Chapter 7:
Citizen Participation in a
Denison Middle School
Civics Grade 7
Chapter 7 Florida Standards
Define the term “citizen,” and identify legal means of becoming a United States citizen.
Evaluate the obligations citizens have to obey laws, pay taxes, defend the nation, and serve
on juries.
Experience the responsibilities of citizens at the local, state, and federal level.
Identify America’s current political parties, and illustrate their ideas about government
(Political Parties will be covered in more detail in the next chapter of TCI).
Conduct a service project to further the public good.
Section 7.2:
Citizenship, Civic Rights,
and Civic Responsibilities
Pages 124 - 127
Citizenship, Civic Rights, and Civic Responsibilities
• The U.S. Constitution, as originally written, did not
define citizenship.
• When the U.S. Constitution was adopted, it was
generally assumed that state citizens would become U.S.
• It was also assumed that a person born in the United
States was a citizen.
• In 1857, the Supreme Court shook up these assumptions
in its ruling for the case Dred Scott v. Sandford.
• The Court held that Dredd Scott, an enslaved African
American born in Virginia, was not a citizen and therefore
could not sue for his freedom in federal court.
If he was not a citizen… what was he then?
The Fourteenth Amendment Defines Citizenship
• The 14th Amendment was adopted to
address the issue of citizenship and
reverse the Dredd Scott decision.
• Ratified in 1868, the Amendment
clarified who was a citizen under the
Constitution, stating that all persons
born on American soil are to be
considered U.S. citizens no matter where
their parents were born.
• The purpose of the 14th Amendment was
to extend the rights of citizenship to
former slaves.
citizenship – the status of being a
citizen, a person who by birth or
naturalization enjoys certain rights and
has certain duties in a nation-state.
African Americans’ Long Struggle for Civil Rights
• The 14th Amendment’s
immediate effects were limited.
• In the late 1800s, southern
states passed laws, known as Jim
Crow laws, that enforced
segregation and denied equality
to blacks.
• It took many decades for the
courts and Congress to overturn
those laws.
African Americans’ Long Struggle for Civil Rights
• Timeline, pages 124 - 125
African Americans’ Long Struggle for Civil Rights
• An early setback in the struggle for equal rights occurred when the
Supreme Court heard Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896
• Homer Plessy was a black man who was arrested in Louisiana for sitting in a
whites-only railroad car. Plessy argued the legality of his arrest by stating that
the Jim Crow laws that segregated blacks from whites violated the Equal
Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.
• The Court ruled against Plessy stating that separate facilities for blacks
and whites were legal as long as they were equal.
• This “separate but equal” doctrine was soon applied to almost every
aspect of life in southern states.
African Americans’ Long Struggle for Civil Rights
• Despite this decision, African
Americans continued to fight for equal
• They formed organizations such as the
National Association for the
Advancement of Colored People
(NAACP), the National Urban League,
and the Congress of Racial Equality
(CORE) to protest racial discrimination
in its many forms.
African Americans’ Long Struggle for Civil Rights
• In 1954, the NAACP won the Brown v. Board
of Education of Topeka
• The case focused on the rights of a young
African American, Linda Brown, who was
prohibited from attending a white school near
her home in Topeka, Kansas.
• This time the Supreme Court ruled that
“separate but equal” facilities were by their
very nature unequal.
• This ruling paved the way for desegregation
of public schools and launched the modern
civil rights movement.
African Americans’ Long Struggle for Civil Rights
• During the 1950s and ‘60s, the
civil rights movement touched all
aspects of American life.
• The most prominent leader was
Martin Luther King Jr., who
helped make Americans aware of
the great injustices imposed on
people of color.
African Americans’ Long Struggle for Civil Rights
• On July, 2, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the
Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law.
• This landmark legislation banned discrimination in most
areas of American life on the basis of race, sex, religion, or
national origin.
• It also committed the U.S. government to protecting the
rights of all Americans, regardless of skin color or country of
Rights and Responsibilities
• The Civil Rights Act of 1964 increased immigration both legal and
• Once in this country, most lawful permanent residents enjoy the
same rights as native-born Americans, including the rights listed in
the Bill of Rights, the right to vote, the right to hold public office, and
the right to claim social and economic benefits (civic rights).
• lawful permanent resident – an immigrant who is legally authorized
to live and work in the United States permanently, but is not a U.S.
citizen. Also known as a resident alien or legal resident.
Rights and Responsibilities
• All people living in the United States
have certain legal responsibilities.
• They are required to obey laws, pay
taxes, and cooperate with public
• All males who are 18 and, whether
citizens, lawful permanent residents
or undocumented immigrants, must
register for military service.
• Citizens have an added responsibility
to be informed and participate in
public affairs (civic responsibilities).
undocumented immigrant – a person who
has come to the United States to live and
work without the required legal papers.
Section 7.3:
Becoming an American
Pages 127 - 129
American Citizens: Native Born and Naturalized
• By 2003, more than 33 million Americans, or about 12% of the U.S.
population, were foreign born.
• There are two ways to become a U.S. citizen:
1. by birth (most common)
2. by naturalization
• Naturalization - is a multistep legal process that, when completed,
gives the applicant virtually all the rights and responsibilities of a
native-born citizen.
• In 2005, more than 600,000 people became citizens through
American Citizens: Native Born and Naturalized
• Immigrants must meet several requirements for naturalization, including being
18 years of age and a lawful permanent resident of the United States, living in
the United States for at least 5 years.
• After completing those requirements, the next step is to complete an
application for naturalization.
• If the application is approved, the applicant must have an interview with an
immigration official who will then test the applicant’s ability to speak, read,
and write English, as well as the applicant’s civics knowledge of American
history and government.
• The final step in the naturalization process is the citizenship ceremony.
• Naturalization gives new citizens the right to vote and run for public office
except that of vice president or president.
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The Status of Lawful Permanent Residents
• Immigrants don’t need to become citizens to stay in the United States
legally as they may remain as lawful permanent residents indefinitely.
• In 2005, the United States granted permanent resident status to over
one million people.
• Immigrants seeking permanent resident status must go through an
application process with the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration
• Preference for residency is given to applicants that possess job skills needed
in the United States and/or have family that are citizens.
• Those who successfully complete the application process receive a
green card (i.e.: proof that its holder is a legal resident and has a legal
right to live and work in the United States).
The Status of Lawful Permanent Residents
• Resident aliens (lawful permanent residents) enjoy most of
the rights of citizens.
• These rights include the right to travel freely outside the
• If the resident is out of the country for over a year, they must
apply for a reentry permit.
• Resident aliens may lose their permanent resident status and
be deported if they are convicted of a crime.
Section 7.4:
Political Culture in the
United States
Pages 129 - 133
Political Culture in the United States
• Citizens and residents of the United
States operate within a political
• Political Culture - is a society’s
framework of shared values, beliefs
and attitudes concerning politics and
• It is the political environment in which
Americans exercise their rights and
• Political culture can take many forms
and be expressed in many ways
• E.g.: The strong surge of patriotism after
the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001.
Americans’ Shared Political Values
• Although Americans often disagree on specific issues, they share a number
of core beliefs and values.
• The beliefs listed below shape our political culture:
Liberty- Openly express their views without punishment from the government
Equality- Equality of opportunity without regard to race, religion, or gender
Democracy- The belief that political authority comes from the people
Individualism- Belief of personal freedom and responsibility
Free Enterprise- Support of capitalism and a free-market economy
Justice and the rule of law- Society governed by a system of laws that are fairly and
equally applied
7. Patriotism- Pride and loyalty towards one’s country
8. Optimism- Being upbeat attitude
9. Civic duty- Citizens should vote and participate in civic and political affairs
Two Widely Held Ideologies: Liberalism and
• Although Americans share a common political culture, they do
not all hold to the same ideology (i.e.: basic political beliefs).
• Americans often disagree on such things as the role government
should play with respect to economic and moral values.
Most people identify their political ideology as being liberal or
Two Widely Held Ideologies: Liberalism and
• Liberalism is an ideology that favors an active role for the government
in solving society’s problems.
• Liberals generally support:
Governments efforts to regulate business and the economy
Policies designed to reduce economic inequality
Providing assistance to the poor
Government regulations to protect the environment and improve the
healthcare system
• Liberals strongly defend liberty and resist governments efforts to
interfere in people’s personal lives.
Two Widely Held Ideologies: Liberalism and
• Conservatism is an ideology that calls for a limited role for
government in economic affairs.
• Conservatives generally oppose government regulation of business
• Most conservatives want to:
• Limit the size of government
• Reduce taxes
• Cut back on government programs
• Compared to liberals, conservatives support government action on
moral issues. E.g.: gay marriage and abortion
Two Widely Held Ideologies: Liberalism and
• Over the past few decades, more Americans have identified
themselves as conservatives than as liberals.
• Since the 1960s,the percentage of Americans self-identifying
themselves as conservatives has varied between 30% and
• Liberals remained constant around 20%.
Three Other Ideologies: Socialism, Liberalism,
and Environmentalism
• The main goal of socialism is to limit economic inequality by ensuring
a fair distribution of wealth.
• In a socialist system, the government owns or controls most of the
economic resources needed for the production of goods and services.
• Socialism never became as popular in the United States as it did in
other countries, in part because it conflicted with America’s political
• Most American socialists today support what is known as democratic
• i.e.: This is an ideology that advocates socialism as a basis for the economy
and democracy as a governing principle.
Three Other Ideologies: Socialism, Liberalism,
and Environmentalism
• Modern libertarianism is an
ideology based on a strong belief in
personal freedom.
• Libertarians tend to be
conservative on economic issues
and liberal on social issues.
• E.g.: They favor lower taxes and a
free-market economy, while opposing
bans on abortion and gay marriage.
• Libertarians want a small
government and resist government
regulation of any kind.
Three Other Ideologies: Socialism, Liberalism,
and Environmentalism
• Environmentalism unites Americans who
are deeply concerned about the
conservation and protection of the
• Environmentalists advocate policies
designed to reduce pollution and preserve
natural resources.
• In contrast to libertarians,
environmentalists support government
regulation of industry and the economy to
achieve those ends.
The Modern in the Middle: Centrism
• Most Americans fit neatly into any ideological camp.
• These people consider themselves moderates, or middle-of-the-road
• Centralists typically hold a mix of liberal and conservative views.
• At election time, these voters often cross party lines, depending on
the candidates and the issues of the day.
Section 7.5:
How Americans Engage in
Civic Life
Pages 133 - 137
How Americans Engage in Civic Life
• There are many ways to become
an active citizen engaged in civic
life including voting, reading or
watching the news to stay
informed, talking to friends about
political issues, volunteering in
the community or writing a letter
to a public official.
Civic Society: The “Social Capital” of Democracy
• Some argue that social clubs and civic organizations are the building
blocks of what political scientists call civil society, (i.e.: the voluntary
associations and institutions that exist between government and
• Citizen involvement helps expand a society’s social capital (i.e.: the
“connection among individuals” that are forged through their
participation in voluntary associations).
• E.g.: participation in a school’s PTA creates a social network that leads to an
exchange of information about participant’s community
Four Categories of Civic Engagement: Which
One fits you?
• How engaged are most Americans?
• Electoral specialists - Main engagement is through the election
process. E.g.: voting.
• Civic specialists - People in this group are focused on improving their
community and helping others. E.g.: joining a local civic group.
• Dual activists - This category is made up of people who are engaged
both in the electoral and civic activities.
• The disengaged - Made up of people who are not significantly
engaged in civic affairs. They do not vote or pay attention to civic
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