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A collection of quotes and thoughts by Friedrich Engels on working-class, beliefs, books, beard, theory, condition, nature, art, history, reason, judgement and class.

73 Friedrich Engels Quotes On Education, Religion, Books Etc

Quick Facts

Famous As: Philosopher

Born On: November 28, 1820

Died On: August 5, 1895

Born In: Barmen, Germany

Died At Age: 74

Friedrich Engels was an illustrious German journalist, philosopher, businessman and social scientist. He was the founder of ‘Marxist Theory’ along with Karl Max. He published his thoughts and personal observations in a book titled, ‘The Conditions of Working Class in England’ in 1845. He authored and co-authored several other works including ‘The Communist Manifesto’, which he co-authored with Marx. He was also behind organising Marx’s notes on ‘Theories of Surplus Value’ which were later published by him as ‘Capital’ fourth volume. We have rounded some famous quotes and sayings by Friedrich Engels which have been excerpted from his books, writings, philosophies, researches, thoughts, works and life. Here is a compilation of quotations and thoughts by Friedrich Engels on monarchy, civilization, recognition, criminal, paris, dictatorship, freedom etc which have a large readership and are quoted widely.

An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory.

Friedrich Engels

Just as Darwin discovered the law of evolution in organic nature, so Marx discovered the law of evolution in human history; he discovered the simple fact, hitherto concealed by an overgrowth of idealogy [sic], that mankind must first of all eat and drink, have shelter and clothing, before it can pursue politics, science, religion, art etc.

Friedrich Engels

Thus at every step we are reminded that we by no means rule over nature like a conqueror over a foreign people, like someone standing outside nature - but that we, with flesh, blood and brain, belong to nature, and exist in its midst, and that all our mastery of it consists in the fact that we have the advantage over all other creatures of being able to learn its laws and apply them correctly.

Friedrich Engels

From the first day to this, sheer greed was the driving spirit of civilization.

Friedrich Engels

No nation can be free if it oppresses other nations.

Friedrich Engels

Ideas often kindle each other, like electrical sparks.

Friedrich Engels

...it was always our view that in order to attain this [proletarian revolution] and the other far more important aims of the future social revolution, the working class must first take possession of the organised political power of the state and by its aid crush the resistance of the capitalist class and organise society anew.

Friedrich Engels

A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets and cannon - authoritarian means, if such there be at all; and if the victorious party does not want to have fought in vain, it must maintain this rule by means of the terror which its arms inspire...

Friedrich Engels

The proletarians, driven to despair, will seize the torch which Stephens has preached to them; the vengeance of the people will come down with a wrath of which the rage of 1795 gives no true idea. The war of the poor against the rich will be the bloodiest ever waged.

Friedrich Engels

All the other large and small nationalities and peoples are destined to perish before long in the revolutionary world storm... The next world war will result in the disappearance from the face of the earth not only of reactionary classes and dynasties, but also of entire reactionary peoples. And that, too, is a step forward.

Friedrich Engels

One day we shall certainly 'reduce' thought experimentally to molecular and chemical motions in the brain; but does that exhaust the essence of thought?

Friedrich Engels

The proletariat uses the State not in the interests of freedom but in order to hold down its adversaries, and as soon as it becomes possible to speak of freedom the State as such ceases to exist.

Friedrich Engels

If there were no Frenchwomen, life wouldn't be worth living.

Friedrich Engels

Competition permits the capitalist to deduct from the price of labour power that which the family earns from its own little garden or field; the workers are compelled to accept any piece wages offered to them, because otherwise they would get nothing at all, and they could not live from the products of their small-scale agriculture alone, and because, on the other hand, it is just this agriculture and landownership which chains them to the spot and prevents them from looking around for other employment.

Friedrich Engels

By bourgeoisie is meant the class of modern capitalists, owners of the means of social production and employers of wage labor. By proletariat, the class of modern wage laborers who, having no means of production of their own, are reduced to selling their labor power in order to live.

Friedrich Engels

In 10 years, this sleepy Canada will be ripe for annexation - the farmers in Manitoba, etc., will demand it themselves. Besides, the country is half annexed already socially - hotels, newspapers, advertising, etc., all on the American pattern.

Friedrich Engels

Don't forget any affront done to you and to all our people, the time of revenge will come and must be put to good use.

Friedrich Engels

People think they have taken quite an extraordinarily bold step forward when they have rid themselves of belief in hereditary monarchy and swear by the democratic republic. In reality, however, the state is nothing but a machine for the oppression of one class by another, and indeed in the democratic republic no less than in the monarchy.

Friedrich Engels

It is a curious fact that with every great revolutionary movement the question of 'free love' comes into the foreground.

Friedrich Engels

The way in which the vast mass of the poor are treated by modern society is truly scandalous. They are herded into great cities where they breathe a fouler air than in the countryside which they have left.

Friedrich Engels

The first class opposition that appears in history coincides with the development of the antagonism between man and woman in monogamous marriage, and the first class oppression coincides with that of the female sex by the male.

Friedrich Engels

Labour is the source of all wealth, the political economists assert. And it really is the source -- next to nature, which supplies it with the material that it converts into wealth. But it is even infinitely more than this. It is the prime basic condition for all human existence, and this to such an extent that, in a sense, we have to say that labour created man himself.

Friedrich Engels

Naturally, the workers are perfectly free; the manufacturer does not force them to take his materials and his cards, but he says to them..'If you don't like to be frizzled in my frying- pan, you can take a walk into the fire.

Friedrich Engels

In science, each new point of view calls forth a revolution in nomenclature.

Friedrich Engels

Ireland still remains the Holy Isle whose aspirations must on no account be mixed with the profane class-struggles of the rest of the sinful world ... the Irish peasant must not on any account know that the Socialist workers are his sole allies in Europe.

Friedrich Engels

Three hundred years after its appearance Christianity was the recognized state religion in the Roman World Empire, and in barely sixty years socialism has won itself a position which makes its victory absolutely certain.

Friedrich Engels

I have learned more [from Balzac] than from all the professional historians, economists, and statisticians put together.

Friedrich Engels

Look at the Paris Commune. That was the Dictatorship of the Proletariat.

Friedrich Engels

The society that will organize production on the basis of a free and equal association of the producers will put the whole machinery of the state where it will then belong: into the museum of antiquities, by the side of the spinning wheel and the bronze axe.

Friedrich Engels

The emancipation of woman will only be possible when woman can take part in production on a large, social scale, and domestic work no longer claims anything but an insignificant amount of her time.

Friedrich Engels

But the most horrible spot .... lies....immediately south west of Oxford Road and is known as Little Ireland. The race that lives in these ruinous cottages, behind broken windows, mended with oilskin, sprung doors, and rotten door-posts, or in dark, wet cellars, in measureless filth and stench....must surely have reached the lowest stage of humanity.

Friedrich Engels

We discovered that in connection with these figures the German national simpletons and money-grubbers of the Frankfurt parliamentary swamp always counted as Germans the Polish Jews as well, although this dirtiest of all races, neither by its jargon nor by its descent, but at most only through its lust for profit, could have any relation of kinship with Frankfurt.

Friedrich Engels

The first act by virtue of which the State really constitutes itself the representative of the whole of societythe taking possession of the means of production in the name of societythis is, at the same time, its last independent act as a State. State interference in social relations becomes, in one domain after another, superfluous, and then dies out of itself; the government of persons is replaced by the administration of things, and by the conduct of processes of production. The State is not abolished. It dies out.

Friedrich Engels

The slave frees himself when, of all the relations of private property, he abolishes only the relation of slavery and thereby becomes a proletarian; the proletarian can free himself only by abolishing private property in general.

Friedrich Engels

Bare-faced covetousness was the moving spirit of civilization from its first dawn to the present day; wealth, and again wealth, and for the third time wealth; wealth, not of society, but of the puny individual, was its only and final aim.

Friedrich Engels

The British Labour movement is today, and for many years has been, working in a narrow circle of strikes that are looked upon, not as an expedient, and not as a means of propaganda, but as an ultimate aim.

Friedrich Engels

All that is real in human history becomes irrational in the process of time.

Friedrich Engels

Firstly, the farmers, the most stupid set of people in existence, who, clinging to feudal prejudices, burst forth in masses, ready to die rather than cease to obey those whom they, their fathers and grandfathers, had called their masters; and submitted to be trampled on and horse-whipped by.

Friedrich Engels

Only sound common sense, respectable fellow that he is, in the homely realm of his own four walls, has very wonderful adventures directly he ventures out into the wide world of research.

Friedrich Engels

The state is not abolished, it withers away.

Friedrich Engels

Just as Marx used to say about the French Marxists of the late 'seventies: All I know is that I am not a Marxist.

Friedrich Engels

It would appear that the natural frontier of Russia runs from Dantzic or perhaps Stettin to Trieste.

Friedrich Engels

Political economy came into being as a natural result of the expansion of trade, and with its appearance elementary, unscientific huckstering was replaced by a developed system of licensed fraud, an entire science of enrichment.

Friedrich Engels

The anarchists put the thing upside down. They declare that the proletarian revolution must begin by doing away with the political organization of the state. But to destroy it at such a moment would be to destroy the only organism by means of which the victorious proletariat can assert its newly-conquered power, hold down its capitalist adversaries, and carry out that economic revolution of society without which the whole victory must end in a new defeat and a mass slaughter of the workers similar to those after the Paris commune.

Friedrich Engels

It is no longer a question anywhere of inventing interconnections from out of our brains, but of discovering them in the facts.

Friedrich Engels

The middle classes have a truly extraordinary conception of society. They really believe that human beings . . . have real existence only if they make money or help to make it.

Friedrich Engels

If in all ideology men and their circumstances appear upside-down as in a camera obscura, this phenomenon arises just as much from their historical life-process as the inversion of objects on the retina does from the physical life-process.

Friedrich Engels

And what is impossible to science?

Friedrich Engels

The free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.

Friedrich Engels

How do you think the transition from the present situation to community of Property is to be effected? The first, fundamental condition for the introduction of community of property is the political liberation of the proletariat through a democratic constitution.

Friedrich Engels

By the same right under which France took Flanders, Lorraine and Alsace, and will sooner or later take Belgium -- by that same right Germany takes over Schleswig; it is the right of civilization as against barbarism, of progress as against stability. Even if the agreements were in Denmark's favor -- which is very doubtful-this right carries more weight than all the agreements, for it is the right of historical evolution.

Friedrich Engels

Life is the mode of action of proteins.

Friedrich Engels

Do you charge us with wanting to stop the exploitation of children by their parents? To this crime we plead guilty.

Friedrich Engels

Hegel was the first to state correctly the relation between freedom and necessity. To him, freedom is the insight into necessity.

Friedrich Engels

A change in Quantity also entails a change in Quality

Friedrich Engels

Freedom does not consist in any dreamt-of independence from natural laws, but in the knowledge of these laws, and in the possibility this gives of systematically making them work towards definite ends.

Friedrich Engels

What is good for the ruling class, is alleged to be good for the whole of society with which the ruling class identifies itself.

Friedrich Engels

What is Communism? Communism is the doctrine of the conditions of the liberation of the proletariat. What is the proletariat? The proletariat is that class in society which lives entirely from the sale of its labor and does not draw profit from any kind of capital; whose weal and woe, whose life and death, whose sole existence depends on the demand for labor....

Friedrich Engels

Terror consists mostly of useless cruelties perpetrated by frightened people in order to reassure themselves.

Friedrich Engels

The executive of the modern State is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie.

Friedrich Engels

In this sense, the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.

Friedrich Engels

The history of all hitherto existing societies is the history of class struggles.

Friedrich Engels

Actually, each mental image of the world system is and remains limited, objectively by the historical situation and subjectively by its author's physical and mental constitution.

Friedrich Engels

What each individual wills is obstructed by everyone else, and what emerges is something that no one willed.

Friedrich Engels

Everything must justify its existence before the judgment seat of Reason, or give up existence.

Friedrich Engels

In a political struggle of class against class, organization of trade unions is the most important weapon.

Friedrich Engels

Some laws of state aimed at curbing crime are even more criminal.

Friedrich Engels

Without analysis, no synthesis.

Friedrich Engels

All history has been a history of class struggles between dominated classes at various stages of social development.

Friedrich Engels

The state is nothing but an instrument of opression of one class by another - no less so in a democratic republic than in a monarchy.

Friedrich Engels

Freedom is the recognition of necessity.

Friedrich Engels

Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.

Friedrich Engels

We find two great gangs of political speculators, who alternately take possession of the state power and exploit it by the most corrupt ends -- the nation is powerless against these two great cartels of politicians who are ostensibly its servants, but in reality dominate and plunder it.

Friedrich Engels