In the French Revolution, the sans-culottes were the radical partisans of the lower classes; typically urban laborers. The appellation refers to the fashionable culottes (silk knee-breeches) of the moderate bourgeois revolutionaries, as distinguished from the working class sans-culottes, who traditionally wore pantaloons (pants). During the peak of their influence, roughly 1792 to 1795, the sans-culottes provided the principal support behind the two far-left
Sans-Culottes - Group of working-class men who supported the French Revolution. One of their most noticeable characteristics at the time was that they wore pantaloons -- "sans culottes" meaning "without knew breeches".
Female Sans-Culotte, circa 1789
Female Sans-Culotte, circa 1789 Giclee Print at AllPosters.com
Bourgeois, Sans-culottes and Other Frenchmen: Essays on the French Revolution in Honor of John Hall Stewart (Paperback)
Bourgeois, Sans-culottes and Other Frenchmen: Essays on the French Revolution in Honor of John Hall Stewart