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Renegade groups[edit]

"Without effective leadership of their own against the combined might of the Jacobins, the sans-culottes scattered into the rural areas of France to form renegade groups." How many people did this? Presumably, not all of the poor of Paris melted out of the city. Is there some citation for this? -- Jmabel | Talk 05:31, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

It is true that the term sans-culottes is pretty general, it does not necessarily mean that they were unorganized and the a group of united sans-culottes managed to storm numerous prisons containing wealthy upper class, performing their own short, quick, trials and executing the prisoners on the spot. This occured during the period known as the September massacres. -- Jsnit

Absolutely. But what does that have to do with my question? - Jmabel | Talk 19:42, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

Well I was trying to say that the sans-culottes were not just poor citizens who fled and formed renegade groups but actually organized some of their own rebellions. Also, I have read that many of the sans-culottes rallied around Georges Danton (although a Jacobin, they still felt that he was one of them), thus gathering around "effective leadership" However, this also brings up the question of "Was the sans-culottes' radical views conflicting with the Jacobins' radical views?" ("...against the combined might of the Jacobins,") Sorry no citation. And again I'm sorry I don't have the answer to your question of how many. JSnit 02:43, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

Also, perhaps to keep the statement more politically correct based on the lack of statistics on how many sans-culottes fled, the statement could be restated to say "some sans-culottes" or "a majority/minority of sans-culottes." JSnit 01:50, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

Certainly the Hébertistes did not rally around Danton (who, in any event was executed only 12 days after Hébert). I don't know what country you are from so the following analogy may or may not be meaningful (and I do not intend to suggest that any of the following are anything like revolutionaries): this would be like Bernie Sanders' followers rallying around Joe Lieberman, or Pat Robertson's around Rudy Giuliani. Or Tony Benn's around Tony Blair.
Are you sure you have your chronology straight? Yes, up to the death of Hébert the sans-culottes were an important political force; they continued to be moderately so until the fall of Robespierre, and they also were active later on several occasions such as François-Noël Babeuf's conspiracy of the equals. But what I'm asking here is, where do you get it from that in the year or two after 9 Thermidor the sans-culottes did anything of the sort. And, again, where does this claim come from of a bunch of Parisian wage-laborers scattering into the rural areas of France? - Jmabel | Talk 06:21, 30 November 2006 (UTC)
I have no problem with you removing the statement about them fleeing the rural areas, as we have no proof regarding the statement. Also, in case of a misunderstanding, I didn't post the statement in question... "where do you get it from..." I didn't post and I have never heard of it happening either. Also, I don't quite understand you analogy to the other names, if it was a reference to time period that they lived in, Danton and Hebert lived in the same time period. Is sans-culottes gathering around Danton out of the question for I may have misunderstood where I learned this. Also, I don't understand why the sans-culottes needed "protection" from the Jacobins... weren't the radical view of the sans-culottes similar to the radical view of the Jacobins? JSnit 16:39, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
It's all a matter of exactly when. In 1792, all of these people—Danton, Hébert, Robespierre, the Jacobins, the sans-culottes—were all on one side, and Danton was, indeed, a hero to the sans-culottes. But by 1794 it was a very different matter. Many sans-culottes (and Hébert and Jacques Roux) had moved very far to the left—beyond even the Jacobins—and Danton somewhat back to the center. Meanwhile, as the Reign of Terror progressed, the Jacobins became increasingly deadly to all who deviated either way. Hébert and Roux were among the enragés, the distinctly sans-culottes faction at this time; Danton and Camille Demoulins the most prominent of the indulgents. The leaders of both of these factions were killed, the enragés weeks before the indulgents. - Jmabel | Talk 06:41, 6 December 2006 (UTC)
Ah, thanks for the clarification. I got it now. Do we have any remaining issues with the sans-culottes main article? JSnit 22:58, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

Class and politics[edit]

While sans-culottes was originally a class term, as I understand it, it came to refer more to people holding a particularly radical (left of Jacobin) political position. Does someone have some citations for the evolution of the use of the term? -- Jmabel | Talk 05:31, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

I had never really heard sans-culottes as a reference to political opinion, but instead as only a class term. Although the reasoning behind making it a political term would be understandable since the majority of these sans-culottes/poorer citizens held a radical view making the two uses of the word almost interchangeable in a sense. However, if a higher class citizen held such a radical view I doubt that they would have been called a "sans-culotte", due to the fact that sans-culottes was a class term as well.JSnit 01:44, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

What is the basis for claiming that the term was of aristocratic rather than bourgeois origin? What other theories are there that make us refer to this etymology as "the dominant theory" rather than merely stating it? And is there a citation for any of this? - Jmabel | Talk 16:20, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

Interesting fact[edit]

"Culottes" is also french for "knickers" or "panties": ("panties" translated into French)

"sans" means "Without". —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 8 September 2006.

Glad you find it amusing, but it's not relevant to the encyclopedic topic at hand. - Jmabel | Talk 21:35, 11 September 2006 (UTC)
Well, it is relevant to the origin of the term. I had learned that culottes was the term that referred to the type of pants they wore (culottes being a kind with some extra knee padding), and since these culottes were generally considered to be "rich-man" pants, the poorer citizens rejected them, thus becoming "sans-culottes" or without knee pants which was a term that they adopted for themselves. JSnit 01:38, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
Which is already in the article. - Jmabel | Talk 06:22, 30 November 2006 (UTC)


This article positions Robespierre as an "extreme" radical but this was not the case relative to the opinion of the sans-culottes and Hebert, who viewed Robespierre as too moderate. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Sirgrotius (talkcontribs) 21 November 2006.

Quite. I'll take a look. - Jmabel | Talk 03:22, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

Removed from article[edit]

I removed this editorial comment from the article. Maybe it will be useful here. "They didn't support the Jacobins. They supported radicals and the Jacobins were hated by them. And Mr. Laity is wrong." Notinasnaid 08:16, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

Agreed. Everything is relative, and it appears Robespierre was actually trying to maintain the central position in terms of Revolutionary French politics. Compare his thoughts with Ebert and Danton, both of whom fell either side. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:56, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

Actually, the San-cullottes were one of the Jacobins' chief sources of support. The Jacobins were radicals, all of whose members in the legislature had voted for the death of the king. Robespierre was the President of the Paris branch of the Jacobin Club, and, hence, the consumate radical. The most radical Leftists tended to be members of the Corderliers Club of Paris, because of the fact that they were poor, and the Cordeliers charged lower dues that did the Jacobins. Marat & Danton were both members of the Cordeliers. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Edmonddantes92091 (talkcontribs) 04:50, 23 August 2010 (UTC)


Two of the three sans-culottes in the bottom picture are, in fact, wearing culottes. Does that confuse the issue? Susan Davis (talk) 20:12, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Remark moved from top of this page[edit]

to bad you are both wrong the sans culottes was a group of pretty much peasents who became uncontrolable and began to kill wrecklessly. They hated aristocrats and pretty much everyone who had money or property value. —Preceding unsigned comment added by [[User:|User:]] ([[User talk:|talk]] • contribs) 24 January 2009

"Without pants"[edit]

Regarding Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Pantlessness: the sans-culottes were not "without pants". This is a mis-translation. Culottes are distinct from trousers, and that was the distinction: see the contemporary images of sans-culottes for evidence. I've corrected this article appropriately. -- The Anome (talk) 16:57, 7 November 2015 (UTC)

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Sans-culottes/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

It's mostly text from 1911 Britannica, but there are significant contributions from other sources. There are two illustrations. A note in the "Sources" indicate they are incomplete, probably meaning there is text which can't be found in either 1911 or the other ref cited. This needs to be fixed, and probably more details on this group could be provided. Maybe some French Revolution infobox would be appropriate. Bob Burkhardt (talk) 11:16, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

Last edited at 11:16, 17 February 2009 (UTC). Substituted at 05:26, 30 April 2016 (UTC)