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(säN-külôt`) [French,=without knee breeches], a term loosely applied to the lower classes in France during the French Revolution. The name was derived from the fact that these people wore long trousers instead of the knee breeches worn by the upper classes. The term applied to the sectionary "elites" in Paris connected with the JacobinsJacobins
, political club of the French Revolution. Formed in 1789 by the Breton deputies to the States-General, it was reconstituted as the Society of Friends of the Constitution after the revolutionary National Assembly moved (Oct., 1789) to Paris.
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 and to the popular masses aroused during the revolutionary journées (mass protests). Sans-culottism referred to the collectivist ideology that valued fraternity above liberty and demanded economic controls. With the suicide of RouxRoux, Jacques
, d. 1794, French revolutionary. A priest in Paris, he abandoned the priesthood at the start of the French Revolution. Roux was a member of the Commune of Paris of Aug., 1792. As a leader of the enragés in the Paris sections, he helped to instigate (Feb.
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 and the fall of HébertHébert, Jacques René
, 1757–94, French journalist and revolutionary. An ardent supporter of the French Revolution, he gained the support of the working classes through his virulent paper Le Père Duchesne and was prominent in the Cordeliers.
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, sans-culotte power was neutralized. The enragésenragés
, term applied to a small group of Parisian radical extremists in the French Revolution. Rising prices and food shortages provoked them in Feb.–Mar., 1793, to pillage the city's food stores.
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 were a distinct group of sans-culottes.


See A. Soboul, The Sans-cullotes (1981).

References in periodicals archive ?
He clung to the form of law partly in order to prevent the sansculottes taking the law into their own hands through mob violence.
Unlike the French sansculottes, Giovanni does not seek vengeance against "the pampered sons of superstition, the tools of tyrants" (2: 86).
John Bull's acceptance of reform is equated with the surrender of his roast beef, plum pudding and porter to three unctuous and seedy sansculottes who address him with courtly politeness, but then offer him frogs to eat, before they attack him and trample him underfoot.
The French sansculottes, in substituting for God the will of the majority, completely inverted the relationship of individual to state.
Besides enduring house searches, interrogations, and arrest, Grace saw the heads of several friends impaled on sticks and paraded through cheering swarms of sansculottes.
Popular sovereignty" and "independence" of the people "whatever the number of individuals who compose it and the extent of territory it occupies," as the Parisian sansculottes proclaimed in 1795, [64] provided dominant conception of nationalisms in the West.
While it was apparent that men continued to dress for public life mostly in the pantaloons of the sansculottes, that is, in long pants in place of knee-breeches, in half-boots, frock coats, waistcoats and top hats that attest to the utilitarian influence of the French Revolution on dress, women's fashion, as Fouque was forced to admit with a note of resignation, had "restored" the cumbersome, laced-up and bustled shape of her mother's era.
Generally, Rose shows us the political apprenticeship of the Parisian sansculottes, learning the meaning of democracy in the popular societies and the sections.
To be sure, he identified himself with the sansculottes, whom he called "the lowest classes of society--the workers, the artisans, the retailers, the farmers" who "made and sustained" the Revolution (160).
The recently liberated Swiss wore them, as did the accompanying sansculottes.
Therefore the Revolution was internationalized, with the French Communist Party (PCF) and the Soviet Union now serving as honorary sansculottes.
It was in its own way Utopia Now, providing one were able to muster the overall hatred for formal art that the sansculottes were able to generate toward the aristocrats, or the militant peaceniks of the era toward the warmakers.