sans-culottes [key] [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 Jacobins 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 Roux and the fall of Hébert, sans-culotte power was neutralized. The enragés were a distinct group of sans-culottes.
See A. Soboul, The Sans-cullotes (1981).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2023, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: French History