Babeuf, Or Babwaf, Francois Noel, a French revolutionist, born in St. Quentin in 1764, executed at Vend6me, May 27, 1797. He began life as a surveyor's assistant. In his youth he was arrested on account of his subversive theories, and was also imprisoned on a charge of forgery, of which he was acquitted. He professed the fullest sympathy with the revolution in 1792, obtained several public offices, and in 1794 established, under the name of Caius Gracchus Babeuf, a journal called Le tribun du peuple, urging the most extreme socialistic action. His followers were called Babouvistes. In March, 1796, he organized a conspiracy for the overthrow of the authorities and the constitution, and for carrying his theories into practice by an equal distribution of property. Being betrayed in May, Babeuf and his principal adherents were arrested, and were tried at Vendome in the following year. Babeuf and Darthe were sentenced to death, and attempted to commit suicide, but were still alive when carried to the scaffold.
Of their accomplices 56 were acquitted, and 7 transported, including Buonarotti, who afterward published Conspiration pour Vegalite dite de Babeuf, with an account of the trial (2 vols., Brussels, 1828). Among Babeufs works are: Cadastre perpetuel (Paris, 1789), and Du systeme de depopulation, ou la vie et les crimes de Carrier (1794). Ed. Fleury refuted his theories in Babeuf et le socialisme en 1796 (Paris, 1851).