Duties and Responsibilities of U.S. Citizens Bell Ringer

Duties and Responsibilities of
U.S. Citizens
Bell Ringer
The concept of civic duty is based on the principle
that citizens owe some allegiance to their
government and that government in turn protects its
citizens. Civic duties refer to the responsibilities of
citizens. Often rights enjoyed by citizens also implies
corresponding responsibilities.
Citizenship carries with it both rights and
responsibilities. Civic duties include duties and
responsibilities. Duties are legally enforceable and
vary with each state. Citizens must do their duties.
Some examples of civic duties are obeying the law,
serving on a jury, and paying taxes
Legal Duties
These are actions a citizen MUST do to
stay within the law.
An American citizen MUST…
Obey laws passed by Congress (federal
And laws passed by state and local
An American citizen MUST…
Serve as a witness if asked by the Court
to do so.
A witness must respond to a courtorder to appear before the court, called
a subpoena.
“I swear to tell the truth, the
whole, and nothing but the truth,
so help me God.”
An American citizen MUST…
Serve on a jury
Employers must
allow citizens to
serve with no
problems if asked.
Citizens can be
excused if they can
show that serving
would cause
An American citizen MUST…
The government provides public goods and
services for the community as a whole. To
pay its bills, the government needs revenue,
or a source of income. The money that the
federal government uses to pay its bills
comes mostly from taxes. Taxes shift
resources from private individuals and
businesses to the government.
A few ways we pay taxes…
1. Income taxes
Income taxes can be charged at the federal, state and local
2. Sales taxes
Sales taxes are taxes on goods and services purchased. These
are usually calculated as a percentage of the price paid. Sales
taxes vary by state
3. Payroll taxes
Both employees and employers have to pay the Social Security
tax, one of two payroll taxes (Medicare is the other)
4. Property taxes
Property taxes are usually imposed to fund local services
Civic Responsibilities
These are actions a citizen should do on
a voluntary basis to be a good citizen.
An American citizen SHOULD…
Vote in federal, state,
and local elections.
The voting age in the
United States is 18
according to the 26th
Amendment (1971)
51% is a majority and
wins the vote.
Voter turnout in
November midterm
elections was the lowest
since 1942
An American citizen SHOULD…
Run for political office
Only if he or she feels a
contribution can be made.
The candidate must file
with the party of their
It takes large amounts of
money to run even a local
An American citizen SHOULD…
Express opinions
to elected officials
Citizens can write
Making a phone
call is also OK
Email is possible
An American citizen SHOULD…
Participate in civic
Community Service
An American citizen SHOULD…
Know his or her legal rights according
to the Constitution.
Be familiar with the Court System.
Think about…
1. What does it mean to be a good citizen? In what ways are you a
good citizen? Give some examples of things you've done that
show good citizenship. What things could you do to be a better
2. Write about someone in your life who you feel is a good citizen.
What qualities does this person have that make you see him or
her that way? Which of those qualities do you have?
3. Come up with a list of some things you might do in the next year
that would demonstrate good citizenship. Pick one and describe
the steps you would take to carry it out.
4. Think of some kind of volunteer work you might like to do.
Describe it and tell why you think you would like it. If you have
done volunteer work in the past, describe what it was like and
what you got out of it.