Citizen Responsibilities

Essential Question

How do citizens participate in a republic?

Citizen Responsibilities

Support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. The Constitution establishes the U.S. system of representative democracy and outlines the inherent principles of freedom, liberty, and opportunity to which all citizens are entitled. The continuity of this Nation’s unique freedoms depends on the support of its citizens. When the Constitution and its ideals are challenged, citizens must defend these principles against all adversaries.

Stay informed on the issues affecting your community. U.S. citizens should learn about the issues and candidates running for office before casting a vote in an election. Staying informed allows citizens the opportunity to keep the candidates and laws responsive to the needs of the local community.

Participate in the democratic process. Voting in the federal, state, and local elections is the most important responsibility of any citizen. Voting ensures that our system of government is maintained and individual voices are clearly heard by officials.

Respect and obey federal, state, and local laws. Laws are rules of conduct that are established by an authority and followed by the community to maintain order in a free society. Every person living in the United States must follow laws established through federal, state, and local authorities.

Respect the rights, beliefs, and opinions of others. Though the United States is a nation of diverse backgrounds and cultures, our common civic values united us as one nation. Tolerance, through courtesy and respect for the beliefs and opinions of others, is the hallmark of a civilized society and ensures the continuity of liberty and freedom for future generations.

Participate in your local community. Being a responsible member of one’s local community is important to the success of representative democracy. Community engagement through volunteerism, participation in town hall meetings and public hearings, joining a local parent-teacher association, and running for public office are ways individuals can actively contribute to the well-being of the community.

Pay income and other taxes honestly, and on time, to federal, state, and local authorities. Taxes pay for government services for the people of the United States. Some of these services include: educating children and adults, keeping our country safe and secure, and providing medical services to the elderly and less fortunate. Paying taxes on time and in full ensures that these services continue for all Americans.

Serve on a jury when called upon. For U.S. citizens, serving on a jury is a very important service to the community. The Constitution guarantees that all persons accused of a crime have the right to a “speedy and public trial by an impartial jury.” Jury service gives U.S. citizens the opportunity to participate in the vital task of achieving just, fair results in matters that come before the court.

Defend the country if the need should arise. The Armed Forces of the United States, the military, is currently an all-volunteer force. However, should the need arise in time of war, it is important that all citizens join together and assist the Nation where they are able. This support could include defending the Nation through the military, noncombatant or civilian service.

By U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Activity 3: What characteristics and qualities make a good citizen?

Using the information from this lesson, answer the questions in a thinking map. Complete this assignment digitally or on paper. It will be collected in your portfolio.

What Type of Citizen Does a Democracy Need?

Activity 2: Mini-Q: What Type of Citizen Does a Democracy Need?

Mini Q-What Types of Citizen Does a Democracy Need_.pdf

Activity 3: How would you sort the amount of the types of citizens you will bring to your lunar colony? Why?

Using the information from this lesson, answer the questions in a thinking map. Complete this assignment digitally or on paper. It will be collected in your portfolio.

Discussion Questions

  • What are the three types of good citizens?

  • How many of each citizens did you choose to bring? Why?

  • What evidence could you use from the documents to support your reasoning?

Activity 4: Outline an essay on "What Type of Citizen Does a Democracy Need?"

Essay Outline

Extension Activities