Works of Marx & Engels 1852

The Eighteenth Brumaire
of Louis Bonaparte[64]

by Karl Marx

Original Cover

Written: December 1851 - March 1852;
Source: Chapters 1 & 7 are translated by Saul K. Padover from the German edition of 1869; Chapters 2 through 6 are based on the third edition, prepared by Engels (1885), as translated and published by Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1937;
First Published: First issue of Die Revolution, 1852, New York;
Online Version: Marx/Engels Internet Archive ( 1995, 1999;
Transcription/Markup: Zodiac and Brian Baggins
Proofed: and corrected by Alek Blain, 2006.

On December 2 1851, followers of President Louis Bonaparte (Napoleon's nephew) broke up the Legislative Assembly and established a dictatorship. A year later, Louis Bonaparte proclaimed himself Emperor Napoleon III.

Marx wrote The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon between December 1851 and March 1852. The "Eighteenth Brumaire" refers to November 9, 1799 in the French Revolutionary Calendar — the day the first Napoleon Bonaparte had made himself dictator by a coup d'etat.

In this work Marx traces how the conflict of different social interests manifest themselves in the complex web of political struggles, and in particular the contradictory relationships between the outer form of a struggle and its real social content. The proletariat of Paris was at this time too inexperienced to win power, but the experiences of 1848-51 would prove invaluable for the successful workers' revolution of 1871.

See Chapter 6 for a succinct time line of the period.

Table of Contents:

Preface: Marx 1869

Preface: Engels 1885

Chapter I (Feb. 1848 to Dec. 1851)

Chapter II (Downfall of the Republicans)

Chapter III (Defeat of Petty-bourgeois democracy)

Chapter IV (Rise of Louis Bonaparte)

Chapter V (National Assembly vs. Bonaparte)

Chapter VI (Victory of Bonaparte)

Chapter VII (Summary)

deputies arrested at the Marie Building barricades on 2nd December in Saint-Antoine

“All revolutions perfected the state machine instead of breaking it.” (Ch. 7)