The New International Encyclopædia/Bakunin, Mikhail

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The New International Encyclopædia
Bakunin, Mikhail
Edition of 1905. See also Mikhail Bakunin on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

BAKUNIN, bȧ-kōōn'yḗn, Mikhail (1814-76). A Russian agitator and writer. He was a member of an aristociatic family, and after serving in the army from 1832 to 1838, traveled in Germany, where he devoted himself to the study of philosophy. His liberal tendencies had become marked even before he left Russia. In 1841 he was in close association with the leaders of the Young-German movement at Berlin, and in 1843 he appears as fraternizing with the Polish exiles in Paris. He passed a number of years in Switzerland, where he became prominent in communistic circles. In 1847 the Russian Government demanded his return to Russia, and, upon his refusal, confiscated his property. In the same year he was expelled from Paris upon the demand of the Russian authorifies as the result of a violent speech in which he called upon the Poles and Russians to unite for the overthrow of the absolute monarchy. During the two years following he was plunged into the vortex of the revolutionary movement which was then convulsing all Europe. We find him at Berlin shortly after the outbreak of the March Revolution in 1848; in June of the same year he took part in the Pan-Slavic Congress at Prague and in the disturbances which followed, and in May, 1849, he was one of the leaders of the insurrection at Dresden, and became a member of the Revolutionary Government there. He was taken prisoner at Chemnitz, and was condemned to death in May, 1850, but the sentence was commuted to imprisonment for life. After passing through the hands of the Austrian authorities, Bakunin was handed over to the Russian officials, and was sent to Eastern Siberia in 1855. In 1860 he received permission to remove to the Amur region, whence he succeeded in making his escape on an American ship to Japan. Proceeding to London by way of the United States, he threw himself into the Socialistic movement, which was then making rapid progress under the leadership of Marx and Engels. In 1869 he founded the Social Democratic Alliance, which soon joined the International Workingmen's Association. By this time, however, he had become a believer in militant anarchism, and he attempted to impose his doctrines upon the association, whose policy was one of peaceful agitation. This led to his expulsion in 1872. In 1873 Bakunin retired from active life and spent the remainder of his days in Switzerland. He died at Bern July 1, 1876. A list of his writings, comprising mainly articles in newspapers and periodicals, covers ten printed pages in Nettlau's Bibliographie de l'anarchie (Paris, 1897).