THE EIGHTEENTH BRUMAIRE OF LOUIS NAPOLEON (German : Der 18te Brumaire
des Louis Napoleon) was an essay written by
The essay discusses the French coup of 1851 in which Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte assumed dictatorial powers. It shows Marx in his form as a social and political historian, treating actual historical events from the viewpoint of his materialist conception of history .
The title refers to the
Coup of 18 Brumaire
* 1 Contents of the book
* 2 Impact on the development of
CONTENTS OF THE BOOK
In the preface to the second edition of The Eighteenth Brumaire, Marx stated that the purpose of this essay was to "demonstrate how the class struggle in France created circumstances and relationships that made it possible for a grotesque mediocrity to play a hero's part."
This essay contains the most famous formulation of Marx's view of the role of the individual in history, often translated to something like: "Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past." Unfortunately this translation obscures the meaning of his line, which should be read more like "People (die Menschen) make their own history, but they do not make it however they want, not under self-selected circumstances, but out of the actual given and transmitted situation. The traditions of all the dead generations burden, like a nightmare, the minds of the living."
The Eighteenth Brumaire catalogs the mass of the bourgeoisie , which Marx says impounded the republic like its property, as composed of: the large landowners , the aristocrats of finance and big industrialists , the high dignitaries of the army , the university, the church , the bar, the academy, and the press.
It also shows more criticism of the proletariat than is typical of his other works, referring to the bureaucracy as a "giant parasitic body" and describing widespread perceptions of the proletariat as a "party of anarchy, socialism, and communism," a party paradoxically established on precepts of an oppositional "party of order."
IMPACT ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF MARXISM
Along with Marx's contemporary writings on English politics and The Civil War in France , the Eighteenth Brumaire is a principal source for understanding Marx's theory of the capitalist state .
Marx's interpretation of Louis Bonaparte's rise and rule is of
interest to later scholars studying the nature and meaning of fascism
"HISTORY REPEATS ... FIRST AS TRAGEDY, THEN AS FARCE"
This book is the source of one of Marx's most quoted statements,
that history repeats itself, "the first as tragedy, then as farce",
referring respectively to
Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce. Caussidière for Danton , Louis Blanc for Robespierre , the Montagne of 1848 to 1851 for the Montagne of 1793 to 1795, the nephew for the uncle . And the same caricature occurs in the circumstances of the second edition of the Eighteenth Brumaire.
Marx's sentiment echoed an observation made by
.... it really seems as though old Hegel, in the guise of the World Spirit, were directing history from the grave and, with the greatest conscientiousness, causing everything to be re-enacted twice over, once as grand tragedy and the second time as rotten farce, Caussidière for Danton, L. Blanc for Robespierre, Barthélemy for Saint-Just , Flocon for Carnot , and the moon-calf together with the first available dozen debt-encumbered lieutenants for the little corporal and his band of marshals. Thus the 18th Brumaire would already be upon us.
Every giant ... presupposes a dwarf, every genius a hidebound philistine.... The first are too great for this world, and so they are thrown out. But the latter strike root in it and remain.... Caesar the hero leaves behind him the play-acting Octavianus , Emperor Napoleon the bourgeois king Louis Philippe ....
* ^ "The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon". Retrieved 2009-06-03. * ^ The 1934 Soviet translation has: "Men make their own history, but they do not make it just as they please; they do not make it under circumstances chosen by themselves, but under circumstances directly encountered, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the living." K. Marx (1869), The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, Moscow: Progress Publishers, Ch. I, p. 10. * ^ Ch. 3 * ^ Parlato, Valentino (1970) Il complesso edilizio , il manifesto , n. 3-4 marzo-aprile 1970, p.29, republished in F. Indovina (1972) Lo spreco edilizio * ^ Jon Elster, An Introduction to Karl Marx, Cambridge, England, 1990 (first pub. 1986), p 8. * ^ Tucker, R.C. "The Marx-Engels Reader, 2nd ed.," page 594. New York: Norton, 1978. * ^ "The Dreyfusian Revolution by George Sorel 1908". Retrieved 2009-06-03. * ^ Karl Marx. The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte. * ^ Marx/Engels Collected Works. International Publishers . * ^ Quoted in Francis Wheen (July 2001). Karl Marx: A Life. W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 978-0-393-32157-9 . Retrieved 8 March 2011. , pages 25-26. Wheen points out the similarity between this passage and the one in Eighteenth Brumaire, but his quotation of the latter is a different translation or version than the one which appears above, or is perhaps a garbled combination of the Marx and Engels