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(French sans-culotte, without breeches) In the French Revolution, one of the ill-clad and ill-equipped volunteers of the Revolutionary army; also a Parisian ultrademocrat of the Revolution. The working-class sansculottes wore long trousers to distinguish themselves from the upper classes, who wore knee-breeches (culotte). Allied with the Jacobins (seeJacobin Club) in the Reign of Terror, sansculottes included ultrademocrats of all classes. Their influence waned after the fall of Maximilien Robespierre in 1794. See alsoJacques Hébert.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on sansculotte, visit Britannica.com.