Armand Barbès (18 September 1809 – 26 June 1870) was a French Republican revolutionary and a fierce and steadfast opponent of the July monarchy (1830–1848).
He is remembered as a man whose life centers on two days:
12 May 1839, the day of the uprising in which the Republicans tried to overthrow the king, Louis Philippe.
His ill-considered actions on this day led to a sentence of life imprisonment; he was, however, released by the revolution of 1848; and
15 May 1848, the day when demonstrators invaded the Assemblée Nationale, where Barbès had been serving, for only about three weeks, as a deputy.
The demonstrators' ostensible aim was to urge the government to exercise whatever influence it could in support of the liberation of Poland.
Things got out of hand, however, and Barbès got caught up in what was perceived to be a coup d'état through the imposition of a provisional government.Barbès was again imprisoned, but he was pardoned by Napoleon III in 1854.
He fled into exile in the Netherlands, where he died on 26 June 1870, only weeks before the end of the Second Empire in France.
A most colorful character, he was nicknamed the Bayard of Democracy, presumably in honor of the chevalier, Pierre Terrail, seigneur de Bayard (1476–1524).
He was also known as the "peerless conspirator", and a modern historian has called him "a man of action without a program." Barbès is today the very paradigm of the nineteenth-century "romantic revolutionary" type, courageous, generous, and a true democrat.
He was called the "scourge of the establishment" by Karl Marx.