Enfantin, Barthélemy Prosper

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Enfantin, Barthélemy Prosper

(bärtālmē` prôspĕr` äNfäNtăN`), 1796–1864, French socialist, sometimes called Père Enfantin. He became a leader of the movement started by the comte de Saint-SimonSaint-Simon, Claude Henri de Rouvroy, comte de
, 1760–1825, French social philosopher; grand nephew of Louis de Rouvroy, duc de Saint-Simon. While still a young man, he served in the American Revolution as a volunteer on the side of the colonists.
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. Under his guidance the Saint-Simonian school put increasing emphasis upon religious and moral regeneration and less upon political reform. Following a schism developing out of Enfantin's disagreement with Saint-Amand BazardBazard, Saint-Amand
, 1791–1832, French socialist. He founded (1818) a republican society, Les Amis de la vérité [Friends of Truth], and was a member of the Carbonari.
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 over marriage reform, Enfantin established (1832) a monastic settlement for the remnants of the movement at Ménilmontant. It disintegrated with the imprisonment of Enfantin for a year on charges of incitement to immorality and financial fraud. After his release he devoted himself mainly to business enterprises. His writings include Religion Saint-Simonienne (1831) and Life Eternal (1861, tr. 1920).


See his complete works (16 vol., 1868–78).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Enfantin, Barthelemy Prosper


Born Feb. 8,1796; died Aug. 31, 1864. French Utopian socialist; disciple and follower of Saint-Simon.

Enfantin was mainly attracted by the economic side of Saint-Simon’s teaching and his ideas of a “new Christianity.” After Saint-Simon’s death, Enfantin and Bazard headed the Saint-Simonian school, which gradually degenerated into a “church,” of which Enfantin became one of the high priests. Bitter disagreements among the Saint-Simonians on questions of religion, marriage, and the family led to the disintegration of the Saint-Simonian church community (“family,” end of 1831). Enfantin then set up in Ménilmontant (near Paris) a labor commune, where he attempted to implement his ideas of collective labor and free love. In 1832 this community was prosecuted, and Enfantin served one year in prison for the ‘‘offense against morality.’’ Later he participated in engineering works in Egypt (he was one of the first to submit a plan for the Suez Canal) and was director of the Paris-Lyon railroad. He welcomed the Second Empire and called on Napoleon III to promote the industrial development of France.


Oeuvres de Saint-Simon et d’Enfantin, vols. 1–14, 16–17, 24–34. Paris, 1865–74.


Volgin, V. P. Sen-Simon i sen-simonizm. Moscow, 1961.
Charléty, S. Enfantin. Paris [1931].
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.