Victor d'Hupay

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Victor d'Hupay
Portrait de Victor d'Hupay (cropped).png
Portrait of Victor d'Hupay (ca.1790)
Died1818 (Aged 72)

Joseph Alexandre Victor d'Hupay (1746–1818) was a French writer and philosopher. He is best known as the first theorist of modern communism.

Life and works[edit]

In 1746 Victor d'Hupay was born into an aristocratic family in the village of La Tour-d'Aigues in the Luberon, Provence.

d'Hupay began writing his first texts on the rural economy when he was seventeen. He believed agriculture to be the basis of wealth, and followed the Physiocrat movement that advocated an economy based upon it just as Marquis de Mirabeau did.

He followed the example of Baron de La Tour-d'Aigues, who was interested in land development and had one of the largest libraries of the time on this subject. d'Hupay challenged the display of wealth of Bruny, and other barons, because he, as a follower of Rousseau, wanted a simpler more rural life away from the tumult of cities. He read Enlightenment philosophers, and wished to put their ideas into action.

In 1770, he bought the bastide of Puget in Fuveau and became nobleman. During his life, Victor d'Hupay divided his time between La Tour-d'Aigues, Aix-en-Provence and the neighbouring village of Fuveau, to the south of Montagne Sainte-Victoire. The restored family bastide in Fuveau was run according to his principles. Once his country house in Fuveau was restored, he published his first book, Projet de communauté philosophe, which advocated the idea of living in a sort of commune. In the book, he told how he wanted to gather in his new home a circle of friends for a life in community.

In 1785, he defined himself as a communist author - a word that has existed since the twelfth century to designate certain forms of pooling of goods - in the sense of a supporter of the community of goods. Around this time, just before the French revolution, he was referred to as a communist in a book review by Restif de la Bretonne; according to some sources, this was the first time that the word "communism" was used in print in its modern sense.

During the Revolution, Victor d'Hupay became enthusiastic about new ideas. He corresponded with Mirabeau and Bernardin de Saint-Pierre. He presented several projects of national education and models of government to the National Assembly, and militated for the suppression of marriage, which he saw as a form property owning. Despite his commitment to the revolution, he was imprisoned under the Terror and his house was looted. He wrote a little under the Empire and died at Fuveau in 1818, at the age of seventy-two.


The same year that d’Hupay died, Karl Marx was born in Trier, Prussia on May 5, 1818. He was born to a Protestant family though his parents, Heinrich Marx and Henriette Pressburg were both born Jewish, though his father converted because he wasn’t allowed to be a lawyer due to him being Jewish.

In 1844, Karl Marx met Friedrich Engels in Paris. In 1848, the two men, both Communist, published a short political pamphlet called The Communist Manifesto. The pamphlet popularized d’Hupay’s theory of Communism. In 1867, Karl Marx published the first volume of Das Kapital. While The Communist Manifesto was only a summary of Communism and the flaws of Capitalism, the Das Kapital series was an in-depth critique of Capitalism.

Marx died of acute bronchitis on March 14, 1883. Friedrich Engels, after Marx’s death, gathered a collection of notes by Marx that were the second volume of Das Kapital in progress and published them in 1885. 9 years later, in 1894, Engels published another collection of Marx’s notes that were the third and final volume of Das Kapital in progress, and published them. Engels died of laryngeal cancer in August 1895.

Using the ideas of Marx, who himself had been using the ideas of d’Hupay, Vladimir Lenin founded the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party in March 1898. The RSDLP stood up against the tsar of Russia, who Lenin opposed. In 1902, Lenin met Leon Trotsky. At a meeting in 1905, Lenin met Joseph Stalin. The three began to protest against the tsar together.

In 1912, the RSDLP dissolved and was quickly replaced by the Bolshevik Party.

In March 1917, members of the Bolshevik Party led a violent protest against the tsar in Lenin’s name. This protest is called the February Revolution. Eight monthes later, in November 1917, Bolsheviks led yet another violent protest called the October Revolution. The October Revolution successfully overthrew the tsar of Russia and the tsar institution as a whole.

Leon Trotsky led a military group called the Red Army that took over Russia and rebuilt it as the Soviet Union on December 30, 1922. Vladimir Lenin was made the first president but died one year into office on January 24, 1924.

Leon Trotsky and Joseph Stalin spent the next four years fighting over who should succeed Lenin. Stalin, in 1928, won and became the next soviet president. Leon Trotsky was forced to go into hiding in Siberia, then Kazakhstan, and finally Mexico.

Trotsky had collaborated in numerous attempts to overthrow Stalin and the Soviet government. While he was in Mexico, Stalin sent a Bolshevik loyal in Mexico to kill him. On August 20, 1940, the loyal fatally wounded Trotsky. Trotsky died from the wounds the following day on August 21, 1940.

In 1947, United States president Harry S. Truman led a Congress meeting discussing the Soviet Union. This meeting caused tensions between the Soviet Union and United States to rise to notable records, sparking a period known as the Cold War.

On March 5, 1953, Stalin died, and every Soviet president following him were less and less communistic. In 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev became the final Soviet president. While other presidents were Communist, Gorbachev was more of a Democratic Socialist and relaxed the views of the Soviet Union, introducing more liberal policies as time went on.

On December 26, 1991, the Soviet Union was dissolved.

See also[edit]


  • Grandjonc, Jacques (1983), "Quelques dates à propos des termes communiste et communisme", Mots, 7 (1): 143–148, doi:10.3406/mots.1983.1122
  • Lewis S. Feuer; David T. McLellan. "Karl Marx". Encyclopedia Britanica. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  • The editors of Encyclopedia Britanica. "Das Kapital". Encyclopedia Britanica. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  • Biography. "Leon Trotsky - Soviet Politician | Mini Bio | BIO". YouTube.
  • Robert E. Conquest; John C. Dewdney; Martin McCauly; Richard Pipes. "Soviet Union". Encyclopedia Britanica.
  • "The history of the Holodomor". Holodomor Victims Memorial.

Further reading[edit]

  • Nicolas Flippe, Victor d'Hupay, auteur communiste au XVIIIe siècle (to be published).

External links[edit]