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What is civics?
Civics – the study of rights and duties of citizens
Why should you study civics?
Can you think of situations in which you should be informed of our
political and economic systems?
- jury duty
- voting
- making and economic investment
- want to change the government
- you have been discriminated against
- pay taxes
- if you break the law / go to jail
What is a citizen?
Citizen – a member of a state or nation who owes allegiance to it by
birth or naturalization and is entitled to full civil rights.
Citizens have duties and responsibilities.
Duty – an action required by law
Ex. jury duty, going to school, obeying the law, paying taxes
Responsibility – an action that a citizen should take
Ex. community service, voting, service in the military, displaying
One can become a citizen by
1. Birth (natural born citizen)
a. Citizen by blood – parents are US Citizens
b. Citizen by soil – born on US soil but your parents are not
US citizens. (this does not apply to children of diplomats)
2. Becoming a US citizen (naturalized citizen)
a. Immigrant signs a declaration of intention that is filed
with the CIS (Citizenship and Immigration Services)
(Note: the CIS was once called the INS – Immigration and
Naturalization Services)
b. One may file an application for citizenship, after living in
the US for 5 years (if you are married to a US Citizen, 3
years), living in your state for 3 months, and reaching the
age of 18 yrs..
c. Applicant meets with a CIS official for an interview–
official is looking for good moral character
d. Applicant must pass a citizenship test.
e. Applicant pledges oath of allegiance to the US
If applicant has children under the age of 18, they automatically
become citizens.
Millions apply for citizenship each year but only about 675,000 are
accepted each year. Relatives and people with needed job skills have
priority in receiving citizenship.
We are a nation of immigrants
“E Pluribus Unum” – out of many, one
Immigrant – people legally admitted as permanent residents of a
Illegal Immigrants – those residing in the US without permission
from the government.
Alien – non-citizen
Is the US as a “Melting Pot” or a “Tossed Salad”?
Melting Pot – this metaphor is used to describe a culture in which
groups of people have lost their specific identities (in other words they
have assimilated into the dominate culture)
Tossed Salad – this metaphor is used to describe a culture in which
groups maintain their unique identities within the larger group.