A Brief History of Self-determination Referendums Before 1920

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Abstract

The article presents an account of the history of the discourses of self-determination referendums from 1552 to 1920. The referendum has played an important part in the discourse of self-determination since it was first pioneered by the French King Henry II in the sixteenth century. While the principle of self-determination expressed through plebiscites was mentioned en passant by Erasmus of Rotterdam, Grotius and Pufendorf, it was only after the French Revolution that the doctrine gained wider practical recognition. In the mid-nineteenth century the referendum was much debated and practised in Italy during the Risorgimento in the early twentieth century the doctrine was once again revived by Woodrow Wilson. But generally the principle was being used by statesmen in pursuit of narrow self-interest idealistic goals. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Ethnopolitics on 2015, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/ 10.1080/17449057.2015.1051820
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)547-554
JournalEthnopolitics
Volume14
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015

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