Marx to Chief Burgomaster Gortz in Trier

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Author(s) Karl Marx
Written October 1845


First published in the pamphlet: H. Schiel, Die Umwelt des jungen Karl Marx, Trier, 1954
Published in English for the first time in Marx-Engels Collected Works, Volume 4

Marx's two letters (October 17 and November 10, 1845) to Görtz, the Chief Burgomaster of Trier, were connected with his attempts to obtain the official documents required for emigration to the United States of America. As is clear from the second document, the request was motivated by the fact that after Marx's arrival in Brussels the Prussian Government, on whose insistence the French authorities had expelled him from Paris, began to try to get him deported from Belgium too. It was apparently in order to deprive the Prussian authorities of a formal pretext for interfering in his affairs, that Marx went to the trouble of requesting permission to emigrate to the U.S.A., the receipt of which would have been equivalent to release from his obligations as a Prussian citizen. There are no other documents to indicate that he had any intention at the time to emigrate with his family to North America. Regardless of the outcome of these steps, which most probably failed, Marx officially renounced Prussian citizenship in December 1845.


Brussels, October 17 [1845]

Rue de l'Alliance 5, hors de la Porte du Louvain


Your Excellency,

I most respectfully request you kindly to obtain for me from the esteemed royal government administration in Trier a certificate for emigration to the United States of North America. My discharge papers from royal Prussian military service[1] are to be found in the office of the Chief Burgomaster in Trier or of the royal government administration there.

Your Excellency's most obedient servant,

Dr. Karl Marx



To His Excellency Herr Görtz, Royal Prussian Landrat and Chief Burgomaster

Your Excellency,

In reply to your esteemed letter of the 8th of this month I hereby state that my request of the 17th of the previous month for release from citizenship of the Kingdom of Prussia for the purpose of emigration to the United States of North America related solely to my own person, but, if it should be necessary for granting consent, I request that the release should be extended to my family as well.

Your Excellency's most obedient servant,

Dr. Karl Marx

Brussels, November 10, 1845

  1. In 1838 Marx was excused reporting for military service in Berlin because of a lung disease, and in 1841 he was pronounced unfit for military service.