US-EU Citizenship Review and Summary for the Midterm Examination Summary: Main points 1.Why study issues of citizenship? If we are born (or naturalized)in the US territory, we are by law citizens. This is a legal requirement , and involuntary in the sense that we have no choice. (Check section 1 of the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution) 2. But that is the case in most countries, and not unique to democracies. So what is essential for
In modern democracy, individuals are private citizens with equal individual rights , and they in addition are political or public citizens as part of the self-governing community of the sovereign
Thus the democratic citizen has a dual role: on the one hand she/he is responsible for his/her personal life, and is also responsible for participating in the self-government of the people as a whole.
And since the government exists to “secure these rights,” it would be irresponsible and selfdefeating for the private citizen to neglect political rights and obligations. (For equal individual rights, check the Declaration of Independence, second paragraph. For selfgovernment under a Constitution, check the Preamble to the Constitution, with emphasis on all the items required to “secure the blessings of liberty. Also, what does Roosevelt’s 1919 speech in France have to say about this view of citizenship?) So, the basic concerns about democratic citizenship always are: a. do the citizens enjoy secure private rights, and b. do the citizens participate in political affairs and self-government? Are they capable of participating in the complicated world we live in today, with many difficult political and economic issues at stake? NOTE: the result is that in modern democracies we have various types of citizenship and citizen involvement in the affairs of the nation (the welfare of the people) as a whole: 1. Those who only live their private lives, in a circle of family, friends,...