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Methodology in Karl Marx

Joseph O'Malley

The Review of Politics, Vol. 32, No. 2. (Apr., 1970), pp. 219-230.

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Fri May 25 11:21:13 2007
Methodology in Karl Marx
Joseph O'Malley

T H E development of Marx's mature social and political theory

may be traced back in his writings to his political journalism
of 1842-43, where a germinal doctrine on man's social nature
supports a normative concept of the nature and function of political
institutions. But his developing theory first achieved a measure of
systematic rigor in his Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right."
This work, Marx's earliest major theoretical writing, has lately
received increased attention from scholars.1 My purpose here is to
complement existing studies by highlighting certain methodological
features of the work, specifically the way in which Marx combined
elements of philosophical and political criticism in a systematic
effort to develop his own political theory in opposition to the method
and institutional conclusions of Hegel.

Marx's Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right (hereafter, the
Critique) was almost certainly composed at Kreuznach-am-Nahe
during the summer of 1843. Doubt regarding the date of composi-
tion stems from the fact that the first portion of the manuscript is
missing. The manuscript itself was not found until 1922, when
David Rjazanov discovered it among Marx's notebooks in the
archives of the German Social-Democratic Party in Berlin. It was
edited by Rjazanov and published for the first time in the first
volume of the Karl MarxlFriedrich EngelslHistorkch-kritische
Gesamtausgabe (hereafter MEGA) in 1927.2

This essay was written in the course of preparing a translation, with

introduction, of Marx's Kritik (1843), which Cambridge University Press will
publish late in 1970.
For example, Shlomo Avineri, T h e Social and Political Thought of Karl
Marx (Cambridge, 1968), pp. 8-40; Louis Dupr-5, T h e Philosophical Founda-
tions of Marxism (New York, 1966), pp. 87-108; Jakob Barion, Hegel und die
marxistische Staatslehre (Bonn, 1963), pp. 78-141.
Subsequent references are to the edition in Karl Marx/Friedrich Engels/
Werke (hereafter W e r k e ) (Berlin, 1964) I, 203-333. On the date of composi-
tion, see especially Bert Andrkas, "Marx et Engels et la gauche hC&lienne,"
Annuli, Instituto Giangiacomo Feltrinelli (Milan), VII ( 1965), 355, 356
note 1; also Rjazanov's remarks in M E G A I, 1/1, pp. LXXI-LXXV, 402; and
M E G A I, 1/2, pp. XXIV-XXX. On the discovery of the manuscript, see
Rjazanov's "Neueste Mitteilungen iiber den literarischen Nachlass von Karl

From comments made by Marx in writings that pre-and post-

date the Critique it is clear that he envisaged the work as constitut-
ing a criticism of ( 1) the actual political society of his day, espe-
cially the state-form of constitutional monarchy as it existed in
Prussia; ( 2 ) Hegel's political philosophy as set down in T h e Phi-
losophy of Right; ( 3 ) Hegel's overall philosophy. All of these critical
aims are achieved through a paragraph-by-paragraph analysis of a
portion of Hegel's Philosophy of Right, paragraphs 261 through
3 13 (in the original ms. probably paragraphs 257 through 3 13)
which deal with "the internal constitution of the state."3
In the pursuit of these multiple aims, Marx used three different
critical techniques in the course of the Critique. The first, borrowed
from Ludwig Feuerbach, is generally referred to as "transformative"
criticism; it is directed against the essential character of Hegelian
philosophy, which according to both Feuerbach and Marx is the
ultimate example of "speculative" thought. The second technique
is straightfonvard textual analysis and explication directed against
the content of Hegel's political doctrine and the structure of his
arguments. The third is "historico-genetic" criticism, probably in-
spired by Karl von Savigny4 as well as Feuerbach; this is directed
against Hegel's doctrine and, more especially, against the mcio-
political status quo and serves especially to clarify the role of eco-
nomic interests in the state.
Marx combined these three techniques in such a way that they
constitute steps in a single critical procedure which has the effect of
combining criticism of Hegel and criticism of the existing social and
political order. Transformative criticism clarifies the "mystical" and
"pantheistic" character of Hegelian philosophy. Applied to T h e
Philosophy of Right it allows Marx to disengage the empirical con-
tent of this work, that is, Hegel's account of modern socio-political
institutions, from the speculative philosophical framework. Textual
analysis then exposes the contradictions in Hegel's account, which
Marx und Friedrich Engels" (German transl. by Carl Griinberg), Archiu fiir
die Geschichte des Sorialismus und der Arbeiterbewegung, XI (1925), 385-
400, especially 391-392.
3 Marx's reference to the Critique are in his letter to Arnold Ruge (March
5, 1842), Werke, XXVII, 397; his Preface to A Contribution to the Critique
of Political Eccunomy ( 1859), trans. N. I. Stone (Chicago, 1904), pp. 10-11; and
his Afterword to the 2nd German edition of Capital, I (1873), trans. S. Moore
& E. Aveling (Chicago, 1906), p. 25.
See Hasso Jaeger, "Savigny et Maxx," Archives de Philosophie du Droit,
XI1 (1967), 65-89.

are taken to be expressive of contradictions in the institutions them-

selves. Finally, historico-genetic criticism further clarifies the con-
tradictions in the institutions by tracing with the help of historical
research the genesis of the modern state. Except for the last step,
which relies on outside research in the literature of political history
and theory, Marx carried out his criticism wholly within the doc-
trinal framework of T h e Philosophy of Right. Key to this entire
critical procedure is Marx's judgment that within its peculiar phil-
osophic form Hegel's Philosophy of Right presents an accurate
picture of modern political society. This judgment allows Marx to
undertake a criticism of existing socio-political institutions by means
of an immanent critique of the Rechtsphilosophie. Even while
criticizing Hegel, then, Marx was complimenting Hegel's keenness
as an empirical observer.

Marx borrowed the technique of transformative criticism from
Ludwig Feuerbach. His first encounter with the latter was during
his university days at Berlin: and then and later he regarded
Feuerbach as the most serious of Hegel's philosophic succe~sors.~
In this respect, two of Feuerbach's works influenced Marx: The
Essence of Christianity (1841) and, more importantly, the "Pro-
visional Theses for the Reform of Philosophy" ( 1843). The first
contained Feuerbach's critique of religion, the gist of which was
his inversion of the traditional theological view which presented God
as the primary subject and man as the dependent being in whom
the divine qualities are expressed or objectified. Feuerbach's doc-
trine declares that man is the true subject and God a projection of
man's imagination, an objectification of man's own essential perfec-
tions. Instead of God being the ontological subject and man the
predicate, man is now declared to be the subject and God the
predicate. After establishing this subject-predicate (or subject-
objectification) conversion, Feuerbach proceeded to trace the
genesis of the concept of God in the human psyche-a procedure
that Marx later, in the Critique, referred to as "rational" criticism,
that is, criticism which reveals the genesis of the object being crit-
See, for example, MEGA I, 1/2, p. 280; MEGA I, 3, pp. 34, 151.
6 Ludwig Feuerbachs Siimmtliche Werke (Leipzig, 1883) VII, 26-27, 48 ff.;
T h e Essence of Christianity, transl. G. Eliot (New York, 1957), pp. XI, 12 ff.
Cf. in the Critique, Werke 1, 296.

In his "Provisional Theses" Feuerbach made explicit his tech-

nique of subject-predicate conversion used earlier in The Essence of
Christianity and presented it as a general method of criticizing
what he called "speculative" philosophy, especially the most
perfectly developed form of it, Hegelian philosophy. The truth
about God and man had been shown by converting the religious
subject and predicate, thus correcting the inverted world-view of
religion. T o find the truth hidden in the speculative (read "the-
ological") framework of Hegelian philosophy, then, one need only
systematically convert Hegel's philosophic subjects and predicates :

The method of the reforming criticism of speculative philosophy in

general is no different from that already used in the philosophy of
religion. All we need do is always make the predicate into the
subject, and thus into the true object and principle, in order to
have the undisguised, pure and clear truth."

What theology-and in parallel fashion speculative philosophy

-regards as infinite and transcendent is actually the essence of
some finite reality hypostatized, absolutized and conceived to be an
independent subject :

The infinite of religion and philosophy is and was never anything

other than some finite thing, some determinate thing, but mystified;
that is, a finite and determinate thing postulated as being not finite,
not determinate. Speculative philosophy is guilty of the same error
as theology, namely, the error of making the determinations of what
is actual or finite into determinations or predicates of the infinite,
this through the negation of the determinacy in which they are,
and which they are.8

This error characterizes German Idealism, which derives in this

respect from Spinoza; the governing concepts of Idealism, culmin-
ating in Hegel's concept of "the Absolute," are the product of this
mystification. Against this error, transformative criticism reasserts
the primacy of the finite, specifically of man himself, who is the
7 "Vorlaufige Thesen zur Reform der Philosophie," in Ludwig Feuerbachs
SGmmtliche Werke, 11, 244-268; the text above, p. 246. The passage parallels
exactly a conclusion in T h e Essence of Christianity, pp. 274-275: "We need
. .
only . invert the religious relations - regard that as an end which religion
supposes to be a means - exalt that into the primary which in religion is sub-
ordinate, (and) at once we have destroyed the illusion, and the unclouded light
of truth streams in upon us."
8 ''Vorlaufige Thesen . . .," p. 253.

true subject of the powers, qualities and capacities which speculative

philosophy identifies with mystical subjects such as "the Monad"
and "the Absolute" :

All speculation over right, will, freedom, personality without man,

outside of or completely above man, is speculation without unity,
necessity, substance, ground or reality. Man is the existence of
freedom, the existence of personality, the existence of right. Thus
man alone is the ground and basis of the Fichtean '1', the ground
and basis of the Leibnitzean Monad and the ground and basis of
the Absolute.9

Thus, Feuerbach's transformative criticism of speculative phi-

losophy is an extension of his original criticism of religion. He asserts
that this extension is natural and valid inasmuch as speculative phi-
losophy itself is a refined form of religious consciousness. Speculative
philosophy is really theology: "The secret of theology is anthropol-
ogy, but the secret of speculative philosophy is theology-speculative
theology which . . . transfers the divine being to this world as repre-
sented, determined and realized in it."lo In establishing this rela-
tionship between religion and speculative philosophy, Feuerbach's
"Theses" declare the latter, like the former, to be human self-aliena-
tion, a case of man elevating the perfections properly predicated of
himself into the status of independent beings.11
For Marx as for Feuerbach Hegel's philosophy is essentially the-
ological in character: when Hegel spoke of the Absolute he was
referring to what the ordinary man calls "God." Both men were
familiar with the texts in Hegel that identify the object of philosophy
with that of religion, namely, "eternal truth in its very objectivity -
God, and nothing but God, and the explication of God"; and that
characterize true philosophy as "divine service which renounces all
subjective whims and opinions while engaging with God."l2 I n
9 Ibid., p. 267; cf. p. 244: "Spinoza is the true founder of modern specula-
tive philosophy; Schelling is its reviver; Hegel is its perfecter."
lo Zbid., p. 244. Cf. Feuerbach's Principles o f the Philosophy of the Future,
written later in 1843, where he characterized Hegel as "the German Proclus,"
that is, the specifically modern Neoplatonic theologian; Principles . ., trans.
Manfred Vogel (Indianapolis, 1966), p. 47.
l1 As Marx put it in his 1844 Manuscrifits (MEGA I , 3, p. 152) : "Feuer-
bach's great achievement is (to prove) that philosophy is nothing more than
religion brought to and developed in reflection, and thus is equally to be con-
demned as another form and mode of the alienation of man's nature."
12G. W. F. Hegel, Scimmtliche Werke, Glockner ed. (Stuttgart, 1959)
xv, 37.
addition, both men would characterize as theological Hegel's spec-
ulative-philosophical standpoint, summarized by Hegel in The
Science of Logic, which reduces particular philosophic inquiries to
particular clarification of the Absolute's [God's] self-manifestation
and -realization, and which alone gives philosophy the status of
science :

The Absolute Idea alone is Being, imperishable Life, self-knowing

truth, and the whole of truth. The Absolute Idea is the only object
and content of philosophy. As it contains every determinateness,
and its essence is to return to itself through its self-determination or
particularization, it has various phases. It is the business of phi-
losophy to recognize it in them. . . . The derivation and cognizance
of rhese particular modes is the further business of the particular
philosophic sciences.13

Hegel alludes to this passage in the "Preface" to T h e Philosophy of

Right, alerting his reader to the fact that this work is one of the
particular philosophic sciences, that it applies the standpoint of the
Absolute to the matter of human socio-political institutions thereby
elevating political theory to the level of speculative knowing or true
science. In short, T h e Philosophy of Right will treat sodo-political
institutions in their empirical actuality as particular modes of the
Idea and as various phases of its self-determination.14
Against this approach, Feuerbach's "Theses" assert the claim of
transformative criticism: "The beginning of philosophy is not God,
not the Absolute, not being as the predicate of the Absolute or the
Idea. The beginning of philosophy is the finite, the determinate, the
actual."l5 Where Hegdian speculation declares that the state is
"divine will as present-Spirit which unfolds into the real form
and organization of a world,"l6 transformative criticism asserts
instead that "man is the substance of the state. The state is the
realized, developed, explicitized totality of the human essence."l7
Thus, at the cc4nclusic4n of his "Theses" Feuerbach anticipates the
political application of transformative criticism which will be one of
the principal features of Marx's Critique.
13 Hegel's Science of Logic, trans. Johnston and Struthers (London, 1961)
11, 466-467.
14Hegcl's PhLsophy of Right, trans. T . M . Knox (Oxford, 1962), p. 2;
cf. Knox's comments, ibid., pp. viii-ix, 298 note 4.
l5 "Vorlaufige Thesen . . .,"pp. 252-253.
16 G. W. F. Hegel, Siimmtliche Wcrke, VII, 350.
17 "Vorlaufige Thesen . .," p. 267.

Feuerbach's "Theses" came into M m ' s hands in February,

1843. Marx's reaction was one of enthusiasm; his sole reservation
regarding the work was that Feuerbach did not further apply his
critical technique to the sphere of politics, for it is precisely in that
sphere, he wrote to Arnold Ruge, that philosophy can reach ful-
fillment as social praxis.18 In undertaking the Critique shortly
thereafter Marx moved immediately to attack the speculative char-
acter of the Rechtsphilosophie. Beginning with his lengthy com-
ment on Hegel's § 262 he carried out what Feuerbach only hinted
at: a thorough and systematic application of transformative crit-
icisrn to Hegel's account of political society. Marx noted that Hegel,
true to the standpoint of speculative knowing, derived the institu-
tions of political society from "the actual (wirkliche) Idea": the
state is the Idea in its moment of explicit fulfillment as infinite
actual mind; the family and civil society-the other principal social
spheres delineated in Hegel's political theory-are the finite phase
of this fulfillment. Marx focused on Hegel's qualification of the
Idea as "wirklich," a term connoting "working" and "effective" as
well as "actual." Clearly, Hegel wnsidered the Idea to be the
efficacious principle, the acting subject which, moreover, operates
according to its own immanent teleological dynamism.
Correlatively, Hegel reduces actual human deeds and institutions
to the status of "allegorical" existences, that is, particular modes of
the Idea and phases in its self-determination. Actual institutions and
forms of social life become phenomenal beings, appearances of the
Idea, receptacles for its manifestation and actualization; they are
incarnations of an alien reality, thus do not have substantive being,
form, meaning or purpose of their own. This, in sum, is Hegel's
"logical, pantheistic mysticism": he made the Idea the creative,
mystical subject and empirical actualities its products and predi-
The Philosophy of Right is permeated with such mysticism. For
example, Hegel reduced the political sentiment (patriotism) of
individuals and the organism of the state to different aspects of
"the inner self-development of the Idea," generated the constitution
of the state out of "the organism," called the aims and powers of the
political body modes of existence and incarnations of "the essence

1s Marx tdkuge (March 13, 1843), Werke, XXVII, 417.

19 Werke, I , 205-208. Here "allegory" means "ascribing to any empirical
existent the meaning of actualized Idea"; ibid., 241.

of will," viewed the monarch as the incarnation d "the idea of

sovereignty," and discussed the legislature as a receptacle in which
"public affairs" achieve the status of existence (Darein). Thus,
Hegel consistently inverted the true order of things, making the
political subjects into predicates and vice versa; and this inversion,
Marx said, "constitutes the essential character of the Hegelian
method," while the resulting inverted view of reality is "the mystery
of The Philosophy of Right and of Hegelian philosophy in
The first effect of this speculative procedure is that empirical
realities are endowed with a mystical aura; for, although they are
emptied of intrinsic value and meaning, they are at the same time
endowed with the allegorical significance of divine incarnations. In
its way of speaking about things Hegelian philosophy gives the im-
pression of mystical profundity: "It makes a deep mystical impres-
sion," Marx noted, "to see a particular empirical existent established
by the Idea, and hence to encounter at all levels an incarnation of
The second effect of speculative thinking follows from the first
and relates to it as praxis to theory: it is difficult, if not impossible,
within the speculative viewpoint to be genuinely critical of the status
quo. In the sphere of politics speculative understanding is by its
nature uncritical of existing institutions and thus has as its practical
corollary absolute conservatism regarding the socio-political status
quo. Hegel was predisposed to find the status quo rational and was
practically committed to it a priori by the speculative postulate that
the empirical order is the manifestation of the Absolute. I t is no
surprise then that he found all of the principal institutions of the
existing order-for example, the monarch, the bureaucracy, the
Assembly of Estates, and entailed landed property governed by the
rule of primogeniture-to be rational and, in fact, deducible from
the Idea.
But transformative criticism strips the mystical aura from these
20 Ibid., 207-216, 223-225, 263-264.
21 Ibid., 206, 241. Marx's comment is doubtless inspired by Feuerbach
("Vorlaufige Thesen . .," p. 254) : "That which is as it is -and thus the
truth truly expressed - seems superficial, while that which is as it is not -
and thus the truth untruly and pervertedly expressed - seems profound." Cf.
in T h e Holy Family Marx's tongue-in-cheek explanation of "The Mystery of
Speculative Construction"; Werke, 11, 61-62; English in L. Easton and K.
Guddat, Writings o f the Young Marx on Philosophy and Society (Garden City,
1967), pp. 371-373.

institutions and restores the proper philosophic perspective within

which they stand as realities having intrinsic value and meaning.
Thus, the institutions are open to direct critical confrontation. This
is to cease viewing them as predicates of the Idea and as embudi-
ments of the Hegelian logical categories and to view them instead
"in their own terms." Now their rationality will be measured not by
the extent to which they represent moments in the self-fulfillment of
the Absolute, but by the degree to which they fulfill the social and
political inclinations of men, the genuine "subjects" of the political
The transition from a reliance on transformative criticism to use
of textual explication is especially evident in Marx's comments on
Hegel's 3 § 269-274 and 279.23 Here Marx's chief aim is to expose
the structure of Hegel's arguments, to clarify the way in which
Hegel established his logical relationship between the empirical
content and the speculative form of his doctrine, that is, the way he
deductively linked empirical institutions to the mystical Idea. He
judged Hegel's arguments to be fallacious on two counts: first,
Hegel's arguments proceed not from a consideration of the specific
character of actual socio-political institutions, but from a considera-
tion of the abstract categories of his Logic. This makes T h e Phi-
losophy of Right an exercise in Hegelian logic-that is, metaphysics
-but with the names of empirical institutions substituted for the
categories of the Logic. T h e Philosophy of Right is an effort to give
the Logic a political body instead of examining the logic of the
actual political body.24 Second, the link Hegel constructed between
the point of departure and the conclusions of his arguments be-
tween the categories of his Logic and the empirical institutions of
political society, is purely verbal. He strung his arguments together
by simply inserting "hence" or "thus" at key points in his develop
ment. Accordingly, the deductive link he established between the
ideal and the empirical orders is illusory and sophistic. I n T h e
Philosophy of Right Hegel is a "sophist."25
**On the essentially uncritical character of speculative philosophy, with
special reference to T h e Philosophy of Right, see Werke, I, 226, 240-241, 244,
263, 287; cf. Mam's comments in T h e Holy Family, Werke, 11, 63.
Werke, I , 209-220, 224 ff.
24Zbid., 208-209, 211, 216, 217, 250, 267.
25Zbid., 211-212, 218, 225-226. Marx repeated the charge later, in T h e
Holy Family, Werke, 11, 63.

Textual explication not only shows the fallacious character of

Hegel's arguments, it also clarifies the self-contradictions in Hegel's
account of existing socio-political institutions. Hegel himself sensed
but could not escape the self-contradictions to which he was driven
by his efforts to justify as rational the institutional status quo. A
comparison of texts from different places in T h e Philosophy of
Right shows, for example, that in order to justify entailed property as
a rational political principle Hegel contradicted his own philosophi-
cal doctrine on the family. Hegel had correctly identified the prin-
ciple of the family as love, and the family itself as the life of love
shared by all its members; he, however, gave his philosophical bless-
ing to an institution, entailed property under primogeniture, which
limits inheritance to the eldest son alone. Again, in order to justify
the rationality of primogeniture Hegel contradicted his own phil-
osophical notion of property. H e earlier characterized property as
something essentially alienable, that is, subject to the will of the
owner, indeed an extension and objectification of the owner's will;
but in his doctrine on primogeniture he endorsed an institution in
which landed property cannot be divided or sold by its owner,
cannot be disposed of according to his will, but can only be passed
on in toto to his eldest son, whose "ownership" is, in turn, subject
to the same limiting conditions. In this institution the owner actu-
ally becomes the property of his property; indeed it is the land
which inherits the owner, and land remains unchanged like the sub-
stance while a succession of "owners" like a succession of accidents
comes and goes.
Hegel's doctrinal inconsistencies, then, faithfully reflect irra-
tionality in the institutions themselves. So it is that Marx's criticism
in passages such as these is directed simultaneously against Hegel
and the actual institutions represented in his texts.26
At this point, Marx began to bring what he calls "true phil-
osophical criticism" to bear on the institutional structure of existing
political society. This is criticism which "not only shows the con-
tradictions [in the objects criticized] as existing, but clarifies them,
grasps their essence and necessity, and comprehends their own
proper ~ignificance."~~ Essential to this effort is a genetic account
of the contradictions in question, that is, an account of the way in
26 Werke, I , 243, 361 ff., 291 ff., 303-306, 329, 332 ff. Cf. the remarks of
Jean Hyppolite, "La conception h4ghlienne de I'fitat et sa critique par Karl
Marx," in Etudes sur Marx et Hegel (Paris, 1 9 6 5 ) , p. 120.
27 Werke, I , p. 296.

which the existing contradictory socio-political order came about

historically. Feuerbach had pointed out the inverted character of
the "world" of religion and then had further clarified it by tracing
its origins through psycho-genetic criticism. Marx, thanks in
large part to Hegel's Philosophy of Right, came to see the con-
tradictory character of the world of politics. This, however, is not
a world of mental realities or spiritual beings, but of historical in-
stitutions whose internal contradictions are best further clarified by
historico-genetic criticism. How God "comes about" may indeed
be a matter for psychological investigation; but how an irrational
socio-political order comes about is clearly a matter for historical
investigation. Accordingly, once Marx had subjected Hegel's earlier
paragraphs on the state to transformative criticism (especially !§
261 through 286) and then had added to this the kind of textual
commentary that highlights Hegel's doctrinal fallacies and contra-
dictions, he began increasingly to apply to his commentary the
results of historical research, which he pursued simultaneously with
his writing of the Critique. Thus, looked at overall, the Critiqw
developed from an immanent criticism of Hegel's philosophical
doctrine to a criticism of actual institutions, with the latter increas-
ingly assuming the character of a historical acc0unt.~8
The historical research which Mam brought to bear especially
in the second half of the Critique is recorded in five notebooks. Four
of these bear Marx's notation of date and place of composition: at
Kreuznach, July, and August, 1843. Altogether, Marx filled some
250 pages of excerpts, with his occasional comments, from 24 books
in political history and the0ry.~9
In this research Mam focused on three historical developments:
the genesis of the political institutions of his own day, especially the
bureaucracy and the Assembly of Estates, the gradual separation of
civil from political life, and the relationship between property and
the political state. Toward the end of this period of simultaneous
research and critical composition it was the political significance of
property that came to dominate Marx's interest. The point of de-
parture for his comments in the Critique remained Hegel's texts, but
he increasingly went outside the framework of Hegel's doctrine to
28 Cf. the remarks of Rjazanw in his Zntroductwn to MEGA I , 1/2, xxv ff.
29Detail~on the books and authors Marx read are given in MEGA I, 1/2,
118-136. On the notebooks as constituting evidence for the 1843 date of com-
position of the Critique, see especially ibid., I, 1/1, Ixxi-lxxv; and I, 1/2, xxiv-

bring in from his historical sources evidence for his critical judg-
ments. For example, a discussion early in the Critique of the rela-
tionship between civil and political life is obviously carried out
within the conceptual framework of Hegel's Philosophy of Hirtory;
whereas two later discussions of the same relationship suggest in-
creasing reliance on the Kreuznach historical research as the basis
for analysis and judgment.30 Indeed, once he had pointed out on
historical grounds the falsity of certain positions of Hegel, in his
commentary Marx at times appeared less concerned with confront-
ing Hegel than with giving voice to his own new historical discov-
e r i e ~ . ~This
l early historical research contributed both to his critical
appraisal of the institutional conclusions of Hegel's political theory
and to the development of his own social and political doctrine.
Coupled with his other critical techniques, it led him to conclude in
the Critique that Hegel's identification of the bureaucracy, entailed
landed property and the Assembly of Estates as agencies for achiev-
ing a rational political society was a case of grossly mistaken identi-
fication, rooted in speculative prejudice and ignorance of historical
facts. That conclusion led in turn to hi own identification, in the
Critique or shortly after, of the proletariat, the abolition of private
property, and universal suffrage as the proper agencies for the
achievement of that aim.32 In the subsequent development of his
own doctrine on these matters the techniques of transformative criti-
cism, close textual analysis and historico-genetic criticism remained
integral parts of Marx's critical method as he attempted, beginning
with the Critique through D m Kapita2, to achieve a comprehensive
"scientific" account of modern society in order to effect its transfor-
mation through political praxis.

30 Cf. Werke, I, 233-234, and 275-277, 283-287.

3l For example, ibid., 259, 276-277, 311 ff.
32 On universal suffrage, see especially Werke, I, 326-327; on the proletariat
and the abolition of private property (the latter, especially, already implied in
the Critique), see Marx's two essays, "Zur Kritik der Hegelschen Rechtsphilos-
ophie: Einleitung" and "Zur Judenfrage," composed just after he finished the
Critique and published in the Deutsch-franrdsische Jahrbucher (February,
1844) ; Weske, I, especially 354-356, 372-375, 390-391.