The Communist Manifesto
governing association in the mediaeval commune; here
independent urban republic (as in Italy and Germany), there
taxable "third estate" of the monarchy (as in France), afterwards, in
the period of manufacture proper, serving either the semi-feudal or
the absolute monarchy as a counterpoise against the nobility, and,
in fact, corner-stone of the great monarchies in general, the
bourgeoisie has at last, since the establishment of Modern Industry
and of the world-market, conquered for itself, in the modern
representative State, exclusive political sway. The executive of the
modern State is but a committee for managing the common affairs
of the whole bourgeoisie.
The bourgeoisie, historically, has played a most revolutionary part.
The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an
end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. It has pitilessly torn
asunder the motley feudal ties that bound man to his "natural
superiors," and has left remaining no other nexus between man and
man than naked self-interest, than callous "cash payment." It has
drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervour, of
chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy
water of egotistical calculation. It has resolved personal worth into
exchange value, and in place of the numberless and indefeasible
chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable
freedom—Free Trade. In one word, for exploitation, veiled by
religious and political illusions, naked, shameless, direct, brutal
The bourgeoisie has stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto
honoured and looked up to with reverent awe. It has converted the
physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet, the man of science, into
its paid wage labourers.
The bourgeoisie has torn away from the family its sentimental veil,
and has reduced the family relation to a mere money relation.