The socialist movement, in a manner of speaking, was a direct result of the Industrial Revolution that produced a working and a middle class.  The socialists challenged the expansion of capitalism and the dominance of the middle class.  One of the most famous, and influential, critiques of capitalism appeared in a small pamphlet, The Communist Manifesto, published in early 1848 by Karl Marx (1818-1883) and Friedrich Engels (1820-1895).  These two close collaborators made socialism a revolutionary force, and at the same time, they developed perhaps the most influential (maybe powerful) critique of contemporary capitalist society.  Their work inspired legions of revolutionaries to try and overthrow the capitalist order.

Marx and Engels were not the only individuals to develop critiques of capitalism in the nineteenth century, nor were they the only revolutionaries seeking to overthrow, or reform, "bourgeois" democracy.  Charles Dickens, with Hard Times, offered a bitter criticism of industrialization, as did Emile Zola (1840-1902), the French novelist, in such works as Germinal.  As opposed to Marx, Mikhail Bakunin (1814-1876), the Russian revolutionary anarchist, devoted his life to inspiring a spontaneous peasant uprising against modern society.

Some recommended online lectures and websites:


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