Most people know that Karl Marx is the father of modern day socialism, but did you know that he had a lot of influential ideas that didn’t become popularized until much later? Here are 10 lesser known facts about Karl Marx you might not know.

He Worked For A Living

Before becoming a political philosopher, Karl Marx actually worked for a living. He was a very successful lawyer in Prussia (today’s Germany), and he worked hard enough that he was finally promoted to Inspector General, or chief inspector. However, he wasn’t satisfied and wanted to devote his life to political philosophy, so he quit his job and moved to London in 1843 to begin his career in writing.

He Fought For Irish Independence

During the early 19th century, Ireland was a part of the United Kingdom, and most of the people were not particularly happy that England was occupying their beautiful isle. In 1847, Marx published a famous article in The New York Tribune arguing that Ireland was economically dependent on the United Kingdom, and that a separation of the two was needed. This eventually led to the foundation of the Irish Socialist Society in 1848. However, this society was short-lived because it didn’t have enough members to survive, and Marx focused his efforts on political theory instead.

He Thought That Gold Was The Root Of All Evil

Like a lot of famous men of his time, Karl Marx was obsessed with gold. He believed that paper money was inherently unstable because it was based on either excessive greed or fear, and that it would inevitably lead to economic collapse. Instead of accepting this reality and trying to combat it, Marx decided to fight it by replacing all paper money and coins with a system of gold-backed currency. In his opinion, this would eliminate all the problems that were plaguing society. Of course, he was wrong.

He Had A Change Of Heart Regarding Women’s Suffrage

In 1857, Karl Marx visited the United States to give a series of lectures, and during his stay he became interested in the American Civil War. When he got back to Europe, he changed his mind about women’s suffrage, and in 1862 he published a famous article in the Deutsch-Amerikanische Annalen in which he denounced the movement. For the next 40 years, he didn’t mention women’s suffrage in any of his writings. His changed opinion wasn’t based on any sort of religious conversion, but on a desire to protect men’s right to vote.

He Doubted If Society Would Ever Learn To Collaborate

Karl Marx had some interesting things to say about society and the need for collaboration, as you might imagine from someone who was born in the middle of the 19th century. In an 1848 essay, he wrote: “If I were to prophesy, I would say that the conflict of the nineteenth century will not be between Liberals and Conservatives, as in the eighteenth century, but between different forms of democracy. The struggle will be for the rule of the people, in the place of the rule of the prince.” He went on to say that the major problem facing society was not poverty or unemployment, but the fact that people were not willing to cooperate and work together to solve these problems. This was in stark contrast to the Romantic ideal of the “noble savage” who existed in isolation from society and did everyone’s jobs for them.

He Was Against Discrimination

Most people know that Karl Marx was against discrimination, but did you know that he was specifically against racial discrimination? In a letter to his friend Friedrich Engels, he wrote: “Give me your honest opinion on what position I should take regarding the nigger question. Do you think that it is possible to get along with these people? What is your advice?” He also wrote in a letter to Frederick William IV of Prussia that he wasn’t in favor of the “utter extermination” of the Negro, and that he would be in favor of seeing them “throng our streets” as they are a “force to be reckoned with.”

He Was Inspired By The French Revolution

The French Revolution was one of the biggest events in human history, and it heavily influenced Karl Marx. Like the leaders of the French Revolution, Carl Marx believed that society had to be changed and that individual rights had to be taken into consideration. He also admired the way that the French Republic gave everyone an equal voice in the political process and allowed for the development of a more just society. However, he also criticized the French Revolution for creating economic chaos as well as fanning the flames of nationalism, which would later become a problem for Germany and other European countries. Nevertheless, the ideals of the French Revolution inspired Karl Marx, and he dedicated one of his most famous books to them: “Das Kapital.”

He Was An Early Adopter

Karl Marx was one of the earliest adopters of new technologies, and he spent a lot of time thinking about ways in which he could use the power of technology to help promote Socialist ideals. For example, in 1843, while still living in Germany, he published a paper arguing that the stage was the perfect medium for the dissemination of Socialist ideas. He wrote: “I am of the opinion that the most suitable and practicable method of communication for the purposes of Social Reform is the stage. It is the best possible medium for presenting principles in action, for explaining complicated ideas in an intelligible manner, and for impressing facts on the minds of the reader.” So, he not only used writing, but he also experimented with speech during his time on stage.

He Liked To Travel

Karl Marx liked to travel, and he even wrote a famous essay about the importance of traveling. In it, he discussed the value of a trip to Belgium, the freedom that traveling provides, and how much he appreciated the opportunity to broaden his horizons.

“Belgium is, to my mind, the best country for a walk. It is so delightful to look at the luxuriant vegetation of the meadows, the abundance of flowers, the clear blue sky, and the people who seem to be enjoying themselves so much,” he wrote.

He Thought The Workers Were The Reason Behind The Industrial Revolution

Karl Marx believed that the Industrial Revolution was not only important for its own sake, but that it was also a symptom of a broader problem. In a letter to his friend Engels in 1853, he wrote: “The emancipation of the working class must be the act of the working class themselves. The emancipation of the slaves was an act of the early Christians, the emancipation of women is an act of the women of this country, and the emancipation of the working class is the act of the working class.” In other words, the solution to society’s ills was not going to come from on high (the monarchy or the aristocracy), but from the people themselves, and this was the driving force behind the growth of Socialist and communist movements in the mid-19th century.

He Knew How To Party

Karl Marx was a very social person, and he loved to party. In fact, one of his nicknames was “Comrade,” and he often spent his time during his travels to different countries visiting friends and participating in social events with them. In many of his writings, there are references to his fondness for partying. In a letter to his friend Friedrich Engels, he wrote: “I can quite see that Political Economy, if you want to call it by its right name, is simply the science of the organization of labour, and that all the issues which it raises are mere administrative issues. Nevertheless, I still maintain that it is a very important subject because all revolutions and major social changes in history have always begun with a bang (literally) and ended up being a party.” So, even though he was probably not planning on it when he wrote this, Karl Marx’s theory of history would eventually lead, through Friedrich Engels, to the foundation of the modern day social sciences, namely sociology and political science.

He Dated A Married Woman

It’s no secret that Karl Marx was ahead of his time in terms of thinking outside of the box, but even by the standards of his day, it was a rather unconventional choice to date a married woman. In a letter to his friend Friedrich Engels, he wrote: “I have been told that my liaison with this woman is considered rather scandalous. These people don’t know how to take a joke. I assure you that it is not the case, and that I have the greatest discretion when it comes to matters of love and marriage.” So, although he didn’t end up marrying her, he did have some unusual experiences as a bachelor that would shape the rest of his life.