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Citizenship Paper For Civic Engagement Class

1055 words - 4 pages

Citizenship PaperCalifornia Lutheran UniversityCivic EngagementMPPA 582September 23, 2009Citizenship PaperIntroductionType citizenship and democracy into Google; low and behold approximately 33.7 and 73.6 billion responses are returned by the search engine, that's over 100 million responses. Why is that? Could it be that the concept is just too big to get your arms around? This paper will examine the role of citizens in a democracy. It will also examine some of the limitations and requirements for in a democracy. What is the citizen's role in a democracy and why is it important that all citizens participate? To answer this question it might be useful define the terms and Merriam-Webster defines democracy as "a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections." Citizenship is defined as "membership in a community (as a college)" (Merriam-Webster, n.d.).There are many ways citizens participate in our democratic process but the Founders believed that the main purpose of government was to protect people's basic rights. Almost all citizens have the right to participate in governing our nation. They may choose among many different ways of doing this. Some of the ways citizens can participate are:Voting in local, state, and national electionsParticipating in a political discussionTrying to persuade someone to vote a certain way by signing a petitionWearing a button or putting a sticker on the carWriting letters to elected representativesContributing money to a party or candidateAttending meetings to gain information, discuss issues, or lend supportCampaigning for a candidateLobbying for laws that are of special interestDemonstrating through marches, boycotts, sit-ins, or other forms of protestServing as a jurorRunning for or holding public officeServing the country through military or other serviceThe primary role of citizens in a democracy is to participate in public life. Citizens have an obligation to become informed about public issues, to watch carefully how their political leaders and representatives use their powers, and to express their own opinions and interests. Voting in elections is another important civic duty of all citizens. But to vote wisely, each citizen should listen to the views of the different parties and candidates, and then make his or her own decision on whom to support. Participation can also involve campaigning for a political party or candidate, standing as a candidate for political office, debating public issues, attending community meetings, petitioning the government, and even protesting.A vital form of participation comes through active membership in independent, non-governmental organizations, what we call "civil society." These organizations represent a variety of interests and beliefs: farm workers, doctors, teachers, business owners, religious groups,...

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