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CITIZENSHIP: A PRIMER

3-5-2012

Definition of Citizenship

Citizenship has expressed a right to being political, a right to constitute oneself as an agent to govern and to be governed, deliberate with others, and join in determining the fate of the polity to which one belongs. SOURCE? Has this classical definition changed in modern times? the idea of citizenship has offered an attractive and non-trivial, albeit fragile element for the construction of political communities.- source

Greek View of Citizenship

Plato and Aristotle

Platonic citizenship: polity is society where stability and harmony is achieved through specialization of people

Guardians governed Soldiers protected Producers provided economic engine

Plato: not everyone deserves the citizenship label Aristotle: a state is composite, like any other whole made up of many parts; these are the citizens who compose it But who was a citizen?

Aristotle and Plato believed that citizenship was incompatible with physical labor The lower classes and unskilled workers lacked excellence associated with just judgment and wise rule, therefore they could not be citizens

All for the polis?


Places for commerce, protection and political and cultural development A polis was a community of citizens (adult males) who joined together to make and carry out decisions that affected the whole community The ancient construction of citizenship held that the capacity rule was a matter of status rather than ability

Roman View of Citizenship

The broad territorial expansion of Rome affected the meaning of citizenship throughout the world Universal citizenship for all free men
Natural

law of supreme law and free from arbitrary exactions of fellow citizens

A Roman was not a marker of ethnicity or national origin


A

way of belonging to the world

Some Roman Classifications

Cives Romani

non optimo jure ius commercii (property) and ius connubii (marriage) optimo jure above two rights + ius suffragiorum (vote) and ius honorum (hold office) Latin Rights jus Latii - ius commercii and ius migrationis but NOT ius connubii Originally the Latins were a people, came under Roman control, eventually became a legal description rather than a nationalistic or ethinic Citizens which had treaty obligations with Rome

Latini

Soccii or Foederati

Main similarities and differences

Differences:
212 A.D. Roman Emperor Caracalla granted citizenship to all free peregrine Roman construction more malleable and inclusive Rome embraced diversity where Greeks required common language and culture

The civitas was irrespective of ethnic origin and much like American or British citizenship carried a certain way of life

Similarities

Precise and complex systems of differentiation


Many classes of types of people Roman went much further in public humiliation and subordination of the poor

The citizen was superior to all other classes of people

Dark and Middle Age View of Citizenship

Concept of civis survived the fall of Rome

In the post-Rome Italy, citizenship survived

The individual notion of the city


Fortress Market Autonomous law Kept alive the Romanized culture Inculcated Pagans and Germans into ideals of Rome

Cultural force of Christianity


The city is the place of armed safety which means liberty for the citizens as opposed to the status of vassalage, serfdom and domination imposed by feudal lords on the folk of the surrounding country areas

As an alternative to the dominant feudal paradigm, the city provided freedom

St. Thomas Aquinas

Enlightenment Interpretation of Citizenship

Machiavelli

[an]ethos of devotion to the political community, sealed by a practice of collective self-rule and self-defense A citizen is an individual who sets aside his private concerns to attend public affairs. The state of nature where all individuals are naturally equal Both Bodin and Hobbes believed in the benevolent sovereign who rules absolutely Thomas Jefferson took most of the Declaration of Independence from Locke natural rights

Bodin

Hobbes

Locke

mankindbeing all equal and independent Representatives of men of property and business No property = unfit to participate

Enlightenment Interpretation of Citizenship (cont)

Montesquieu

Democracies can be subverted in two ways

the spirit of inequality

Citizens and the country do not share the same interests, citizen will pursue self-interest and lust for power Citizens no longer wish to be equal with other similar citizens and wish to act as the public officials themselves

the spirit of extreme equality

Citizenship: a life being lived under the rule of law Cold Climate

Climate Theory

Republics and Monarchies Despots Initial rationalization for slavery

Warm Climate

Rousseau

Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains


State of nature = free, equal, peaceful, happy Claim of property = inequality, murder and war

Views that Undergird American Citizenship

Social Contract and the U.S. Constitution


Hobbes,

Locke, Montesquieu, and Rousseau helped form the structure and points of emphasis rule of everybody over everybody

Democratic thought
The
But

these philosophers and the authors of the Constitution had the inclusive views of equality, but harbored biases of gradation and subordinate positions of some members of society citizenships dark little exclusionary secret is afunction of the lesser-known, but equally damning, bias held by its great philosophical champions.