Many have written before me about Marx,many have attempted, analyzed, thought it through, and inside out. I am going to try to have a go at this from my simple point of view, I’ll try to wrap it up as good as I can. So for starters I want to apologize if I may not be academic or professional enough but I am going to just lay it out as best as I know how.
Marx was influenced as quoted in the question by three very important schools, I shall address each separately then attempt to wrap it up in the end.
First is German Philosophy and particularly Hegel yes but not him alone Ludwig Feuerbach contributed greatly to the launch of Marx’s philosophy as well. I am going to start from the end. Marx simply wanted to say that capitalism came from feudalism, and that eventually socialism will result from capitalism as it moves along. It all started with Immanuel Kant (Kantian Philosophy) that was developed mostly by Hegel. Many claim that Marx was not really influenced by a Philosophy but more of a Dialectical. Hegel was an idealist, he was a rational person. He believed in evolution with a little revolution to give it a push from time to time. He just wrapped all up under a religion (christian umbrella). Thing is Marx wanted a larger umbrella a broader view so he took the logic without the rationality and strictness of it. Simply he gave Hegel’s Philosophy a more materialistic (social) approach that was showed in “A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy” 1859. After Hegel passed over his followers the Young Hegelians split into two sides right-wing (conservative branch, mostly orthodox), and left-wing who most of them in addition to taking an atheistic position, were revolutionaries these include; Ludwig Feuerbach, Bruno Bauer, Friedrich Engels, and Marx. Engels and Marx stuck together to the bitter end. At first the left-wing group followed Bauer then after disagreeing with him they followed Feuerbach. The essence of Feuerbach was “people” human needs, society, politics, it all pushed into a more materialistic and real interpretation of society of HUMANS. Marx followed Feuerbach who followed Hegel who distinguished profoundly between appearances and reality. Feuerbach preached for humanism and claimed that ideology simply prevented people from seeing their lives reality clearer. Marx had one thing against that he believed that view of Humanism is simply as abstract as what it is set out to over throw. In “The German Ideology” 1846, Marx rebelled on the notion of God and the Christian state and replaced it with the “Real Life Process” of real human beings, all he was interested on focusing were LIVE Human Beings. Now here is where the complicated rather simple in reality part comes, see scientists evolve just like everyone else but cause they’re scientists people tend to make it sound more sophisticated so this where the supposed “young” Marx changed to the supposed again “mature” Marx. See the young Marx was more interested in Humanism in people in general he based his theory on alienation but the mature Marx entered the world of class, social movements, and evolved slowly through his works to reaching in the end the scientific theory of society, which mixed science with non-science. “The Communist Manifesto” led to the Revolution of 1848, with the whole idea of “Proletarians of all countries, unite!”. But his theory and work are best seen emerging if you take a closer look at the “Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts” 1844 and observe how his theory of alienation was modified into commodity fetishism in the first chapter of the first book of “Das Kapital” 1867.
I know the first part dragged on a bit I apologize but it’s really the base of everything else. It is clearly observed that I try to simplify Marx as much as possible though I don’t think he really is as complicated as people like to make him seem. Marx spent his life in exile, couldn’t find publishers for his books as he was considered an extremist, that was his life. So what affected him most next depended on where he was staying which would be French Politics and English Economy. Let’s start with the latter, English Economy. Capitalism is what pretty much Marx set out to destroy, Capitalism = Adam Smith + David Ricardo who = Labour. Marx main critique was simply two things Capitalism only benefits capitalists, this “capitalism” can not and will not apply to all societies since it does not take into consideration the human factor at all. His solution was as far away from a pill as can be, Marx suggested in “Capital: A Critique of Political Economy” that in simpler terms surplus value was crap and did a thorough investigation into the forms value relations take. It may be not possible to find exact measures of Marx’s variables but a basic model can be achieved. In the end, English Economy not really inspired Marx but more of pissed him off enough to spend a good chunk of his life trying to prove that it is both crappy and just plain wrong.
Now let’s move on to French Politics, Louis Blanc “profit” abilities and needs. Jean-Jacques Rousseau private property is the enemy, state-owned is God’s way on Earth. Charles Fourier and Henri de Saint-Simon Utopia exists, doesn’t matter if it never came true, people believed it could Marx believed it could and the idea lived on. Last but not least, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon social economic reform is the priority and political reform can not take place if “the people” can not find anything to eat.
That is pretty much Marx in a nut shell I mean I only had 750 words and I thought it would be acceptable to pull them to close to a thousand. Simply he tried to correct everything he ever saw and thought wrong and no one can blame him for that. Let’s end with this shall we, on Feuerbach he said, “Philosophers have only interpreted the world – the point is to change it.” But that’s why he has followers who not only walk in his footsteps but fill the holes that are present in his arguments. Progress of a theory is built on descendents believing enough to build on what they have and make something better and then others come and attempt to make it even better. The key is continuity.