When I think of America I think of freedom and citizenship. The right to vote or the right of free speech are aspects that, as citizens, we posses. Being born in America automatically gives you these rights and many more, and most importantly, you become a citizen. Now, with citizenship comes responsibility such as obeying the law and paying taxes. So if you follow these simple rules does this make you an effective citizen? This question, in my opinion, is almost impossible to answer for a number of reasons, which will be addressed in the following paper.
It was extremely hard to come up with a clear cut answer as to what an effective citizen entails. I grappled with this term through many drafts and in the end came up with many conclusions about effective citizenship. Let me state my main point of this paper, and that is, effective citizenship entails so many things and the true meaning of a “good citizen” differs from person to person and from time to time. In this paper I will share with you how the idea of effective citizenship varies according to person and time and my personal beliefs on what is effective citizenship.
As an American citizen I have a responsibility to this country as a citizen. I also have rights because I am a citizen of this country.
Firstly, as stated above, being a citizen of America entitles me to certain inalienable rights, and among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (Jefferson, 352). Thomas Jefferson made sure that as American citizens, each and everyone of us has these rights which are documented in the The Declaration of
Independence. Each citizen has rights and with these rights comes responsibility, responsibility to themselves as citizens and to the country.
In my opinion, as citizens, we must make certain sacrifices for a greater cause. These sacrifices include paying taxes and obeying laws. We pay a portion of our hard earned money to the government which is for the greater good of the country.
The tax money goes to funding for better schools which we send our children to and for better roads. The money also goes to pay for police and fire protection which we depend upon every day, these people are a necessity to our daily lives. Citizens must also abide by certain laws, which in the mind of some citizens, is a sacrifice. My answer to them is that we are not in a state of nature and this is a price you have to pay for living in a society. In their mind, if they were in a state of nature then they would not have to abide by such laws. As John Locke pointed out, we all are here for the preservation of mankind.
We make these sacrifices for protection and, in the end, not only benefit the individual but also benefit the community, society, or nation. (Locke, pgs. 170-171, 180-186). So each citizen, in order to (in Abraham Lincoln’s word’s) form a more perfect union, must make certain sacrifices which in the end, not only helps you but helps others, this is one of our responsibilities as citizens. Finally, in regards to this paragraph, someone who DOES fulfill his or her responsibilities, are good citizens, but that is not the whole definition of a good citizen, it is simply one part of a bigger picture.
The question can now be raised, if one follows and fulfills these responsibilities does that really make them a good citizen? If a person follows the laws and pays his or her taxes, does that make them a good or effective citizen? In my opinion, it all depends upon the person defining the term effective citizenship.
Each person has different beliefs and or values and these effect there
definition on effective citizenship. One person might believe that to be a good citizen all one has to do is obey all of the “big laws”, i.e. murder and stealing, and pay
their taxes, this makes them a good citizen. Another side that one might take is that a good citizen has to follow all laws including social laws like social .