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During the Revolution, inscribing headgear is a recurrent enunciatory device. On 22 prairial an III, demonstrators from the faubourg SaintAntoine wrote on their hats ‘du pain et la constitution démocratique de 1793’ (Schmidt, 1867–71, vol. 2: 343). 22. On the forts de la halle as les aînés de la Révolution (the elders of the Revolution), see Arch. , vol. 44: 551–2. In an address to the Assemblée on 4 June 1792 by a deputation of forts, it was proposed that, at the head of the army, l’arche sainte de la loi be carried by the forts, in the manner of the Hebrews.
49 During this period, the sans-culotte outfit – carmagnole, pantalon, and bonnet rouge, but sometimes only one or two of these elements50 – was put to subversive use, in order to provoke and insult people who had presumably become habituated to its status as a sign of republican – 32 – The ‘Sans-culotte’ in Revolutionary France rectitude. In some cases named individuals were noted as deliberately concealing their dubious political credentials by adopting sans-culotte costume. In December 1793, the ci-devant marquis d’Audelot ‘se promène en sans-culotte; il ne lui manque que le bonnet rouge pour que ceux qui ne connoissent pas le royaliste le prennent pour un patriote, qu’il ne sera jamais’ (‘walks about as a sans-culotte; he only lacks a bonnet rouge for people who don’t know him as a royalist take him to be a patriot, which he will never be’) (Caron vol II: 36, 7; niv.
Montjoye, 13 July 1791, no. 21 The context of the festival gave these clothes a new meaning, transforming them into a form of celebratory costume. Whether the wearing of such dress in the festival is to be seen as a sign of spontaneity, or, rather, as the result of a deliberate decision to display collective pride in the distinctive trappings of professional labourers, placed at the service of the celebration of one of the Revolution’s great pioneers, these examples suggest that, within the ceremonial space of the festival, and also the discursive space of commentaries on such events, ordinary dress was acquiring an increasingly politically resonant visibility.