Citizenship status often implies some responsibilities and duties under social contract theory. "Active citizenship" is the philosophy that citizens should work towards the betterment of their community through economic participation, public service, volunteer work, and other such efforts to improve life for all citizens. In this vein, schools in some countries provide citizenship education.
[ME. citesein, etc., a. Anglo-Fr. citeseyn, -zein, sithezein, altered form of OF. citeain, citehain, citein, citeen, citien, citain, later citeyen, citoyen:L. type *cvittn-um, f. cvitt-em city (cf. oppidn-um, villn-um); Romanic type civtatno, -dano, whence Pr. ciutadan, Sp. ciudadano, Pg. ciudadão; and Pr. ciptadan, It. cittadano, now cittadino, OF. cite(h)ain. The intercalation of s (z) in Anglo-Fr. citesain has not been explained: association with dainzain denizen, which was often an equivalent term, has been suggested. The suggestion that z was a mistaken reading of , meaning y, on the part of a 13th or 14th c. scribe or scribes, is in every respect untenable.]
- 1. An inhabitant of a city or (often) of a town; esp. one possessing civic rights and privileges, a burgess or freeman of a city.
- b. Used also as feminine. (Cf. CITIZENESS.)
- c. A townsman, as opposed to a countryman.
- d. A civilian as distinguished from a soldier; in earlier times also distinguished from a member of the landed nobility or gentry. Johnson says ‘a man of trade, not a gentleman’.
- e. With reference to the ‘heavenly city’, the New Jerusalem.
- 2. A member of a state, an enfranchised inhabitant of a country, as opposed to an alien; in U.S., a person, native or naturalized, who has the privilege of voting for public offices, and is entitled to full protection in the exercise of private rights.
The attainment of a high cultural civilization demands, first, the ideal type of citizen and, then, ideal and adequate social mechanisms wherewith such a citizenry may control the economic and political institutions of such an advanced human society.