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The first requisite of a good citizen in this republic of ours is that he shall be able and willing to pull his weight; that he shall not be a mere passenger, but shall do his share in the work that each generation of us finds ready to hand; and, furthermore, that in doing his work he shall show, not only the capacity for sturdy self-help, but also self-respecting regard for the rights of others.

Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) US President (1901-1909)
Speech, New York (11 Nov 1902)


Citizenship, the relationship between an individual and a state to which the individual owes allegiance and in turn is entitled to its protection. Citizenship implies the status of freedom with accompanying responsibilities. Citizens have certain rights, duties, and responsibilities that are denied or only partially extended to aliens and other noncitizens residing in a country. In general, full political rights, including the right to vote and to hold public office, are predicated upon citizenship. The usual responsibilities of citizenship are allegiance, taxation, and military service.

Citizenship 2021. Britannica Academic. Retrieved 22 April 2021, from

Educating the "Good" Citizen

Three kinds of citizens

What kind of citizen do we need to support an effective democratic society?

  1. Personally responsible Citizen
  2. Participatory Citizen
  3. Justice-oriented Citizen
Kinds of Citizen
  Personally Responsible Citizen Participatory Citizen Justice-oriented Citizen
  1. acts responsibly in his/her community
  2. works and pays taxes
  3. obeys laws
  4. recycles, gives blood
  5. volunteers to lend a hand in time of crisis
  1. active member of community organizations and/or improvements efforts
  2. organizes community efforts to care for those in need, promote economic development, or clean up the environment
  3. knows how to government agencies work
  4. knows strategies for accomplishing collective tasks
  1. critically assesses social, political, and economic structures to see beyond surface causes
  2. seeks out and addresses areas of injustice
  3. knows about social movements and how to effect systemic change
sample action
  • contributes food to a food drive
  • helps to organize a food drive
  • explores why people are hungry and acts to solve root causes
core assumptions To solve social problems and improve society, citizens must have good character; they must be honest, responsible, and law-abiding members of the community to solve social problems and improve society, citizens must actively participate and take leadership positions within established systems and community structures to solve social problems and improve society, citizens must question and change established systems and structures when they reproduce patterns of injustice over time

Westheimer, J., & Kahne, J. (2004). Educating the "Good" Citizen: Political Choices and Pedagogical Goals. PS: Political Science and Politics, 37(2), 241-247. Retrieved April 22, 2021, from