A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Cabinet
Capital Gains Tax
Carbon Dioxide
Carbon Sequestration
Carpetbagger
Case
Case Law
Cases and Controversies Requirement
Caucus
Centrist
Chamber
Checks and Balances
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
Cite
Citizen
Citizenship
City Administration
City Clerk
City Council
City Councilmember
City Manager
Civic Education
Civil Law
Civil Liberties
Civil Rights
Civil Society
Class Action
Classical Economics
Clerk of Courts
Climate Change
Cloakrooms
Closed Primary
Cloture
Coattails
Code
Code of Federal Regulations
Cold War
Colloquy
Commander in Chief
Commerce Clause
Committee
Common Good
Common Law
Commonwealth
Community
Compact Fluorescent Bulbs
Concurring Opinion
Conference Committee
Confirmation Hearing
Congress
Congressional Black Caucus
Congressional Budget Office
Congressional District
Congressional Record
Conscription
Conservative
Constituent
Constitution
Constitutionalism
Contempt of Court
Continuing Resolution
Controller
Coordinated Expenditure
Coroner
Cosponsor
County
County Board of Commissioners
County Executive Director
County Seat
Criminal Law
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Citizenship
Citizenship is the legal relationship between citizens and their government and country. Citizens owe their government loyalty, support, and service. The government owes the citizens the protection of constitutionally guaranteed rights to life, liberty, property, and equal justice under law. The rights of citizenship are set forth in the constitution of a democratic government, which may distinguish between the rights of citizens and noncitizens within the country. For example, in the United States, only citizens have the right to vote, serve on juries, and be elected to certain offices of the government, and only a natural-born citizen can become President. Most other constitutional rights are guaranteed to citizens and noncitizens alike. Citizenship in a democracy entails serious responsibilities. For example, good citizens in a democracy exhibit civic engagement, which means they are ready, willing, and able to use their constitutionally protected political rights to advance the common good. Citizens are expected to be loyal and patriotic, to assume responsibility for the defense of their country against internal and external threats or attacks. Citizenship also entails certain duties, such as paying taxes, serving on juries when summoned, joining the country’s armed forces if drafted, and obeying the laws. In the world today, citizenship is the fundamental condition that connects individuals to the protective institutions of a democratic government and provides the means through which they can participate politically and civically in their governance. The rights, responsibilities, and duties of citizenship in a democracy have practical meaning today only within a particular kind of political order, a constitutional democracy. Only within the authority of a democratically governed country are there dependable institutional means to enforce constitutional guarantees of rights.


By John Patrick, Understanding Democracy, A Hip Pocket Guide (Oxford University Press)