In French history, one of the three orders (with the nobility and the clergy) of the Estates-General before the French Revolution. The unprivileged order, it represented the great majority of the people. Its transformation with the Tennis Court Oath into a National Assembly in 1789 marked the beginning of the Revolution.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.For the full entry on Third Estate, visit Britannica.com.
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