The New International Encyclopædia/Bebel, Ferdinand August
BEBEL, bā′bel, Ferdinand August (1840—). A leader of the Social-Democratic Party in Germany. He was born at Cologne, set up as a master-turner at Leipzig in 1864, identified himself with the Socialistic movement among the working classes, and in 1867 became chairman of the permanent committee of the German workingmen's unions. In 1869 he assisted at Eisenach in founding the Social-Democratic Party, which was closely affiliated with the International Workingmen's Association, established at London by Karl Marx. He was accused in 1872 of projected high treason against the Kingdom of Saxony and the German Empire, and of lèse-majesté against the German Emperor. On the combined charges he was sentenced to imprisonment for two years and nine months. His incarceration on these and subsequent charges has, however, served only to increase his prestige among his party associates. In 1867 he was elected deputy to the North German Diet, and since 1871 he has been almost continuously in the Reichstag, representing successively the districts of Glauchau-Meerane, Dresden, Strassburg, and Hamburg. In 1868 he became connected with the staff of the Volksstaat at Leipzig, and in 1891 with that of the Vorwärts at Berlin. Bebel is recognized as an effective orator. His publications include Der deutsche Bauernkrieg (1876); Die parlamentarische Thätigkeit des deutschen Reichstags und der Landtage (1876); Die Frau in der Vergangenheit, Gegenwart, und Zukunft (1883; later as Die Frau und der Socialismus, 27th ed., 1896); Die Sonntagsarbeit (1888); and Die Socialdemokratie und das allgemeine Wahlrecht (1895).