Between 1750 and 1830 the Dutch state developed from an oligarchic republic into an enlightened autocratic monarchy via a brief experiment with representative democracy. During this period, there was an ongoing debate about the right to petition. Political actors and opinion-makers addressed the questions to what and to whom this right extended, and what it meant to have such a right. While theorists of the different types of government had sharply contrasting views on the place of the people in the political process, ideas about petitioning, which throughout the period under discussion remained the principal instrument for popular involvement in politics, stayed remarkably stable. Through an investigation of the debate on the right to petition in the crucial transitional phase from the Dutch Republic to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, this article contributes to bridging the divide between petition research of the early modern period and that of the modern era.