ABSTRACT

The winter of 1847-48 (it is difficult to fix a more precise date for the celebration of the centenary) saw the birth of one of the capital documents of the nineteenth century—the Communist Manifesto. In the summer of 1847 a group consisting mainly of German craftsmen in London held the first congress of a new “Communist League”. They had been in touch with Marx, then living in Brussels, for some time; and Engels attended the congress, which adjourned to a future congress the drafting of a programme for the League. Inspired by this prospect, Engels tried his hand and produced a catechism in twenty-five questions, which Marx and he took with them to the second League congress in London at the end of November. The congress thereupon charged Marx and Engels to draft their programme for them: it was to take the form of a manifesto. Marx worked away in Brussels through December and January. The “Manifesto of the Communist Party” was published in London in German in February 1848, a few days before the revolution broke out in Paris.