Constitutional Citizenship: Civil Rights, Responsibilities, and Identity

Constitutional Citizenship: Civil Rights, Responsibilities, and Identity

Most citizenship rights and responsibilities are summarized in one legal act standing above all others. Rules, laws, or customs regulate various spheres of our everyday life. But a supreme legal document represents something more. Primarily values and beliefs that people believe in. They are proclaimed in its preamble. In a way, everything that defines a group as one sovereign state is manifested in one piece of paper. Although modern citizens take civil liberties for granted, that wasn’t always the case. Freedoms considered today as God-given rights result from the long evolution of our legal system. The Constitution and citizenship are relatively modern inventions and abstract concepts. People have to believe in it to make it real.

Writing Assignments About The Constitution

An ancient writer like Herodotus would be pleasantly surprised to witness today’s Western democracies in action. Although the American Constitution is the first modern document, other similar samples, like the San Marino Leges Statutae, were found earlier. It resembles an essay more than a legal manuscript. However, it’s still a sample document used as a blueprint for organizing society. Before modern manuscripts, there were just codified laws or court practices. Defining a constitution meant so much more. It means recognizing people as citizens.


Essays on constitutional changes are popular in school and college programs. Thus, students have to know a lot about it to make up their standpoint. But what should you do if your historical knowledge doesn’t fit the assignment’s needs? Luckily, you have at your disposal as inspiration various free examples on the Constitution topic for your essay. Try to understand the way it has to be done, catch inspiration, and create your papers. After using any sample at PapersOwl, you become a better writer without stress and great effort.

The Concept of Constitutional Citizenship

Various cultures define the basic responsibilities of citizens in society in different ways. Such burdens and obligations and the nation’s laws are a cornerstone of the nationhood concept. In the Middle Ages, equality or freedom of speech was unheard of. Having rights guaranteed by some higher power resembled a fairy tale. Yet, slowly but surely, many countries evolved into progressive societies. Nations or cultures where private property is protected while individuals enjoy peace and prosperity. Such perks come with a price in civil duties or obligations. Like paying taxes, for example.

Historical Evolution of Constitutional Citizenship

A balance between rights and responsibilities is crucial. Not so long ago, many individuals had no rights. Some were enslaved people or segregated groups for centuries. Democracy came after a long fight for freedom. Slipping voting papers on election day or protesting against war didn’t exist a few hundred years ago. 

Anybody who visits Siena in Italy can witness a beautiful Renaissance canvas in a 13th-century town hall. Three frescoes painted by Ambrogio Lorenzetti depict good and bad government. An efficient state shows law-abiding citizens enjoying prosperity. A poorly organized regime brings chaos, destruction, and famine. The idea of an organized society evolved with free commerce and a better quality of life. From the times of Hammurabi to the French Revolution, people always demanded additional freedoms. Generations fought for equality and having rights as a citizen. Only in the past 250 years have these tendencies come to fruition after the American and French Revolutions. Slavery is abolished. Freedom of speech granted. Rights to work and own private property are given. Protection under the rule of law is guaranteed. But we still complain.

The Rights of Constitutional Citizenship

Our list of rights is always under expansion. In ancient times, citizens had no right to travel without permits. For example, free elections didn’t exist. Work in the Middle Ages resembled slavery. The American Constitution brought notions of freedom, equality, and fair trial. The idea spread rapidly. First in France, then in the whole Western world. Modern amendments usually add freedom of religion or sexual orientation. Or a right to carry weapons. Defining the rights and duties of citizens is a controversial topic. However, liberal democracies tend to proclaim extra privileges available for law-abiding members of society. Some usual include:

  • Free Speech
  • People’s Assembly
  • Open Elections
  • Unperturbed Media
  • Fair Trial
  • Protection of Private Property
  • Education, Employment, and Health Service

Responsibilities of Constitutional Citizenship

Now comes the fun part. Nothing comes for free — especially freedoms or liberties. Respecting any country’s laws is a primary obligation of every resident. Paying bills and taxes is another one. The duties or responsibilities of citizens differ from nation to nation. However, participating in one’s community is considered essential. Exercising civil rights is also seen as vital to maintaining the democratic process. Abstaining from voting or expressing one’s opinion can backfire. Taking freedoms for granted without understanding their significance is dangerous. Only when someone loses his privileges does he know the value behind them. So, as a good citizen, do not forget to:

  • Pay taxes
  • Respect the Laws
  • Exercise voting right
  • Take part in the local community
  • State your opinion

Constitutional Citizenship and Identity

Modern nation-states emerged after the Renaissance period. The idea of belonging to a national tribe became a powerful driving force. Any research paper on forming national entities supports this view. National identity and citizenship are closely related to the Constitution. It proclaims values or norms to which a group of people has agreed upon. Nothing shapes a man’s identity like rules or traditions. 

Wrapping Up

Identifying with customs or local practices provides a sense of belonging. Mutual beliefs serve as a glue for society. Even if one isn’t American by birth, they might be an American at heart. So, feeling as a citizen transcends national borders or racial labels. It’s about feeling as if you belong. Living in a world of consumerism places success and material value as the most significant asset. One’s ability to vote, own a passport, travel freely, or receive medical care seems natural. But it’s not. People take many things for granted. Humans expect a better existence: additional liberties and fewer obligations. Since the first Constitution was written in America, there has been a delicate balance between citizens’ responsibilities and privileges. Maintaining such balance is vital for a prosperous society to flourish. It’s also a key to being a responsible member of society.