The texts before us are relatively early works. They predate the famous Manifesto of the Communist Party of 1848. Their importance lies in this: that here historical materialism is outlined and defended for the first time. This new philosophy is elaborated in the course of Marx and Engels' effort to settle accounts with previous German philosophy—and, perhaps, with philosophy as such. The new outlook is developed, therefore, in the context of polemic against Hegel and Feuerbach, precisely the thinkers that they most admired earlier in fact.