Biography of Étienne Cabet (1788-1856)

Writer and French utopian Socialist and social reformer, Member of carbonario movement. Cabet was born in Dijon, and studied law. Following an active participation in the revolution of July 1830 he/she was elected to the Chamber of Deputies. He/She founded the newspaper Le populaire (1834), where he/she wrote his articles presenting strong attacks against the Government, for what was condemned, and despite his Deputy status, Cabet was exiled. He/She had to take refuge in London, where, influenced by the works of the English humanist of the century XVI Tomás Moro and the movement of the Socialist Robert Owen social reform, adopted the Communist philosophy of collectivization of the means of production. In 1839 to Cabet was allowed to return to France, which brought to light a Histoire populaire de la révolution française 1789 a 1830 (popular history of the French revolution from 1789-1830, understood in 4 volumes published between 1839-40) and the novel Voyage en Icarie (voyage to Icaria, 1840). This latest work, which gained great popularity, draws an ideal society, in which the social and economic life is supervised by a popularly elected Governor. His philosophy attracted many followers, who were known as the Icarians. He/She later moved to the United States, and founded in 1849, with 280 of his hardcore followers, a collectivist Icarian colony in Nauvoo, Illinois. The population never exceeded the number of 1800 settlers, and only some of the ideas of Cabet were put into practice. In 1856, because of internal disagreements, Cabet gave up the project and with 180 disciples returned to found a new colony. He/She died that same year in Saint Louis, Missouri; but the movement founded remained in the United States until 1895.