A good citizen is one who properly fulfills his or her role as a citizen. There are many opinions as to what constitutes a good citizen. Theodore Roosevelt said, "The first requisite of a good citizen in this Republic of ours is that he shall be able and willing to pull his weight.” Education is sometimes viewed as a prerequisite to good citizenship, in that it helps citizens make good decisions and deal with demagogues who would delude them. Roger Soder writes that in a democracy, where the demands of good citizenship are placed upon all, "only the common schools can provide to all the education that all need." Science literacy is also frequently touted as a key to good citizenship. Good citizenship is sometimes viewed as requiring both intellectual skills (such ascritical thinking) and participatory skills (such as deliberating civilly, monitoring the government, building coalitions, managing conflict peacefully and fairly, and petitioning, speaking or testifying before public bodies).
Henry David Thoreau wrote that men who serve the state making "no free exercise whatever of the judgment or of the moral sense...are commonly esteemed good citizens." Orit Ichilov notes that children "tend to perceive the government in the image of an ideal father that is benevolent and protective. At this stage, the good citizen is characterized as one who, through his behavior, proves himself one worthy of the love and protection of the government rather than one possessing certain political obligations and rights." Through their early school years, children usually continue to think in apolitical terms of their citizenship, expressing loyalty by their desire to remain in their country due to an attachment to its beauty, wildlife, and good people. By age twelve or thirteen, they begin referring more to political qualities, such as the nature and values of the regime. High school seniors define the good citizen primarily in political terms.