The Communist Manifesto

by

Karl Marx

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Bourgeoisie Character Analysis

The bourgeoisie is the dominant social class within capitalist society that has risen to power in line with industrialization. They are driven by profit and use free trade to accumulate wealth, property, and power. Because a capitalist economy is inherently competitive, members of the bourgeoisie are driven to make rapid innovations in communication, transport, and industrial technology. The bourgeoisie own what Marx and Engels call the means of production, essentially everything that is needed to make sellable products apart from the labor itself: materials, machinery and infrastructure are all included. The bourgeoisie employs members of the proletariat—the majority of the population—but only pays them enough to survive, prohibiting the proletariat from acquiring its own means of production. According to Marx and Engels, the bourgeoisie is inherently exploitative and oppresses the proletariat class. However, the bourgeoisie is unwittingly bringing about its own destruction in doing so—the volatile combination of technological innovation with increased inequality will, in Marx and Engels’ theory, eventually provide the proletariat with the means and motive to rise up and revolt against the bourgeoisie.

Bourgeoisie Quotes in The Communist Manifesto

The The Communist Manifesto quotes below are all either spoken by Bourgeoisie or refer to Bourgeoisie. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
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). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Signet edition of The Communist Manifesto published in 2011.
I. Bourgeois and Proletarians Quotes

The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.

Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guildmaster and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, that each time ended, either in the revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.

Page Number: 62-63
Explanation and Analysis:

Modern Industry has established the world market, for which the discovery of America has paved the way. This market has given an immense development to commerce, to navigation, to communication by land. This development has, in its turn, reacted on the extension of industry; and in proportion as industry, commerce, navigation, railways extended, in the same proportion the bourgeoisie developed, increased its capital, and pushed into the background every class handed down from the Middle Ages.

Related Characters: Bourgeoisie
Page Number: 64-65
Explanation and Analysis:

The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. It has pitilessly torn asunder the motley feudal ties that bound man to his “natural superiors,” and has left no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous “cash payment.” It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervor, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation. It has resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of the numberless indefeasible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom—Free Trade. In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation.

Related Characters: Bourgeoisie
Page Number: 66
Explanation and Analysis:

The bourgeoisie has stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honoured and looked up to with reverent awe. It has converted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet, the man of science, into its paid wage labourers.

Related Characters: Bourgeoisie
Page Number: 66
Explanation and Analysis:

The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionising the instruments of production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole relations of society […] Constant revolutionising of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones […] All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life and his relations with his kind.

Related Characters: Bourgeoisie
Page Number: 67
Explanation and Analysis:

The cheap prices of its commodities are the heavy artillery with which it batters down all Chinese walls, with which it forces the barbarians’ intensely obstinate hated of foreigners to capitulate. It compels all nations, on pain of extinction, to adopt the bourgeois mode of production; it compels them to introduce what it calls civilization into its midst, i.e., to become bourgeois themselves. In one word, it creates a world after its own image.

Related Characters: Bourgeoisie
Page Number: 68-69
Explanation and Analysis:

Modern bourgeois society with its relations of production, of exchange and of property, a society that has conjured up such gigantic means of production and of exchange, is like the sorcerer, who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he has called up by his spells.

Related Characters: Bourgeoisie, Proletariat
Page Number: 70
Explanation and Analysis:

In these crises there breaks out an epidemic that, in all earlier epochs, would have seemed an absurdity—the epidemic of overproduction. Society suddenly finds itself put back into a state of momentary barbarism; it appears as if a famine, a universal war of devastation had cut off the supply of every means of subsistence; industry and commerce seem to be destroyed; and why? Because there is too much civilization, too much commerce.

Related Characters: Bourgeoisie
Page Number: 71
Explanation and Analysis:

The weapons with which the bourgeoisie felled feudalism to the ground are now turned against the bourgeoisie itself.

But not only has the bourgeoisie forged the weapons that bring death to itself; it has also called in to existence the men who are to wield those weapons—the modern working class—the proletarians.

Related Characters: Bourgeoisie, Proletariat
Page Number: 72
Explanation and Analysis:

Modern industry has converted the little workshop of the patriarchal master into the great factory of the industrialist capitalist. Masses of laborers, crowded into the factory, are organized like soldiers. As privates of the individual army they are placed under the command of a perfect hierarchy of officers and sergeants. Not only are they slaves of the bourgeois class, and of the bourgeois State; they are daily and hourly enslaved by the machine, by the overlooker, and, above all, by the individual bourgeois manufacturer himself. The more openly this despotism proclaims gain to be its end and aim, the more petty, the more hateful and the more embittering it is.

Related Characters: Bourgeoisie, Proletariat, Artisans
Related Symbols: Chains
Page Number: 73
Explanation and Analysis:
II. Proletarians and Communists Quotes

The immediate aim of the Communists is the same as that of all the other proletarian parties: formation of the proletariat into a class, overthrow of the bourgeois supremacy, conquest of political power by the proletariat.

Related Characters: Bourgeoisie, Proletariat, Communists
Page Number: 82
Explanation and Analysis:

You are horrified at our intending to do away with private property. But in your existing society, private property is already done away with for nine-tenths of the population; its existence for the few is solely due to its non-existence in the hands of those nine-tenths.

Related Characters: Bourgeoisie, Communists
Page Number: 85
Explanation and Analysis:

All objections urged against the Communistic mode of producing and appropriating material products, have, in the same way, been urged against the Communistic modes of producing and appropriating intellectual products. Just as, to the bourgeois, the disappearance of class property is the disappearance of production itself, so the disappearance of class culture is to him identical with the disappearance of all culture. That culture, the loss of which he laments, is, for, the enormous majority, a mere training act as a machine.

Related Characters: Bourgeoisie, Communists
Page Number: 86
Explanation and Analysis:

The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by degrees, all capital from the bourgeoisie, to centralize all instruments of production in the hands of the State, i.e., of the proletariat organized as the ruling class; and to increase the total of productive forces as rapidly as possible.

Of course, in the beginning, this cannot be effected except by means of despotic inroads on the rights of property, and on the conditions of bourgeois production; by means of measures, therefore which appear economically insufficient and untenable, but which, in the course of the movement, outstrip themselves, necessitate further inroads upon the old social order, and are unavoidable as a means of entirely revolutionizing the mode of production.

Related Characters: Bourgeoisie, Proletariat
Page Number: 92
Explanation and Analysis:
III. Socialist and Communist Literature Quotes

A part of the bourgeoisie is desirous of redressing social grievances, in order to secure the continued existence of bourgeois society.

To this section belong economists, philanthropists, humanitarians, improvers of the condition of the working class, organizers of charity, members of societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals, temperance fanatics, hole-and-corner reformers of every imaginable kind.

Related Characters: Bourgeoisie, Proletariat
Page Number: 103
Explanation and Analysis:
IV. Position of the Communists... Quotes

Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.

WORKING MEN OF ALL COUNTRIES, UNITE!

Related Characters: Bourgeoisie, Proletariat, Communists
Related Symbols: Chains
Page Number: 111
Explanation and Analysis:
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Bourgeoisie Character Timeline in The Communist Manifesto

The timeline below shows where the character Bourgeoisie appears in The Communist Manifesto. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
I. Bourgeois and Proletarians
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The modern bourgeois society has grown from the old feudal system, simplifying class in the process. Whereas before... (full context)
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Marx and Engels trace the historical development of the bourgeoisie. It begins with the Middle Ages with the burgesses, a group of people with local... (full context)
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...liken modern industry to a giant, and argue that it brought into existence the modern bourgeois—replacing the “industrial middle class” with “industrial millionaires,” who are like “leaders of whole industrial armies.”... (full context)
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...the development of the working class came a political development to match. Over time, the bourgeoisie has attained political dominance through the modern government, which, Marx and Engels say, is set... (full context)
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Marx and Engels argue that the bourgeoisie has reduced all relations between “man and man” to “naked self-interest” and money. Free trade... (full context)
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The bourgeoisie, Marx and Engels claim, has removed the dignity from work. Even physicians, lawyers, priests and... (full context)
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The bourgeoisie has to constantly revolutionize the “instruments of production” in order to maintain its dominance. But... (full context)
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...no longer use their own materials but instead draw them from the “remotest zones.” The bourgeoisie’s products have spread all over the world and created “new wants” that can no longer... (full context)
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Furthermore, this expansion means all nations get drawn into “civilization”—on the bourgeoisie’s terms.  The cheapness of bourgeois goods makes them irresistible; Marx and Engels liken these “commodities”... (full context)
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Marx and Engels argue that the bourgeoisie has brought about greater urbanization and an increase in population. This has meant a shift... (full context)
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Marx and Engels point towards the bourgeoisie’s revolutionary “productive forces.” These range from the “application of chemistry to industry and agriculture” to... (full context)
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Bourgeois society had its foundations in feudal society, in terms of the means of production and... (full context)
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...Engels believe that a similar process of change is starting to bear down on the bourgeoisie itself—its gigantic means of production and of money-based exchange have grown beyond its control, like... (full context)
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...capitalist system periodically brings about a state of crisis, threatening the very existence of the bourgeoisie itself. To them, these crises often have the absurd effect of “overproduction,” and push society... (full context)
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According to Marx and Engels, the bourgeoisie copes with these crises by destroying society’s “productive forces,” seeking new markets, and by further... (full context)
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However, according to Marx and Engels, change is coming. Those same “weapons” that the bourgeoisie used to defeat feudalism are now being turned against the bourgeoisie itself. The bourgeoisie has... (full context)
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...needs work to survive, and it can only find said work if it increases the bourgeoisie’s profits. Laborers, then, become like a commodity themselves, exposed to all the risks of competition... (full context)
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...a part of the machine. As the work becomes less skilled and less enjoyable, the bourgeoisie drives wages down, paying the proletariat just enough for them to survive. That work becomes... (full context)
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...soldiers.” They are “slaves” to the machines, to the factory overseers and, ultimately, to the bourgeoisie. The driving down of skill level has meant differences of age and sex no longer... (full context)
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...as middle- rather than working-class get pulled down, partly because they can’t compete with the bourgeoisie and also because their specialized skills are rendered worthless by the bourgeoisie’s innovation of methods... (full context)
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Marx and Engels state that the proletariat has occasionally fought back against the bourgeoisie, but such instances are generally confined to local disputes. These rebels might attack their own... (full context)
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...has been grouped together into greater number, it is usually on the orders of the bourgeoisie to help the latter achieve its own political aims. The bourgeoisie maintains control, even when... (full context)
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...feel its collective strength. The localized struggles between individual members of the proletariat and the bourgeoisie are looking more like direct representations of a wider class struggle. As conditions for the... (full context)
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...Engels point out that advances in the means of communications and transport, brought about by bourgeois innovation, help the proletariat to be better organized, allowing workers from different places to galvanize... (full context)
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Meanwhile, the bourgeoisie is still fighting battles with other elements of society. These are the aristocracy, portions of... (full context)
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The proletariat pulls small numbers of the bourgeoisie’s members into its orbit—those who feel they have a great comprehension of historical movements and... (full context)
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...“trace of national character.” In the proletariat’s eyes, “Law, morality, [and] religion” are infected with bourgeois prejudices and are beholden to bourgeois interests. (full context)
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...a majority, and believe that each nation’s proletariat must individual “settle matters” with its own bourgeoisie. (full context)
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...the proletariat doesn’t resist its conditions, its members will continue to grow poorer as the bourgeoisie get richer. Because the bourgeoisie can’t be relied upon to provide the proletariat with a... (full context)
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Because the bourgeoisie has exploited so many workers, it has laid the foundations of its own destruction. It... (full context)
II. Proletarians and Communists
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...of communism are the “formation of the proletariat into a class,” the overthrow of the bourgeoise’s supremacy, and the political empowerment of the proletariat. Communism, according to Marx and Engels, is... (full context)
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...private property.” They explain that they are not against property generally, but are opposed to “bourgeois property,” characterized as “the exploitation of the many by the few.” (full context)
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...it wants to stop people acquiring property through their own labor. They say that the bourgeoisie have themselves already destroyed old forms of property, like those of peasants or artisans. (full context)
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...property for the laborer. Their work generates “capital,” which only enables further oppression by the bourgeoisie. (full context)
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Breaking down bourgeois capitalism doesn’t mean an end to property, but an end to property used for exploitation.... (full context)
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The bourgeoisie paint communism as the “abolition of individuality and freedom,” but Marx and Engels counter that... (full context)
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...of the population. It’s only because those people don’t have any private property that the bourgeoisie is allowed to accumulate so much. The bourgeoisie, then, is hypocritical in criticizing the abolition... (full context)
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...of private property will make everyone in society lazy. Marx and Engels counter that the bourgeoisie is lazy and gets unfairly rewarded. (full context)
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...all intellectual products and class culture. To them, however, communism only seeks to destroy specifically bourgeois intellectual notions of “freedom, culture and law.” Furthermore, communism only wants to abolish hierarchical class... (full context)
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Marx and Engels point out that the bourgeoisie has something fundamental in common with previous ruling classes: it sees its own ideas about... (full context)
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...criticized as wanting to abolish the family, say Marx and Engels. They argue that the bourgeoisie has already ruined family relations for the proletariat, and that bourgeois families are based on... (full context)
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...of education. They want to rescue education from the ideology and influence of the ruling bourgeoisie. They attack the bourgeoisie’s sanctimonious defense of family and education; in practice, bourgeois society breaks... (full context)
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The bourgeoisie, continue Marx and Engels, even sees women as “mere instruments of production.” Communism is criticized... (full context)
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...the overthrow of ancient religions by Christianity, Christianity by rationalism, and feudal society by the bourgeoisie. (full context)
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Marx and Engels say they have spoken enough about the bourgeoisie’s objections to communism. Instead, they want to point the way forward. They say the first... (full context)
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...the requirement for class struggle and make a society that is truly equal. Instead of bourgeois society, there will be the “free development of all.” (full context)
III. Socialist and Communist Literature
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...the French and English aristocracy in an effort to resist the increasing domination of the bourgeoisie. However, according to Marx and Engels, they were only interested in stopping the bourgeoisie in... (full context)
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Petty-Bourgeois Socialists were also right to point in the “contradictions in the conditions of modern production,”... (full context)
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...importantly, say Marx and Engels, these German Socialists didn’t realize that the rise of the bourgeoisie is a necessary step in the evolution of an equal society. The “True” Socialists supported... (full context)
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The second main section of this chapter concerns “Conservative, or Bourgeois, Socialism.” This socialism is offered by those elements of the bourgeoisie that say they want... (full context)
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Marx and Engels argue that this bourgeois socialism aims to maintain the status quo, allowing the bourgeoisie to enjoy their dominant status... (full context)
IV. Position of the Communists in Relation to the Various Existing Opposition Parties
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...of the proletariat and to empower them with the recognition of their oppression by the bourgeoisie. (full context)
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...say their primary focus (in 1848) is Germany, as it is about to undergo a bourgeois revolution that will ultimately result in a more developed proletariat; this proletariat will immediately retaliate... (full context)