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Broadly speaking, a petition is an appeal for the redress of grievances sent to an authority, often a government. The right to petition the government is a constitutional right in most modern democracies. By petitioning a government, an individual often seeks to influence the decisions of policy makers or to bring an issue of public concern to the attention of government officials. It is perhaps the most direct form of citizen participation in policy making and certainly the oldest.[1]

Problems and Purpose

The right to representation is at the foundation of liberal democracy. Petitions are thus one of the most important ways citizens have to make their voices heard and their desires known. While elections give citizens a say over who will represent them in government, petitions ensure what representatives do aligns with those constituents' interests. While the ability to vote an official out of office gives citizens some measure of control, elections are held infrequently, often every four to five years. Petitions may be submitted at any time, thus giving citizens a relatively unrestricted channel of voice and agency. 


The petition was first recognized in the Magna Carta (1215)

Participant Recruitment and Selection

Deliberation, Decisions, and Public Interaction

Influence, Outcomes, and Effects

Analysis and Lessons Learned




Secondary Sources

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