Karl Marx was born on 5 May 1818 in Trier, an "ancient Cathedral town in the German Rhineland."
Both Marx's parents were Jewish. However his father, a successful legal officer, converted to Lutheran Christianity in 1817 in order to "evade a degree excluding Jews from public office."
Marx grew up in a comfortable middle class home and after being educated at Trier High School went to Bonn University in 1835 to study law.
In the summer of 1836 he became secretly engaged to Jenny von Westphalen. The move was opposed by both sets of parents. Indeed some of the Westphalen's were "extreme reactionaries" and Jenny's brother became a Prussian cabinet minister in the 1850's. Given this, it is little surprise that they didn't actually marry until June 1843.
In October '36 Marx also moved to Berlin University. The original aim was to continue his legal studies but he was increasingly drawn to philosophy an din particular to the work of Hegel.
Hegel had been an "enthusiast for the French Revolution and for Napoleon." Later he became pessimistic and reactionary even describing the absolutist Prussian state as the embodiment of reason!
A number of young philosophers began to interpret Hegel in a radical way. Those were Young or Left Hegelians. They congregated in Berlin's Doctors' Club. Marx joined and was a close friend of Bruno Bauer, one of the leading left Hegelians.