Rights and Responsabilities

Responsibilities

Two responsibilities of U.S. citizens are to serve on a jury and vote in federal elections.

Jury Duty
The Constitution gives citizens the right to a trial by a jury. The jury is made up of U.S. citizens. Participation of citizens on a jury helps ensure a fair trial.

Voting
Another important responsibility of citizens is voting. The law does not require citizens to vote, but voting is a very important part of any democracy. By voting, citizens are participating in the democratic process. Citizens vote for leaders to represent them and their ideas, and the leaders support the citizens' interests. Voting is one of the most important civic responsabilities in the United States. There are four amendements to the Constitution about voting. They are as follows:

You only need to know one of these, but the more you know, the better!

Taxes
The last day to send in your federal income tax to the Internal Revenue Service is April 15 of each year. The Constitution gave the federal government the power to collect taxes. The federal government needs money to pay the nation's debts and to defend and provide for the needs of the country.

Military Service
In the past, military drafts were needed during times of war. Most recent drafts include those for the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Today, there is no draft, but all men between eighteen (18) and twenty-six (26) years old must register with the Selective Service System. Registration can be completed at a post office or online at, Official Selective Service System.

Loyalty

When we say the Pledge of Allegiance, we are showing loyalty to the flag and to United States. The flag is an important symbol of the United States. The Pledge of Allegiance to the flag states, “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” When we say the Pledge of Allegiance, we usually stand facing the flag with the right hand over the heart.

After you pass the U.S. Citizenship exam and fulfill all of the other requirements to become an American citizen, you will take a final step and take an Oath of Allegiance.The Oath of Allegiance states: "I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God." Remember one of these promises for the exam :)

Rights

U.S. citizens have the right to vote in federal elections. A citizen has to be eighteen (18) years or older to vote. In some states, permanent residents can vote in local or state elections that do not require voters to be U.S. citizens. Only U.S. citizens can vote in federal elections. U.S. citizens can also run for federal office. Even though voting is only for citizens, there are other rights that everyone living in the United States has:

These seem very familiar :P

Participation in Democracy

In order for our democracy to remain vibrant, we must all participate. Voting or military service aren't the only ways. One can participate in their democracy by:

Quiz on Rights and Responsibilities