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Good Citizen

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What defines a good citizen? Some individuals believe that it is being a Good Samaritan is being a good citizen. Others believe that campaigning and voting for a certain candidate is what makes a good citizen. Education would often appear on a list on how to define an upstanding citizen. These actions that would appear on a list do not necessarily define if an individual is an exemplary citizen. These are all good traits that support the fundamental principles of the United Sates. Often, traits like these lead to civil disobedience, which allows change for the better in our country. Each trait that can potentially define a good citizen supports a fundamental principle. A Good Samaritan is someone who is always looking out to help others. They are always watching out for the common good of the American citizens. Whether it is opening a door for someone, or helping repair damage to someone else’s house, they always have other people’s best intentions in mind. Campaigning and voting for a certain political party, candidate, or interest group is associated with the fundamental principle of popular sovereignty. This particular principle states that the source of governmental power lies with the people. By campaigning and voting, the citizens of the United States are expressing what they want to happen in their government. In some ways, education of a citizen can be connected to the fundamental principle of limited government. The American citizens are given the opportunity to learn and intake knowledge. The ideology behind limited government is that since the people give the government its power, the government itself is limited to the power given to them. The U.S. government must follow its own laws ad can only act using the powers given by the people. Having education allows the citizens to be aware of the actions that the government is partaking in. With knowledge comes awareness; this awareness allows citizens to look into the government and making sure that the government is doing right by them. An individual does not need to help the country by doing multiple good things to be considered a good citizen. They could simply recycle or vote to be considered a good citizen. Civil disobedience is the active and professed refusal to obey certain laws, demands, or commands of the government. Throughout history, many times civil disobedience has been associated with nonviolent resistance. If a group of people comes together, their civil disobedience can lead to a public policy change. An example of this is the Civil Rights Movement. The beginnings of the movement started with civil disobedience actions. Rosa Parks is one of the most notable people to participate in a civil disobedience event in the United States history. When a white man told Parks to move to the back of the bus, she refused. The Jim Crow laws stated how a person of color can only stayed in “colored” areas in public. Parks was violating the law by not moving to the back of the bus, where the colored people were supposed to sit. Parks was arrested for not moving. Her actions led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott. People who supported Parks, refused to ride the public buses until the rule that colored people had to sit in the back of the bus was removed. Other activist and events also encouraged the eventual passage of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1968. Some of the activist included Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Little Rock Nine, and James Bevel. Some acts of civil disobedience that were also notable were the Freedom Rides, the case of Brown vs. the Board of Education, the Birmingham Campaign, and the March on Washington. Also during this time, many sit in occurred.

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