The Sans Culottes
The Third Estate consisted of the bourgeoisie (middle class) as well as peasants. "What is the Third Estate?" wrote Abbe Sieyes. "It is everything!" This liberal clergyman rallied the the commoners of France to assert their power and take charge of the Estates General. Finally at his suggestion, they declared themselves the National Assembly and invited the other two orders to join them. The next day they found their meeting hall locked. At the suggestion of one of the delegates they moved to a nearby indoor tennis court, where they swore the Tennis Court Oath.