Étienne Cabet

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Étienne Cabet
BirthplaceDijon, Côte-d'Or
Known for founder of the Icarian movement
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Cabet, Étienne


Born Jan. 1, 1788, in Dijon; died Nov. 8, 1856, in St. Louis, USA. French publicist, writer, lawyer, utopian communist.

Cabet, the son of an artisan, was a participant in the Carbonari movement and the Revolution of 1830. As a historian of revolution, he wrote the Popular History of the French Revolution 1789-1830 (vols. 1-4, 1839-40). In 1833 he became the publisher of the journal Le Populaire. Because of repression he emigrated to Belgium. In 1834, Cabet went to live in Great Britain, where he became acquainted with R. Owen. In 1940 he wrote the book How I Became a Communist and the novel Voyage to Icaria (Russian translation, vols. 1-2, 1935). In the novel, Cabet depicted communism as an association founded on social equality, brotherhood, unity, and democracy in accordance with the principles of reason and the demands of nature.

Cabet’s Utopia had petit bourgeois features, such as the equalization of consumption, the preservation of privately owned agricultural enterprises, and the preservation under communism of a pantheistic kind of religion. He believed that communism could be achieved through persuasion and peaceful reforms. As a whole his Utopia has much in common with the views of 18th-century Utopian communists. In comparison with the teachings of the most important socialist thinkers of the first half of the 19th century, Cabet’s Utopia represented a step backward. However, because of the undeveloped class consciousness of the proletariat at that time, his Icarian Communism was widely accepted by French artisans and workers. K. Marx characterized him as being France’s “most popular, although the most superficial, representative of communism”(K. Marx and F. En-gels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 2, p. 146). In 1843, Cabet began publishing The Icarian Almanac… With the assistance of R. Owen in 1848 he obtained a plot of land in Texas and organized a colony of Icarians there. Dissension among the members led to a crisis, which resulted in the exclusion of Cabet from the colony. In 1856, shortly before his death, he founded another community.


Lux, H. E. Kabe i ikariiskii kommunizm. St. Petersburg, 1906. (Translated from German.)
Hepner, A. Ikariitsy o Severnoi Amerike. St. Petersburg, 1906. (Translated from German.)
Volgin, V. P. Frantsuzskii utopicheskii kommunizm. Moscow, 1960. Pages 207-38.
Istoriia frantsuzskoi literatury, vol. 2. Moscow, 1956.
Bonnaud, F. Cabet et son oeuvre. Paris, 1900.
Prudhommeaux, J. Icarie et son fondateur, E. Cabet. Paris, 1907.
Angrand, P. E. Cabet et la République de 1848. Paris, 1948.
Cretinon, J. F., and F. M. Lacour. Voyage en Icarie. … Paris, 1952.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
It was a crude, rough-hewn, purely instinctive sort of communism; still, it touched the cardinal point and was powerful enough amongst the working class to produce the Utopian communism of Cabet in France, and of Weitling in Germany.
Este es el espiritu que anima los fundamentos del igualitarismo, anarquismo, socialismo, comunismo, presentes en las obras de Henri de Saint-Simon, Charles Fourier, Victor Considerant, Friedrich Engels, Karl Marx, Flora Tristan, Etienne Cabet, Graco Babeuf, Filippo Buonarroti, Auguste Blanqui o Henry George, entre otros (Benevolo, 1976).
Poyen (Brownson's friend); Emerson, Alcott, Parker, Fourier, Proudhon, Charles Newcomb, Garrison, Mazzini, Cabet and Frances (Fanny) Wright appear under transparent masks (cf.
She extracts from cultural productions in 1842 and 1848 strategies deployed to criticize the socialist and anarchist philosophies of Etienne Cabet and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon.
Gauny junto-con-por los prisioneros, aun sin poseer la ciencia de los filosofos que desentranan los secretos de la explotacion y la desigualdad, conocian esos secretos; mas aun, dicho conocimiento no se afincaba para reafirmar una identidad de ser prisionero como delincuente y perturbador del orden establecido, perteneciente a una raza de obreros condenados a las libaciones de la inferioridad de su raza y a la repeticion del circulo de la dominacion a la que los subyugaban otra clase y sus mismos apetitos; viciosos que las encuestas sobre los trabajadores de los Archivos Cabet (Ranciere, 2010, p.
In that article, Karl Marx announced that he was not in favor of 'raising a dogmatic banner'--such as the 'actually existing communism as taught by Cabet, Dezamy, Weitling, etc.' So, he declared,
Of course we can find some noteworthy exceptions to this model, such as William Morris' News from Nowhere, in which the ideal is not an advance in science and technology, but a romantic return to a bucolic way of life, or the asceticism of Etienne Cabet in his Icaria.
Jennings centers his sweeping tale around the giants of the time: Ann Lee and the Shakers, Robert Owen and New Harmony, Charles Fourier and the Fourierist Phalanxes, Etienne Cabet and Icaria, and John Humphrey Noyes and the Oneida Community.