Michael R. Krätke (2018)
In 1881–1882, Marx undertook extensive historical studies, covering a large part of what was then known as “world history”. The four large notebooks with excerpts from the works of (mainly) two leading historian of his time, Schlosser and Botta, have remained largely unpublished. In this article, Marx’s last studies of the course of world history are contextualized: Marx’s previous historical studies and his ongoing, but unfinished work on the critique of political economy. The range and scope of his notes is astoundingly broad, going far beyond European history and actually covering many other parts of the world. Marx’s focus in these studies supports the interpretation offered in the article: that the author of “Capital” was fascinated by the long process of the making of the modern states and the European states system, one of the crucial prerequisites of the rise of modern capitalism in Europe.