Doctrine of Babeuf

Despite the radical nature of such measures taken by the National Assembly as the abolition of nobility and the civil constitution of the clergy, social conflicts continued to manifest themselves after the National Assembly completed its work in 1791. Peasants continued to believe they were not getting all that was due them from urban merchants who bought their grain, while city dwellers continued to attribute the high cost of bread to large landowners hoarding grain in the countryside. Here Babeuf articulates a desire to overturn inequality by establishing an economic equality far beyond the legal equalities established earlier.


1. Nature has bestowed upon each and every individual an equal right to the enjoyment of property [tous les biens].

2. The purpose of society is to defend such equality, often assailed by the strong and the wicked in the state of nature, and to augment the general welfare through the cooperation of all.

3. Nature has imposed upon each and every individual the obligation to work; anyone who evades his share of labor is a criminal.

4. Both work and benefits must be common to all.

5. There is oppression when one person is exhausted by labor and is destitute of everything, while another lives in luxury without doing any work at all.

6. Anyone who appropriates exclusively to himself the products of the earth or of manufacture is a criminal.

7. In a real society, there ought to be neither rich nor poor.

8. The rich who are not willing to renounce their surplus in favor of the poor are enemies of the people.

9. No one, by accumulating to himself all power, may deprive another of the instruction necessary for his welfare. Education ought to be common to all.

10. The aim of the French Revolution is to destroy inequality and to reestablish the general welfare.

11. The Revolution is not complete, because the rich monopolize all the property and govern exclusively, while the poor toil like slaves, languish in misery, and count for nothing in the State.

12. The Constitution of 1793 is the real law of Frenchmen, because the people have solemnly accepted it; because the Convention had no right to change it; because, in order to supersede it, the Convention has caused people to be shot for demanding that it be put into effect; because it has pursued and slaughtered deputies who were performing their duty by defending it; because terror against the people, and the influence of émigrés, have presided over the fabrication and the alleged acceptance of the Constitution of 1795, despite the fact that it is not supported by a quarter of the votes obtained by that on 1793; because the Constitution of 1793 has sanctioned the inalienable right of every citizen to consent to the laws, to enjoy political rights, to meet in assembly, to demand what he deems useful, to receive education, and not to die of hunger; rights which the counterrevolutionary Act of 1795 openly and totally violated.

13. Every citizen is obligated to reestablish and defend the will and welfare of the people in the Constitution of 1793.

14. All powers emanating from the so-called Constitution of 1795 are illegal and counterrevolutionary.

15. Those who have raised their hands against the Constitution of 1793 are guilty of common high treason.

Source: John Hall Stewart, A Documentary Survey of the French Revolution (New York: Macmillan, 1951), 656–57.