Joseph Weydemeyer


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Weydemeyer, Joseph

 

Born in 1818; died Aug. 26, 1866, in St. Louis. A figure in the German and American workers’ movements. A close friend of K. Marx and F. Engels.

Weydemeyer served in the Prussian Army as an artillery lieutenant but resigned in 1845 because of his political convictions. From the moment of its founding in 1847 he was an active participant in the Union of Communists. During the Revolution of 1848-49 he was one of the organizers of workers’ unions and democratic societies in Westphalia. He supported Marx and Engels in their struggle with the Wilich-Schapper splinter group. Threatened with arrest, Weydemeyer emigrated to Switzerland in 1851 and then to the USA, where he began the dissemination of scientific communism. In the 1850’s he became a leader of an American workers’ union which had been founded by German emigrants. He also worked with the New York Communist Club and with a number of other workers’ organizations. During the American Civil War (1861-65) he was a colonel in the Northern Army. He helped publicize the ideas of the First International in the USA.

REFERENCES

Marx, K. “Predislovie ko vtoromu izdaniiu ’Vosemnadtsatoe briumera Lui Bonaparta.’” In K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 16, pp. 27-34. (See index of names.)
Pospelova, V. “Iosif Veidemeier.” In the collection Marks i Engel’s pervye proletarskie revoliutsionery. [Moscow, 1961.]
Obermann, K. Joseph Weydemeyer: Ein Lebensbild. Berlin, 1968. (Contains a bibliography.)

L. I. GOL’MAN

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In Marx's October 16, 1851 letter to friend Joseph Weydemeyer in the United States, he commissioned his friend to publish one of the first editions of the Communist Manifesto in the United States.