In 1864, Abraham Lincoln would receive a letter from an organization known as the International Workingmen’s Association. The letter congratulated Lincoln on his reelection and praised his making the abolition of slavery into the Union’s mission during the Civil War.
The letter was signed by the Association’s Central Council, composed of a number of prominent European socialists and trade unionists, but one signature stands out among the others: that of Karl Marx. Queue thunderbolts in the background.
It’s quite likely that Lincoln already knew who Marx was; after all, he was the European correspondent and a frequent writer for the New York Daily Tribune, one of the most popular newspapers of the Republican Party, which Lincoln read regularly.
While Marx’s writings mostly concerned the various affairs of European politics, after the outbreak of the Civil War he became an outspoken advocate of the Union cause.
He diagnosed the fears of the Southern slaveholding aristocracy, who wanted to secure their continued economic and political dominance, as the war’s cause and advocated for the Union to abolish slavery.