The study deals with the second half of the 1860s and on the basis of Marx’s works and documents of the First International and its sections it gives a picture of the complexities of the movement which in the field of education, too, was under the influence of utopian socialism, trade unionism, Proudhonism, Lassallism, anarchism and the like. Through the intermediary of Marx’s Instructions of 1866 and the first volume of his Capital of 1867, delegates to congresses proceding from the principles of the works of Marx and his collaborators exposed the educational conceptions of non-Marxist streams in the international labour movement as one-sided and contradictory, and formulated more precisely the fundamentals of the Marxist conception. We refer, above all, to the relationships of economics, politics, and educational phenomena, to the illusions about the role of these phenomena in the life of society and its revolutionary reconstruction, to the goal of education and its constituent parts, especially the correlations between mental education, physical education and productive work, to education by means of a People’s State, to free education, to working-class educational institutions and the relationships between the educational, cultural activities in these institutions and politically educational activities, to the relationships of ethics, morale and moral training on an anti-religious basis, but particularly to the problems involved in the so-called integral education, which was partly realized in the programme of the Paris Commune and in the education of Franch orphans in the boarding institute headed by P. Robin.
The period of the development of Marxist views on moral education and instruction before 1864 in the critical appraisal of the development of education under capitalism and the position of children and adolescents of working-class origin under the conditions of exploitation of their work clarified the basic questions and problems of approach to moral training and instruction as to phenomena of the life of society. The activities of the First International, on the basis of international cooperation in the labour movement and by way of discussions and polemics, contributed to making these basic questions and problems more precise and to spreading congress resolutions into individual states. Its work is a significant chapter in the development of Marxist pedagogy before the Paris Commune of 1871 and its programme of a democratic, secular and working school.