What Does it Mean to Be a Citizen?

posted in: News | 0


A citizen is a person who has full rights and responsibilities as a member of a nation or political community. Citizenship is usually granted by birth, but it can also be acquired through naturalization or as a result of marriage to a citizen. Citizenship is more than a legal status, it can also convey a sense of belonging and loyalty to one’s community. Good citizenship is often characterized by acts of service and by a desire to contribute to the common good.

People are considered to be good citizens when they obey the laws, vote in elections, pay taxes, and participate in their local community. They are often willing to help others in need and they try to keep up with political developments. Good citizenship also includes showing respect for others and the environment. Citizens are concerned about things like preventing pollution and keeping public spaces clean, and they often volunteer their time to help those in need.

Throughout history, the concept of citizenship has changed. In some places, citizenship has been a matter of law and rights, but in other countries it has been more about a subjective feeling of belonging to a community. For example, during the Middle Ages, citizenship was related to membership in a particular town or city. This is why people were given titles such as burgher and grand burgher, which meant they belonged to a certain social class.

Today, citizenship is more often seen as a right, rather than a duty. Many nations have a minimum age requirement for citizens, and they may also require a knowledge of the country’s history and government. Some require an oath of allegiance and loyalty to the country. Often, these obligations are based on an individual’s place of birth or the nationality of one or both parents.

A recent study by the Pew Research Center examined what it takes to be a good citizen. The researchers gave a questionnaire to 371 Canadian voters, asking questions about their willingness to vote in elections, pay taxes, and obey the law. They also asked about their personality traits, using a well-known assessment called HEXACO. They found that the personality characteristics of honesty-humility, emotionality, extraversion, and conscientiousness were all positively correlated with good citizenship. The trait of narcissism, on the other hand, was negatively correlated with good citizenship.

When asked what behaviors are at the heart of being a good citizen, nearly seven out of ten US adults said that voting is very important. However, only a small percentage of them actually do so. Other behaviors that Americans reported as very important for being a good citizen included displaying the American flag, knowing the Pledge of Allegiance, and protesting when government actions are considered to be wrong. However, a majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents saw protesting as very important for being a good citizen, while a smaller majority of Democrats did the same. In addition, more Democrats than Republicans believed that it was important to show respect for other cultures.