suffrage


suffrage
/suf"rij/, n.
1. the right to vote, esp. in a political election.
2. a vote given in favor of a proposed measure, candidate, or the like.
3. Eccles. a prayer, esp. a short intercessory prayer or petition.
[1350-1400; ME < L suffragium voting tablet, vote, equiv. to L suffrag(ari) to vote for, support + -ium -IUM]

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 in representative government, the right to vote in electing public officials and adopting or rejecting proposed legislation.

      The history of the suffrage, or franchise, is one of gradual extension from limited, privileged groups in society to the entire adult population. Nearly all modern governments have provided for universal adult suffrage. It is regarded as more than a privilege extended by the state to its citizenry; it is rather thought of as an inalienable right that inheres to every adult citizen by virtue of citizenship. In democracies it is the primary means of ensuring that governments are responsible to the governed.

      The basic qualifications for suffrage are similar everywhere, although there are minor variations from country to country. Usually only the adult citizens of a country are eligible to vote there, the minimum age varying from 18 to 25 years. Most governments insist also on the voter's affiliation to a certain locality or constituency. The insane, certain classes of convicted criminals, and those punished for certain electoral offenses are generally barred from the suffrage.

  Before the evolution of universal suffrage, most countries required special qualifications of their voters. In 18th- and 19th-century Britain (United Kingdom), for instance, there was a property or income qualification, the argument being that only those who had a stake in the country should be allowed a voice in its public affairs. At one time, only men qualified for the suffrage. Many newly independent countries of Asia and Africa, during the transition from colony to self-government, had a literacy qualification for the suffrage. Some countries limit it to certain racial or ethnic groups. Thus, for example, South Africa, at one time, and the Old South of the United States did not permit their black populations to vote.
 

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Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:
, , / , , , / (as uttered by a congregation in response to a minister)


Look at other dictionaries:

  • suffrage — Suffrage …   Thresor de la langue françoyse

  • suffrage — [ syfraʒ ] n. m. • 1355; suffrages d oraison « prières » 1289; lat. suffragium « tesson avec lequel on votait », de frangere « briser » 1 ♦ Acte par lequel on déclare sa volonté, son opinion (favorable), dans un choix, une délibération, une… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Suffrage — (from the Latin suffragium , meaning voting tablet , and figuratively right to vote ; probably from suffrago hough , and originally a term for the pastern bone used to cast votes) is the civil right to vote, or the exercise of that right. In that …   Wikipedia

  • suffrage — suf·frage / sə frij/ n [Latin suffragium vote, political support, from suffragari to support with one s vote] 1: a vote in deciding a controverted question or the choice of a person for an office or trust no State...shall be deprived of its equal …   Law dictionary

  • suffrage — n Suffrage, franchise, vote, ballot mean the right, privilege, or power of expressing one s choice or wish (as in an election or in the determination of policy). Suffrage is the usual term when the emphasis is upon the extent to which this… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • Suffrage — Suf frage, n. [F., fr. L. suffragium; perhaps originally, a broken piece, a potsherd, used in voting, and fr. sub under + the root of frangere to break. See {Break}.] 1. A vote given in deciding a controverted question, or in the choice of a man… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • suffrage — Suffrage. s. m. Declaration qu on fait de son sentiment, de sa volonté, & qu on donne, soit de vive voix, soit par escrit ou autrement, dans l occasion d une eslection, d une deliberation. Je luy ay donné mon suffrage. il a eu tous les suffrages …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • suffrage — late 14c., prayers or pleas on behalf of another, from O.Fr. suffrage (13c.), from M.L. suffragium, from L. suffragium support, vote, right of voting, from suffragari lend support, vote for someone, from sub under (see SUB (Cf. sub )) + fragor… …   Etymology dictionary

  • suffrage — [suf′rij] n. [ME < MFr < ML(Ec) < L suffragium, decision, vote, suffrage < sub (see SUB ) + fragor, loud applause, orig., din, a crashing < IE base * bhreĝ , to crash, BREAK] 1. a prayer or act of intercession or supplication 2. a… …   English World dictionary

  • Suffrage — Suf frage, v. t. To vote for; to elect. [Obs.] Milton. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • suffrage — ► NOUN ▪ the right to vote in political elections. ORIGIN originally in the sense «intercessory prayers», also «assistance»: from Latin suffragium …   English terms dictionary


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