Born Nov. 15, 1757, in Alencon; died Mar. 24, 1794, in Paris. Figure in the French Revolution; member of the political club known as the Cordeliers and a leader of the left Jacobins.
Hébert founded the newspaper Le Père Duchesne in 1790. It won popularity among the lower classes through its topicality and through Hébert’s ability to sense the mood of the masses and to give the mood witty expression in simple language.
Hébert took part in the popular uprising of Aug. 10,1792, and became deputy procurator of the Paris Commune in December of that year. He waged a bitter struggle against the Girondins. Under the Jacobin dictatorship he advocated the use of extreme methods of terror and took a leading role in carrying out the policy of dechristianization. Hébert fought to purge the National Convention first of the Girondins and the Marais and then of the right-wing Jacobins. He was among those who instigated the arrest of the Enragés, although he supported the Enragés’ demand for a ceiling on prices.
In March 1794, Hébert and his supporters—the Hébertists— began agitating against the Jacobin government. After calling for a popular uprising, Hébert and the other Hébertists were arrested, tried by the Revolutionary Tribunal, and guillotined.