The Communist Manifesto

by

Karl Marx

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To Marx and Engels, capital is the defining element of capitalism. Essentially, it’s money and assets under the control of the bourgeoisie. More than that, though, capital is the power that comes with an accumulation of wealth—the power to make purchases and significantly affect the world. In keeping this financial clout to itself, the bourgeoisie is able to oppress the proletariat through wage labor.

Capital Quotes in The Communist Manifesto

The The Communist Manifesto quotes below are all either spoken by Capital or refer to Capital. For each quote, you can also see the other terms and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Capitalism and Progress Theme Icon
). 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

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:
II. Proletarians and Communists Quotes

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:
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Capital Term Timeline in The Communist Manifesto

The timeline below shows where the term Capital appears in The Communist Manifesto. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
II. Proletarians and Communists
Class and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Inequality and Distribution of Wealth Theme Icon
Work Theme Icon
...industry, claim Marx and Engels, doesn’t create any property for the laborer. Their work generates “capital,” which only enables further oppression by the bourgeoisie. (full context)
Inequality and Distribution of Wealth Theme Icon
Work Theme Icon
Breaking down bourgeois capitalism doesn’t mean an end to property, but an end to property used for exploitation. Capital... (full context)
Class and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Inequality and Distribution of Wealth Theme Icon
...has already ruined family relations for the proletariat, and that bourgeois families are based on “capital” and “private gain.” Marx and Engels say that communism will prevent parents exploiting their children. (full context)
Capitalism and Progress Theme Icon
Class and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Inequality and Distribution of Wealth Theme Icon
...to raise the proletariat into the position of power. Then, the proletariat must seize all capital from the bourgeoisie and centralize all instruments of production. Marx and Engels admit that in... (full context)