Popular sovereignty


The popular sovereignty is a principle which states that the source of the governmental power is in the people who make up a people or nation . This belief is derived from the concept of the social contract and the idea that the government must be and exist for the benefit of all its citizens . If the government is not protecting its people, then it should be dissolved.


What is popular sovereignty?

Popular sovereignty is a term that indicates that in a democracy , political power is essentially and originally in the people and that all public power emanates from the people and is instituted for their benefit .


The theory of popular sovereignty developed from the writings of Thomas Hobbes , John Locke, and Jean Jacques Rousseau . We can say that popular sovereignty is a political term that simply means that “the people are the rulers . ” This term is generally used to refer to political questions that are resolved through popular vote or governments based on the concept of democracy . The concept of popular sovereignty was manifested mainly during the time of theIllustration .

  • Characteristics of popular sovereignty
  • Source
  • History
  • How it differs from national sovereignty
  • Popular sovereignty by country
  • Importance of popular sovereignty
  • Examples

Characteristics of popular sovereignty

The main characteristics that we can observe in popular sovereignty are the following:

  • Popular sovereignty is completely inviolable .
  • To defend popular sovereignty no public authority can make or allow acts that constitute an intervention so directly or indirectly in internal affairs or external of the Republic.
  • It promotes respect for the human being and for human dignity .
  • It is a theoretical principle on which all the concepts of democracy are based .
  • It is globally accepted as the source of power and authority .
  • It makes one power totally independent of another.
  • It promotes political and legal organization without recognizing another higher power.
  • It has the function of directing and governing .
  • It is integrated into a democracy .
  • It is represented through a legal and political entity , the people .
  • The people are responsible for establishing the laws through the bases of democracy .
  • Political representatives are elected by vote .


The origin of the term popular sovereignty dates from the 16th century when it was created by the Frenchman Jean Bodin and at that time it was applied to the power that was developing at the time and that was in the hands of the King of France .


The story begins in the 16th century with Jean Bodin who supported and justified the absolute monarchy . In 1762, Jean-Jacques Rousseau took up the idea of ​​sovereignty again, but applying an important change and redefining the term as a historical unit related to customs and habits to form a State and better govern. It is in this way that the people begin for the first time to constitute the State and become in charge of controlling it and changing it as necessary.

How it differs from national sovereignty

The national sovereignty is a concept that is used for people who are responsible for exercising so effectively the sovereign power do legitimized by all members of a nation . In this way there is the belief that the powers rule the country in favor of all. In the case of popular sovereignty , this is a concept that was introduced some time later by Rousseau, among others, who were in charge of making effective the rights of equality and freedom.of the citizen. Popular sovereignty then means that sovereignty is divided into proportional parts of power by each person.

Popular sovereignty by country


It is said that each citizen who inhabits the country is a holder of a part that is proportional to sovereignty, since all the sum of these individual sovereignties make up the general will of the people. The deputies are responsible for representing the popular sovereignty, but not their voters as the nation expresses its will through the parliament .


There is a fundamental principle in the country that says that the republican system is the principle that has popular sovereignty and by means of which the people is the sole holder and is the one who at the same time is in charge of electing the citizens who are going to represent them. These authorities must always seek the common good, the general welfare, justice, social equality, order and national unity, as well as peace.


Popular sovereignty in the Mexican Constitution seeks a way to establish a democratic and liberal state . Power resides exclusively in the people but, as in other countries, they are represented by people who hold positions in the government who are elected by popular vote.

Importance of popular sovereignty

Popular sovereignty is important because it is what gives power to a nation , in other words to citizens . It allows the citizens of a country not to have to live under exclusive political power and thus prevents it from being subjected to a series of laws that could be harmful and cause inequality among the population. Thanks to popular sovereignty, the people have the ability to choose the ruler who best suits their ideals and way of thinking without having to be plunged into oppressionand it allows citizens to feel in conformity with the laws and norms that govern society .


Some examples of popular sovereignty are:

  • Presidential elections
  • State elections
  • Legislative elections

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