A visionary and agitator who wished to establish a communist republic of equals in France, Babeuf witnessed the storming of the Bastille. He eagerly embraced the aspirations of the revolutionaries of 1789 and drafted an article demanding the abolition of feudal rights. As the Revolution deepened, Babeuf’s commitment became more radical and increasingly at odds with public authorities. He established a journal known as The Tribune of the People, in which he attacked the leaders of the Reign of Terror and the economic outcome of the Revolution. The vigor of his condemnation of the Thermidorians, who ended the Terror, led to his arrest and the suppression of his journal. While he was in jail, his young daughter died of starvation, and he emerged from prison a confirmed communist.
To promote his radical ideals Babeuf founded a political club known as the Society of Equals, which was suppressed. His goal was the creation of a new regime that would provide the necessities of life to all. He proposed that the state guarantee the well-being of young children and provide equal education for all. On the eve of a projected uprising, Babeuf and several followers were arrested. He was made a public example by being taken to prison in a cage. At his trial Babeuf defended himself and his ideas eloquently, but his defense failed and he was beheaded.