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After growing up in poverty in Cologne, Blum worked as a craftsman in different trades. In 1830, he joined a theater company in Cologne and started writing politically motivated poetry and plays. After moving to Leipzig in 1832, he came in touch with humanist and liberal circles, contributed to the liberal newspaper Zeitung für eine elegante Welt and joined Leipzig's freemason lodge.
Beginning in 1839, Blum became a leading figure in Saxonia's national-liberal circles; as a gifted orator and organizer, he helped establish Saxonia's opposition movement as a serious political force. In 1845, Blum organized the first German-catholic synod in Leipzig that marked the beginning of Germany's humanist free religious movement.
In 1848, Blum was sent to Frankfurt to join the National Assembly. As the leader of the radical liberal faction, he strongly opposed the Malmö Treaty between Denmark and Prussia that abolished Schleswig-Holstein's democratically elected government. He was also one of the most vocal supporters of popular sovereignty. When in October revolutionary fighting broke out in Vienna, Blum travelled there and joined the revolutionary forces. He was arrested on 4 November and executed on 9 November. His death became a symbol for the futility of Germany's 1848 rebellion; the day of his death marks the first of a series of events that led to November 9th being referred to as Germany's Schicksalstag (day of fate).
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