Bebel (bā'bĕl), Ferdinand August, an able and influential leader of the German Socialists in the Reichstag, of which he served as member for over thirty years. Born at Cologne in 1840, he early in life became a turner by trade, and as early identified himself with workingmen's labor organizations, out of which he built up a progressive social-democratic party having a compact vote of three millions. Few Germans of his time engaged in public affairs made a more notable name than he, as his influence in labor-congresses bore witness, not to speak of the sympathy felt for him by large masses of followers, owing to his repeated imprisonments on a charge of high treason and of lese-majesté
against the German Emperor. Herr Bebel was a powerful and convincing speaker, an extensive contributor to socialistic journals and a writer of books, among them a life of the French socialist Fourier, and Die Frau und Der Socialismus. He died in 1913.