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Government by the People - Initiative and Referendum

Consider the thoughts of several of our founding fathers.

"Each generation has a right to choose for itself the form of government it believes most promotive of its happiness." Thomas Jefferson, 1812

“The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government.”
George Washington, 1787

"All power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority and instituted for their peace, safety and happiness. For the advancement of these ends they have at all times an inalienable and indefeasible right to alter, reform or abolish their government in such manner as they may think proper." Benjamin Franklin in the Pennsylvania Constitution.

Some people are working to establish citizen ballot initiative.

1. What is a citizen ballot initiative?



2. Does your state or commonwealth allow citizen ballot initiatives?

If your state permits citizen ballot initiatives, what is the process?



3. What percentage of the states currently provide for citizen ballot initiatives?




4. Which recent citizen ballot initiative would you have supported and why?



5. Do you support permitting citizen ballot initiatives and why?



6. Describe several ways that students like yourself can work positively to support passage of a citizen ballot initiative.


7. Conduct a class poll: Should a National ballot initiative be enacted?

Federal Election Commission

"As the people are the only legitimate fountain of power, and it is from them that the constitutional charter, under which the several branches of government hold their power, is derived, it seems strictly consonant to the republican theory to recur to the same original authority... whenever it may be necessary to enlarge, diminish, or new-model the powers of government." James Madison

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posted 2/2007 by Cynthia J. O'Hora, In the spirit of Thomas Paine - released to public domain

Aligned with the following Pennsylvania Academic Standards - Reading, Writing Speaking, History, Civics and Government, Mathematics, Civics, Science and Technology.
Aligned with the National Standards for Civics and Government

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