Written instrument directed to an individual, government official, legislative body, or court in order to seek redress of grievances or to request a favour. In some jurisdictions, petitions brought by a sufficient number of people (represented by their signatures) are used to place a candidate on a ballot, to submit an issue to the electorate (see referendum and initiative), or to exert pressure on legislators to vote in a certain way. In the U.S., the right to petition is guaranteed by the 1st Amendment to the Constitution.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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