstrated the fruits of his insane ideology.

Alberto Reyes on September 06, 2018:

Anybody who defends Marx ideology and comunism has not lived under a communist regime. Guaranteed.

William R Bowen Jr from New Bern, NC on May 06, 2018:

Good information Sheila. Charles below doesn't seem to think you know much about Marxism, but you know enough to know that it is a losing philosophy. Marxist sympathizers like Charles know more tactic than substance; they know enough to remind us that Marx was misunderstood and that his ideas were not applied correctly. That could be said about most intellectuals and the movements they spawn. But, Orwell got it right in "Animal Farm": Marx and the nomenclatura that followed him were pigs and created a system where they treated the proletarians like pigs. Marx was lazy and he left an ideology for the indolent and the crazed polemicist.

G. Miller on January 09, 2018:

Given the fatal flaws of Marxism and its terrible track record in implementation, it is astounding that it has any followers remaining.

ethnic kekistani on June 03, 2017:

To people saying that he was actually a good father and most of his children survived. (from wikipedia)

Marx and von Westphalen had seven children together, but partly owing to the poor conditions in which they lived whilst in London, only three survived to adulthood.[181] The children were: Jenny Caroline (m. Longuet; 1844–1883); Jenny Laura (m. Lafargue; 1845–1911); Edgar (1847–1855); Henry Edward Guy ("Guido"; 1849–1850); Jenny Eveline Frances ("Franziska"; 1851–1852); Jenny Julia Eleanor (1855–1898) and one more who died before being named (July 1857). There are allegations that Marx also fathered a son, Freddy,[182] out of wedlock by his housekeeper, Helene Demuth.[183]

So Marxism hasn't worked for Russia, or Cuba, or China, or Laos, or Vietnam, or Afghanistan, or Albania, or Angola, or Belarus, or Benin, or Bulgaria , or Cambodia, or Congo-Brazzaville, or Czechoslovakia, or Ethiopia, or Grenada, or Hungary, or North Korea, or Mongolia, or Mozambique, or Somalia, or North Vietnam, or South Yemen, or Venezuela, or Brazil. But for you, with your deific wisdom, for you it would work. Yeah, that sounds like a real Marxist.

Charles on March 15, 2017:

This article is trash. I was interested in Marx's mistreatment of his family--and you are right about that irony.

But you obviously don't understand Marx's philosophy. It has little resemblane to the Soviet system. The master-slave dichotomy is related to Marx's reading of Hegel. To say a "master needs a slave" is not an endorsement of slavery--although Hegel may of thought that way.

In "German ideology" Marx writes against academic pursuits. To classify him as someone who wasted their time just thinking all day--again it is ironic. But it isn't as simple a story as you are telling.

Marx must have been aware of these ironies. Writing a trash piece on his character without looking seriously at his writing is equally as "lazy" as you accuse Marx of being.

Grow up.

h on March 02, 2015:

Millions of died of poverty and hunger caused by the system opposed by Marx

Erongot Moses on July 27, 2014:

Perhaps that is the price he had to pay for his ideals. Great men have not been known to be good family managers.

Lloyd Miller from Sacramento, California on July 06, 2014:

I tend to shy away from drawing conclusions about an entire life based on someone else's brief observation.

mazipho on April 07, 2014:

Marxism has not failed because it has never been implemented. Free market has consistently failed and is a cause of all poverty, wars, genocides and filth! If this is error, what is the main cause of global warming and unprecedented climate change. May Adam Smith burn in hell for ever!

Daryl Basarab on April 02, 2014:

This article is really pumping the reps of karl marx.

I completely support people who cheat the system by living at the lowest possible rent. And capitalism should allow the wife to provide for herself.

I bet Marx was a misogynist and wouldn't admit it. HAIL KARL MARX!

mike on April 02, 2014:

Its sad that such disinformation is taken so quickly at face value. I'm not for Marxism (in fact I'm a libertarian) but I've studied history and economic and this is just absurd. If you really want an accurate account of the life of Karl Marx read Erich Fromm's "Marx's Concept of Man". The kind of shit presented in this article is tabloid level and prays on our misconception, frustrations and ideological differences. It plays no role in encouraging a productive dialog on socio-economic structures and how we can actually achieve a society that has the fulfillment of the human potential at its core.

Unbiased History on December 23, 2013:

Marxism has never been practiced. Leninism was slightly based on Marxist ideals but was quickly washed away by militaristic Stalinism once the Bolshevik revolution happened.

Akinjide Aboluwodi on October 11, 2013:

Remarks on Karl Marx and Marxism are basically products of jaundiced mind. Your thought on Marx is miscarried.

THE ANTI SOCIALIST on September 12, 2013:

@ chris Hey chris, you know what's even more pathetic ? You still believe in the FAILED & extremely FLAWED philosophy of a lazy, selfish, self important bastard who's been dead for almost 2 centuries !!!!!! THATS PATHETIC !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Steven DeMaria on September 12, 2013:

@ chris: We need to carry guns because of parasitic leaches like you chris !

Rebecca Furtado from Anderson, Indiana on April 02, 2013:

A new biography of Marx called ,"Karl Marx: A Nineteenth Century Life" is out , it should be a great look into someone who make the , the "political " personal.

Joy Campbell from South Florida on November 14, 2012: have to think that those PhDs rely on government money for grants etcs. So of course they believe in big government and hand outs. :-)

LDBB on November 14, 2012:

Interesting. I was always a moderate liberal. But the older I get the less I like the company of the mature liberals I meet. Not the least of which is a relative of my husbands who I met recently. He has been extolled by my husband, and he actually brags about him and his being such a brilliant "intellectual" retired prof at one of the Ivy League schools. However, I have since found out that he fathered 3 children whom he left to go pursue his very important phd, which took him 10 years to complete of course. He ran off with one of his students while he was still married, and they moved to one of those nice Western European countries where there is democratic socialism - not exactly Karl Marx, but close enough. His new wife left her 2 kids to go run off with him. Neither of them sent a dime for their children, because "their grandparents had money and could help them". They lived in poverty, but not dire poverty. No modern plumbing and the creature comforts of the US. I don't think they worked. I am not sure how they lived, but I'm sure if they did work as teachers, they worked as little as possble so they could live like true Hippies, enjoying "the moment." They soon had a couple new kids of their own, not surprisingly moving back to the US when those new children needed an education. I'm reading the above about Karl Marx, and I'm thinking, "yeah, I know this type. I have an in law just like this. Self important, villifying captitalism while living off the people who perpetuate it, and oh so important. PhD means, Pretty High and Deep, right?" "While pursuing all that knowledge about philosphers and political manifestos, how about neglecting my family, and the people who I am responsible for? Every man for himself, I say." What a delusional leech, and what is wrong with the "proletariat" that follows in these footsteps? It is head shakingly curious.

m jafar kuty on August 19, 2012:

Absurdity has got its limit.

truthteller luvs marx on July 21, 2012:

this article is just bullshit,miss.sheila i feel that u are not even close 2 a stage where u can understand marxism,i think ur milk tooths havnt fallen yet...u need 2 grow up bigtime....its damn easy 2 critisize great people:(

,nqrx on May 27, 2012:

I found this article as LESS intellectual and MORE biased and false account

Josh on March 28, 2012:

I wonder how many of the people spouting here about Marx ever read one of Marx's books (or are actually capable of reading one)? How many are just repeating mindlessly what they've been brainwashed to believe? And they say the Soviet propaganda machine was efficient? As for the smearing of people's personal lives, the same mean little hatchet job could be done to any of history's great men and women. Try every American President since Abraham Lincoln. Marx isn't perfect, his theories and perfect, some have been disproved, others have been vindicated, his ideas have been used, abused and misused by all sorts of people with very different intentions. Sure one can criticize his ideas. But using low, cheap smear tactics of this kind just reflects on 1) the author's ignorance and 2) the author's rather sour little mind. Pity.

Mysteron on March 04, 2012:

Most of Marx's children survived him, and two of his daughters were handsomely bequested in the will of Engels, who admired and supported Marx tremendously.

The only time he lived in the kind of poverty you are describing is when he was forced to flee to London to escape political persecution, and during that time he was especially appalled by how badly British labourers - many children as young as 4 and 5 - were treated by their "employers".

How like a right-wing academophobe to equate a job as a professor, a journalist, a freelance writer, and a labour activist fighting against child labour and child abuse with "not working a day in his life".

I'm not even a Marxist, and even I can see that you're so eager to smear the guy that you're treating the words of his state enemies as historical evidence. Sad, but not unexpected.

Tom on October 24, 2011:

"HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS DEAD"! Ok, Ok. I get you can think in big numbers!! BUT, where is your evidence that Marx promoted a system of government that encouraged "killing" people?

Ok, I could give fifty examples, but space will only allow a few. Hmmm. Columbus and his subsequent "explorers" who "founded" America: 12,000,000 dead--MINIMUM.

Two: 1898 Invasion of Phillipines (to make safe for Christianity?): 500,000 killed!

Three: "Allowing" Lusitania to sail into German occupied waters in 1915: thousands of US soldiers killed, WWI

Four: NOT providing cable that Japanese fighters were on their way to Pearl Harbor (Yes, FDR knew): Another many thousands of US troops (and millions of others) killed as we entered WWII.

Five: Korean War: 1-2 millions Koreans killed from our aggression.

Six/Seven: False Flag attack, (Gulf of Tonkin Incident...North Vietnam did NOT attack us: 56,000 dead American soldiers, 2 million dead Vietnamese; Instability allowed Khmer Rouge; another 1 million dead Cambodians. Yeah...gotta love capitalism, right?

Eight/Nine: Set up of Iraq for 1990 invasion: Thousands of Iraqis killed, over one million over next 15 years from death caused by OUR sanctions. Up 12 years later: 1.3 million killed from our illegal invasion (plus nearly 5,000 U.S. Troops killed)

Ten: Afghanistan: nearly 300,000 dead civilians, a few thousand dead Americans all based upon blame to OML for which there was NEVER ANY evidence he had anything to do with what has been proven to be a total "inside job."

Yeah, capitalism is great...In reality, it's NOT the "type" of gov't that is evil, but who runs it. Period.

DF on October 19, 2011:

totally agree with Darren idiots.....Jesus was the greatest murder that ever lived, think about it he caused the Inquistions, The crusades, the thirty war and the list goes on and recently he was the cause of all the catholic priest which have raped endless amount of kids hahhahha but why is Jesus not hated like Marx????

Darren on October 10, 2011:

Very funyy, none of you have probably read Kapital! lol idiots hahahaha

Hendrika from Pretoria, South Africa on June 22, 2011:

I think we must separate the issues here. Was Marx intelligent? Well yes. But, are he ideas executable, well no! WE all know what is going on in world around us. problem is, who is going to give us a better model than "free market?" We need one and we do not have one, Marx cannot help us here as we already know.

FunnyIdiots on June 07, 2011:

I read all the comments here and just laugh my butt silly. All the Americans and Europeans trying to be socialist in a capitalist state. Filling your mouths with reverence towards one outdated idea. Let me tell you, I live in Venezuela, the government here has been appliying a social marxist regime for the last 12 years and as any of you can easily google, all we have left is over 150.000 vilent deaths (the country only has about 28M ppl), hospitals in such bad shape you could only compare to Sierra Leona, an inflation of over 40% every year. I could rant for a long time, but I know you get it. This so called socialism could only be possible if men morale were impossible to corrupt. To brag about socialism and comunism while you live like kings is rather ridiculos.

nathias on May 27, 2011:

itt, retards discussing marx

Robin on May 18, 2011:

Marx was the prototypical libtard male, we have plenty of examples today, Eliot Spitzer, Roman Polanski, John Edwards, Arnold Schwartzenegger, Bill Clinton, and now that midget French turd that raped an HIV positive hotel maid. They are selfish, if they have money they don't share it with their family, they treat their wives like crap, live off their wives money, consider servants of any sort fair game for rape and exploitation, won't acknowledge or support children born of their screwing around, and of course constantly grunt about what fabulous, amazing, talented, and irreplaceable human beings they are.

Joy Campbell from South Florida on May 15, 2011:

And what about his friend Engles? The one he was always borrowing money from. He is the one that organized and edited Marx's work. Not Marx. Marx is known for his prediction of the demise of capalitism not anything else and some believe that came from Engels and not Marx.

Tel on December 11, 2010:

the present system is unsustainable,the next economic hit[if we ever recover from this one] will the last with upheavals worldwide as nations struggle to feed themselves as the rich run off to hide their ill gotten gains,but sheila b can rest assured they wil be no retribution, no prison camps, no goulags,no rounding up of dissidents or people who disagree,no need for greed or hunger,the illegal accumalation of wealth,scouring the world for other peoples dwindleing resources, and an end to illegal occupation of other peoples lands.

Tel on December 11, 2010:

Well they was far more people killed in the wars of the brutal colonising of half the world by the european powers,and a lot more in the crusades,

J on December 08, 2010:

Hundreds of millions dead. HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS DEAD. Get it through your skulls, you Marx worshipers. You might as well be worshiping death itself. When will you leave off trying to kill the rest of us with your twisted notions of justice and equality? HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS DEAD!

Robert on November 11, 2010:

This is rather misleading and fairly inaccurate.. I have read no biographies that would suggest Marx abused his children. Living conditions back then were also quite different compared to now. Marx also faced hardcore censorship by Prussian authorities throughout his life there. Plus, its important to note, that the real vision Marx has had, a true Communistic society. Has never existed. And it was in-visioned by him to be a stateless, classless society? Is that the Soviet Union or Cuba...No Have you ever read any of his writings? Cuba, China and Soviet Union at the time of their revolutions were society mainly based of agriculture. Marx never applied his ideas to those type of systems. He always applied it to the industrial western Europe and north America. Totalitarianism was a word that didn't even exist at the time, and it was an idea he never promoted. Basically my point is, his views are not as black and white as you think. And most historians debate what he meant on certain issues to this day. Marx was also very critical of the German and French liberal. His writings evolved, some of his later writings talked about shortcomings in his earlier writings. He also stated that his general historical look, was not a master key to history, and it cant be applied to all situations. And one must look at each situations, and "one will never arrive there by the universal passport of a general historic-philosophical theory" The world of Marx is very large, and I am appalled by your incredibly simplistic, and uninformed analysis of it. You also claim that most of your information came from websites, please have some scholarly integrity and read actually cited books. If ANYONE wants a better understanding of Marx's point of view on Communism, the state, class...etc Read David McLellan's "the thought of Karl Marx", Its a good secondary source introduction to some elements of his thought. David McLellan has other works on him, like "karl marx" and "Marxism after Marx"...all good. Francis Wheen's "Karl Marx: A life" is another good bio. Wolf's "understanding Marx" is another good book. And Shaw's "Marx's Theory of History" is another good work. Simply relying on google search isn't good enough for ANYONE who wants to have a conversation (or accusations) on Marx. Or you can not read some of those works, and continue being so overwhelmingly blindly simplistic

For the record I am not a Marxist, I am actually a registered independent.

Thank you.

doesitmatter? on November 09, 2010:


Not EVERY biography of Marx states that his children died because of poor living conditions. One of his children was never even was named because it died right out of the womb. Also, Marx only lived in poverty due to the shifty stability of the economy back then and he used all he had to speak his mind through censorship, and that to me, was his true dream. If jenny wanted to live and have children with Marx, that was her decision. She chose to live with a man devoted to the life of writing, philosophy, and politics. She brought her and her childrens' fate upon herself.

aberdebb on November 09, 2010:

I know american democrats who are exactly like Marx......

Texasbeta on September 17, 2010:

This entire post was discredited, and the response was, "at least Einstein's theories worked!". What an absolute joke. Once again this proves nothing except the conservatives could care less about what is actually true and what isn't.

Chris on August 04, 2010:

Wow you conservatives are reaching!

Instead of worrying about a guy who died 2 centuries ago, let's try to figure out why all the good bible loving Christians need to carry a gun!

Margarita on August 02, 2010:

What an interesting post!

A lot of information I was not aware of.

I have to laugh at these people who use the pretense of being great thinkers, and neglect their responsibility as a parent and partner........many more came after Karl!

RLO on July 25, 2010:

Marx and Hitler, both great men. Both written about and admired/followed by millions of people. :)

Regarding Einstein, he was not a hypocrite. Marx was!

crossprod on July 17, 2010:

Hello Everyone

I have read all you have written but I need the refference of all these claims. Can you please provide any? especially for biography of Marx.

Moreover, his three childern(all daughters) loved him the most, go and see ( How can you say he brought them up in flith????

Pauline Saint -Claire on June 27, 2010:

I actually live with a Marxist. He stinks and the house is always a mess and he does just sit around pretending to think of important things.

Mystified_UK on June 14, 2010:

I heard that he ate his children (after cooking them in some foreign-sounding dish), and then caused global warming. Plus he gave my dog fleas before he want off to live on the moon with Elvis.

Carrie on May 10, 2010:

I have read that his children died from starvation due to neglect. Yes, he is really a person to follow! Wake up America, because this is the road we are traveling down right now!

monroe on May 06, 2010:

I am not one for marxism,but did any of you know this "filthy" man personally? to me it sounds like you folks need a life with substance. in a twisted way yes the man was brilliant.if he could influence the megadeath of millions with nothing more than his ideas and theories.. folks, sorry to say it but he was smarter then the lot of you!!besides everyone has their own mind and can deside wrong from right...are you in the belief that karl marx was in the ear of some of history's evilest humans? of course not. they were just evil people plain and simple and this behavior will continue in evil people from now till dooms day hell look at obama!! he is the anti-christ but ya couldn't possibly see this because your stuck in the 19th century. whew i feel my iq has dropped a level just entertaining this group of dults!! get a life people n wake up there is alot worse then marxism on its way to the world. almighty god assured us of that one!

Evets on April 22, 2010:

Einstein was a direct influence for the invention of the atom bomb. You keep believing what you want to believe, that won't make any difference for the people who choose to think.

Steve on March 27, 2010:

The Marxist apologists absolutely blow me away. Marx and everything he spewed was garbage and has murdered millions. He only had 3 children that saw adulthood, unlike the lies the above perpetrated.

Marx brilliant? If you think the death, enslavement, oppression and poverty of millions at the hand of their government is brilliant, then yes, Marx was a genius. I, on the other hand, will continue to believe he is a direct influence on murderers and dictators. May he burn in Hell forever.

Hannah Ministries on March 09, 2010:

I don't like to argue, but at least albert Eindstein's theories worked! I mean that should count for something. However the Marx idea's NEVER function. I need to agree with with Slomo that he was a "great man' in the sence that he has been discussed and read and still we are here on hubpages discussing him. but can we say that because he has been so discussed his theories works? no!

We should plain look at the evidence. If the theory was good it would have worked! and it didn't. And it will not. Not because he was a sloppy man, but because the theory was a hypotheses that has been proven in the day to day life for 2 centuries that is did NOT work.

(Exuce my enlish, it is not my first lenguage.)

Great hub, it is good to take a stand. People may not completely agree with this HUB but it will give them something to think about. Great HUB!

With Regards


Lizzy on March 01, 2010:

Thanks :)

sheila b. (author) on February 28, 2010:

Hi, Lizzy! Sorry, I don't. Much of it is from notes I've made over years of reading, and some of it is from the web. Wish I could help you, but all I can offer is that you google Karl Marx and see what you find. Also look at Marxism sites. You'll find a lot.

Lizzy on February 28, 2010:

Hey Sheila,

Love all the info, I'd like to use some of it in a paper I'm writing about Communism. Do you know the books or websites you used to find all of the info?

Madame X on February 23, 2010:

He lived in filth physically because he lived in filth mentally. I didn't know this about him but it doesn't surprise me. Excellent hub :)

Truth sayer on February 23, 2010:

Not that it matters, but Marx fathered 7 children, one died at birth, and four made it to adulthood. Two died during childhood. Might be one of those liberals, but I do know the truth.

Tom T from Orange County, CA on February 19, 2010:

I never knew this but it makes perfect sense. A good lib will tell you how to live your life but won't live by example. Great Hub, keep up the good work.

steve on February 14, 2010:

I agree with you 100 percent. Losers talk too much.

Never work hard.

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