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The materialist conception of history, also known as historical materialism, is the historiographic paradigm of Marxism. The principle behind materialism is that material conditions are at the basis of the ideas expressed by each era, in opposition to idealism, which states that ideas create reality. Historical materialism is materialism as applied to history. Before the advent of historical materialism, historians would generally analyse historical events to result from a battle of ideas, and took for granted what each epoch said about itself. However, Marx and Engels elaborated the theory that historical events are in fact nothing but the result of material conditions, and that ideas dictate only the specific form. This method of analysis Engels termed historical materialism. (more...)