Open main menu

The New International Encyclopædia/Becker, Philip Johann

BECKER, Philip Johann (1809-86). A German radical. He was born at Frankenthal, in the Palatinate, grew up extremely democratic in his beliefs, and became a common laborer by preference. For his participation in the revolutionary movements of 1830, he suffered imprisonment. He finally turned to Switzerland, which was then the home of political outcasts from every land. There he fought under Ochsenbein, against the Catholic cantons of the Sonderbund. Upon the failure of Hecker's attempt to revolutionize Baden (1848), Becker, who had organized troops for his support, returned to Switzerland and put himself at the head of an expedition of German and Swiss auxiliaries to support the cause of freedom in Rome and Sicily. Their movements being frustrated, he led his troops (1849) into the Palatinate and the Grand Duchy of Baden, where a rising had taken place, and took a prominent part in many engagements, displaying great courage and strategic skill. Becker afterwards became known as a leader of the young Socialist Party, an active agitator on behalf of the International Association of Workmen, and the editor of many Socialist organs. Later he became a revolutionary collectivist and an adherent of Karl Marx.