popular sovereignty


Definition of popular sovereignty

1 : a doctrine in political theory that government is created by and subject to the will of the people
2 : a pre-Civil War doctrine asserting the right of the people living in a newly organized territory to decide by vote of their territorial legislature whether or not slavery would be permitted there

Examples of popular sovereignty in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The best response to the appeal of this kind of populism, Pistor suggests, would be a real demonstration of popular sovereignty. Adam Tooze, The New York Review of Books, "How ‘Big Law’ Makes Big Money," 28 Jan. 2020 Few better expressions exist of America’s founding principles of popular sovereignty, natural rights, and the separation of Church and state. David W. Blight, The Atlantic, "Frederick Douglass’s Vision for a Reborn America," 9 Nov. 2019 Daily Wire editor in chief Ben Shapiro argued that Walmart had bowed to social justice warriors and trampled on popular sovereignty (even though gun control is quite popular). Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "The Political Overreaction to Walmart’s P.R. Strategy," 5 Sep. 2019 The early history of the parties, then, was partially about securing popular sovereignty. Jay Cost, National Review, "Restoring Congress: The Parties Are a Solution," 17 June 2019 Their reaction is a truculent reassertion of popular sovereignty. Adam Tooze, The New York Review of Books, "Democracy and Its Discontents," 6 June 2019 In England, and later in the United States, nationalism expressed itself in the development of equality, popular sovereignty and individual freedom. Jonathan Allen, NBC News, "Trump the nationalist celebrates D-Day's triumph of internationalism," 5 June 2019 Leading officials of the United Arab Emirates, including Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, regarded the Brotherhood as a threat to regional order and had little more regard for popular sovereignty than did Mr. Sisi. James Traub, WSJ, "‘Into the Hands of the Soldiers’ Review: Arab Spring, Egypt’s Fall," 14 Aug. 2018 But Douglas drove through popular sovereignty, which said the voters should decide — after all, his argument went, what’s a democracy for? Randy Blaser, chicagotribune.com, "Column: Rename Douglas Park — and do it for history's sake," 23 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'popular sovereignty.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of popular sovereignty

1848, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of popular sovereignty was in 1848

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Cite this Entry

“Popular sovereignty.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/popular%20sovereignty. Accessed 1 Apr. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on popular sovereignty

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about popular sovereignty

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