This essay is on what it means to be a citizen of the United States.

Essay by Floridahgyrl4evaHigh School, 10th gradeA+, November 2003

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What does it mean to be a citizen of the United States?

I would define a citizen as someone, who was born in, or to a certain place, who is guaranteed certain rights in the place that they were born in.

Citizenship in the United States means that a person is a legally recognized member of the nation. Each citizen has equal rights under the law. All citizens have certain rights, privileges, and responsibilities.

Americans who are not citizens have many of the same rights, privileges, and responsibilities of citizens. However, they do not have such important rights as the right to vote in elections, serve on juries, or hold elected office.

means that a person is recognized as a legal member of the nation

gives each person certain rights and privileges, e.g., the right to vote and to hold public office

means each person has certain responsibilities, e.g.,

respecting the law, voting, paying taxes, serving on juries

explain that citizens owe allegiance or loyalty to the United States; in turn they receive protection and other services from the government

Nothing is more important to America than citizenship; there is more assurance of our future in the individual character of our citizens than in any proposal I, and all the wise advisers I can gather, can ever put into effect in Washington.

Warren G. Harding (1920)

Rights of individuals. Citizens have rights.

personal rights, e.g., to associate with whomever one pleases, live where one chooses, practice the religion of one's choice, travel freely and return to the United States, emigrate

political rights, e.g., to vote, speak freely and criticize the government, join organizations that try to influence government policies, join a political party, seek and hold public office

economic rights, e.g., to own property, choose one's work,