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HomeOpinionDisputing Textbooks: Citizenship

Disputing Textbooks: Citizenship

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This column series offers replies to what is published in the current “text books,” which are adopted by the State and school districts.


Definition: While Citizenship is generally used as a synonym for nationality, Citizenship is a legal status and a specific relation between an individual and a state that entails individual legal rights and duties.

Wikipedia offers this description: Though citizenship is often legally conflated with nationality in today’s Anglo-Saxon world, international law does not usually use the term citizenship to refer to nationality – these two notions being conceptually different dimensions of collective membership.

Nationality is the (non-legal) status of belonging to a particular nation, defined as a group of people organized in one country, under one legal jurisdiction, or as a group of people who are united on the basis of culture.

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Citizens have legal responsibilities and rights. Nationality is the non-legal act of belonging to a society.

In his farewell address, George Washington put the term “Good Citizen” in these words: “The very idea of the power and right of the People to establish Government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established government.”

From the textbook/resource material: The several responsibilities of “a good citizen” in a free society all come down to this: an abiding respect for the core beliefs on which democracy is based. While the text references “democracy” in this context, the statement belongs also to every citizen of every nation.

Also, from the text: A citizen is one who holds both rights and responsibilities in a state. Ask yourself this question: Do I understand and am I committed to honoring the basic concepts of American democracy?

These two statements are not related to democracy alone but actually apply to all citizens of all nations.

From the text again: Personal responsibilities mean being responsible for your own behavior. Civic responsibilities involve your role as a citizen of a community. They include obeying the law, paying taxes, being informed while voting, respecting the rights of others, serving as a juror, and serving in the armed forces. All of these civic responsibilities serve to strengthen and support the community.

The text: Another responsibility is to serve the public good. Participate in community projects when asked, volunteer, listen to, watch, speak at government meetings to make your beliefs known – which helps create policy. Assist in the “general welfare” of the people and your surroundings.

This textbook, which is now resource material in Hernando District Schools, continues to promote “democracy” as the official type of US governance. The truth is that Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution of the United States of America states that we are a “Republican form of government.”

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