Civics is the social science that deals with the study of citizenship.
Citizenship refers to the rights and responsibilities of a legal member (citizen) of a nation.
Although this and the following background information is helpful, your ability to comprehend the essentials—Main Idea, Detail, Inference—from what you are given to read is more important for answering questions than tapping into an encyclopedic memory.
Migrate = to move from one country, place, or locale to another.
Migrant = a person who moves from one country, place, or locale to another.
Migration = the act of migrating.
Emigrate = to leave one’s place of residence or country to live elsewhere.
Emigrant = a person who leaves a place of residence or country to live elsewhere.
Emigration = the act of emigrating.
Immigrate = to enter a country in which a person was not born to take up permanent residence.
Immigrant = a person who comes to a country in which he or she was not born to take up permanent residence.
Immigration = the act of immigrating.
Refuge = a place that provides shelter or protection.
Refugee = a person who flees danger or persecution in one country, place, or locale to seek refuge in another.
Being born in the United States confers citizenship at birth.
Naturalization is the process by which an immigrant to the United States voluntarily becomes a U.S. citizen.
• Be at least 18 years old at the time of filing an application for citizenship.
• Be a permanent resident (have a “Green Card”) for at least 5 years.
• Show residency for at least 3 months in the state of application.
• Pass a test of basic English.
• Pass at test of U.S. history and government (civics).
• Be a person of good moral character.
• Demonstrate an attachment to the principles and ideals of the U.S. Constitution.
• Demonstrate continuous residence in the United States for at least 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing an application for citizenship.
• Show physical presence in the United States for at least 30 months out of the 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing an application for citizenship.
Oath of Allegiance (after eligibility requirements met)
“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.”
Rights of Citizenship
• Freedom of expression.
• Freedom of religion.
• Right to a prompt, fair trial by jury.
• Right to vote in elections for public officials.
• Right to apply for federal employment requiring U.S. citizenship.
• Right to run for elected office.
• Freedom to pursue “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Responsibilities of Citizenship
• Support and defend the Constitution.
• Stay informed of the issues affecting local community.
• Participate in the democratic process.
• Respect and obey federal, state, and local laws.
• Respect the rights, beliefs, and opinions of others.
• Participate in the local community.
• Pay income and other taxes honestly, and on time, to federal, state, and local authorities.
• Serve on a jury when called upon.
• Defend the country if the need should arise.
National Anthem: The Star-Spangled Banner (1814)
“Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro’ the perilous fight;
O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming.
And the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”
Pledge of Allegiance (1892)
“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.”
[The phrase “under God” was added to the pledge by an act of Congress in 1954. Because of the doctrine of separation of church and state, this phrase has, at times, sparked controversy.]
The design of the flag has changed twenty-seven times since 1777 and took on its present form in 1959.
Red, White, and Blue
Stars and Stripes
13 red and white stripes symbolize the 13 original colonies.
50 stars symbolize the 50 states.
Red symbolizes valor and bravery.
White symbolizes purity and innocence.
Blue symbolizes vigilance, perseverance, and justice.
“In God We Trust”
[Because of the doctrine of separation of church and state, this phrase has, at times, sparked controversy.]
Great Seal (1782)
E Pluribus Unum means “out of many, one.”
Annuit Coeptis means “He [God] favors our undertakings.”
Novus Ordo Seclorum means “New Order of the Ages.”
Why They Come
– Howard B. Grose
1 The causes of immigration are variously stated, but compressed into three words they are: Attraction, Expulsion, Solicitation. The attraction comes from the United States, the expulsion from the Old World, and the solicitation from the great transportation lines and their emissaries. Sometimes one cause is more potent, sometimes another. Of late, racial and religious persecution has been active in Europe, and America gets the results. In Russia there is an outbreak, hideous and savage, against the Jew, and an impulse is started whose end is not reached until you strike Rivington Street in the ghetto of New York. The work begun in Russia ends in the seventeenth ward of New York. Cause and effect are manifest. Military service is enforced in Italy; taxes rise, overpopulation crowds, poverty pinches. As a result, the stream flows toward America, where there is no military service and no tax, and where steady work and high wages seem assured. The mighty magnet is the attractiveness of America, real or pictured. America is the magic word throughout all Europe. No hamlet so remote that the name has not penetrated its peasant obscurity. America means two things—money and liberty—the two things which the European peasant (and often prince as well) lacks and wants. Necessity at home pushes; opportunity in America pulls.
Practice – Questions
1. Which of the following can you infer from this passage?
A. At the turn of the twentieth century, Europe was a happy place.
B. At the turn of the twentieth century, New York had nothing to do with immigrants.
C. At the turn of the twentieth century, American citizenship was frowned upon.
D. At the turn of the twentieth century, American citizenship was highly sought.
2. What is the main idea of this passage?
A. Immigrants seeking citizenship in the USA have heard bad things.
B. Immigrants seeking citizenship in the USA do not want to be naturalized.
C. Immigrants seeking citizenship in the USA come only from Russia.
D. Immigrants seeking citizenship in the USA have their reasons.
3. According to this passage, the causes of immigration are:
A. affection, exudation, and solstice
B. baseball, apple pie, and Chevrolet
C. attraction, expulsion, and solicitation
D. allusion, excretion, and solemnity
4. Solicitation comes from the:
A. great white shark
B. great transportation lines
C. great pumpkin
D. grateful dead
5. Which of the following does this passage imply?
A. For immigrants, the benefits of American citizenship can be real or imagined.
B. For immigrants, the benefits of American citizenship have nothing to do with money.
C. For immigrants, the benefits of American citizenship have nothing to do with freedom.
D. For immigrants, the benefits of American citizenship have nothing to do with hearsay.
Practice – Answers
1. D. At the turn of the twentieth century, American citizenship was highly sought.
2. D. Immigrants seeking citizenship in the USA have their reasons.
3. C. attraction, expulsion, and solicitation
4. B. great transportation lines
5. A. For immigrants, the benefits of American citizenship can be real or imagined.