plebiscite


plebiscite
/pleb"euh suyt', -sit/, n.
1. a direct vote of the qualified voters of a state in regard to some important public question.
2. the vote by which the people of a political unit determine autonomy or affiliation with another country.
[1525-35; < F < L plebiscitum decree of the plebs, equiv. to plebi (for plebis, plebei gen. sing. of plebs, plebes PLEBS) + scitum resolution, decree, n. use of neut. of scitus, ptp. of sciscere to enact, decree, orig., to seek to know, learn, inchoative of scire to know]

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Vote by the people of an entire country or district to decide an issue.

Voters are asked to accept or reject a given proposal rather than choose between alternative proposals. By means of plebiscites, intermediaries such as political parties can be bypassed. Because plebiscites offer a way to claim a popular mandate without permitting an opposition party, totalitarian regimes have used them to legitimize their power. See also referendum and initiative.

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      a vote by the people of an entire country or district to decide on some issue, such as choice of a ruler or government, option for independence or annexation by another power, or a question of national policy.

      In a plebiscite, voters are asked not to choose between alternate regimes or proposals but to confirm or reject the legitimacy of a certain form of government or course of action. Plebiscites are seen as a way for a government to go directly to the people, bypassing intermediaries such as political parties. After the Revolution of 1789, the plebiscite was popular in France because it was seen as an expression of popular sovereignty. In 1804, a plebiscite made Napoleon emperor.

      Plebiscites have been used to establish political boundaries when it is a question of nationality. For example, in 1935, the Saar (Saarland) chose to remain part of Germany rather than become part of France.

      Because a plebiscite offers a way of claiming a popular mandate without officially sanctioning an opposition party, totalitarian regimes also use them to legitimize their power.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • plébiscite — [ plebisit ] n. m. • 1355; lat. plebiscitum, proprt « décision du peuple » 1 ♦ Antiq. Décision, loi votée par l assemblée de la plèbe. 2 ♦ Vieilli Vote direct du corps électoral par oui ou par non, sur une question qu on lui soumet. ⇒ référendum …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Plebiscite — Plébiscite Un plébiscite (du latin plebs (qui renvoie au français plèbe), et scitum (signifiant décision), selon un système analogue à la décision prise par les concilia plebis = assemblée de la plèbe) est une consultation sur le désir d une… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Plebiscite — Pleb i*scite, n. [F. pl[ e]biscite, fr. L. plebiscitum.] A vote by universal male suffrage; especially, in France, a popular vote, as first sanctioned by the National Constitution of 1791. [Written also {plebiscit}.] [1913 Webster] Plebiscite we… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • plebiscite — direct vote of the people, 1860 (originally in reference to Italian unification), from Fr. plébiscite (1776 in modern sense), from L. plebiscitum a decree or resolution of the people, from plebs (gen. plebis) the common people + scitum decree,… …   Etymology dictionary

  • plebiscite — plebiscite, referendum Plebiscite is pronounced pleb i sit in BrE and usually pleb i siyt in AmE. The term is most commonly used of a direct vote of a State s electors on a fundamental matter, and is not used with reference to the UK. A… …   Modern English usage

  • plebiscite — ► NOUN 1) the direct vote of all the members of an electorate on an important public question. 2) (in ancient Rome) a law enacted by the plebeians assembly. DERIVATIVES plebiscitary adjective. ORIGIN French plébiscite, from Latin plebs the common …   English terms dictionary

  • plebiscite — [pleb′ə sīt΄] n. [Fr plébiscite < L plebiscitum < plebs, PLEBS + scitum, decree, neut. pp. of scire, to know: see SCIENCE] an expression of the people s will by direct ballot on a political issue, as in choosing between independent… …   English World dictionary

  • plebiscite — I noun ballot, choice, election, mandate, poll, referendum, vote II index election (selection by vote), poll (casting of votes), referendum Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton …   Law dictionary

  • plebiscite — *mandate, initiative, referendum …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • Plébiscite — Un plébiscite (du latin plebs, qui renvoie au français « plèbe », et scitum, signifiant « décision », selon un système analogue à la décision prise par les concilia plebis : « assemblée de la plèbe ») est une… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • plebiscite — n. 1) to conduct, hold a plebiscite 2) a plebiscite to + inf. (a plebiscite to determine the status of a territory) * * * [ plebɪs(a)ɪt] hold a plebiscite to conduct a plebiscite to + inf. (a plebiscite to determine the status of a territory) …   Combinatory dictionary