The United States Census
The U.S. Constitution requires that the federal government take a census every ten years. Citizens are required by law to be counted and to participate in this fundamental aspect of the democratic process. The primary purpose of the census is to allocate seats in the House of Representatives to the states according to their population.
The scope and brutality of the Civil War quickly challenged the military resources of the North and South. The Confederacy and the Union established general compulsory military service. Many considered the draft an infringement on their individual liberty. Critics charged class discrimination, as the North and South draft laws provided financial ways to avoid service. The debate over a military draft has continued ever since. Today all men are required to register for Selective Service at eighteen years of age.
A Citizen’s Jury
In a nation based on the sovereignty of the people, the jury system is one of the cornerstones of American democracy. Established under the Constitution is the right to an impartial jury of one’s peers. This right also implies an obligation of citizens to serve as members of a jury.
The Virtuous Citizen
Of the many core responsibilities of citizenship, the most basic has been being a “good citizen.” The founding generation believed that liberty and freedom could only survive if the Republic and its people were virtuous. For them, and still today, this means respecting the country’s institutions, fulfilling civic duties, contributing to the community, and generally being a good neighbor.