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This book looks at petitions over the last five centuries to reconstruct the lives and opinions of 'humble' petitioners. Since Pharaonic times, governments have allowed their subjects to voice opinions in the form of petitions, which have demanded a favour or the redressment of an injustice. To be effective, a petition had to mention the request, usually a motivation and always the name or names of the petitioners. As a result, grievances of ordinary people which were not written down anywhere else are now stored safely in the archives of the authorities to which the petitions were addressed. The petitions considered in this book, which come from all over the globe, offer rich and valuable sources for social historians.