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The member of a state are called citizens, nationals or subjects. They are under the authority of their state, and owe allegiance to it. The word subject is not much favored now, because it denotes a relation of subordination. It has now become a distasteful word in modern democracies, because it is associated with monarchy and feudalism. Instead of it, the term citizen is now more widely used.

A citizen has full civil and political rights, especially the right to vote. He elects his representatives to sit in the national legislature. A citizen has the right to share in the affairs of the government, to express opinion and communicate it to the government means of newspapers, elections, political parties, etc. The citizen also has the right to be protected by the state when he goes to some foreign country.

Originally the word citizen meant a person who dwelt in a city-state and enjoyed its rights and benefits. Thus for instance, Aristotle defined a citizen as a person who had a share: in the political and judicial functions of the city-state. In this ways, a citizen was distinguished from the slave and the alien, who did not possess civic and political rights. But now its meanings have completely changed. Now-a-days the states have become large country-states. Modern state has thousands of villages and hundreds of towns and cities. A citizen now is a person who owes: allegiance to the state and enjoys rights and benefits granted by it, whether he dwells in a village, a town or city.

A citizen is dsfined as the member of an organised political society or state 10 which hv> owes allegiance, renders duties and enjoys legal and political rights and other advantages of his membership. Citizenship means the membership of the state along with the duties, rights, and benefits of the membership. Citizenship is, therefore, a legal relation which binds an individual to the state of which he is a member.

In ancient times and in the Middle Ages, the citizens were a small portion of the population of the state. They alone enjoyed full rights and benefits of their state. Besides the citizens, there were other inhabitants who were not given equal share in the advantages and rights by their state. They were its subjects. There was also large number of persons who were given no rights at all. They were the slaves. For example, in ancient Greek city-state of Athens, citizens were a small number of the total population of state. The rest were aliens, slaves and women who were not considered as citizens. The same was the case in the medieval states, where there were citizens, subjects and slaves.

In modern times, however, the old distinction between citizens and subjects, free and slave, is abolished. Now the population of the country mainly consists of citizens, possessing equal legal and political rights.

Citizenship does not mean ssive enjoyment of rights and benefits. It means really active participation in the affairs of the state. Three things are required for citizenship. Firstly, a citizen possesses civil and political rights which are granted and protected by the state. Secondly, a citizen owes duties towards the state, such as the duty to pay taxes, to render military service to defend the state and the duty to promote general welfare of his country. Thirdly, the citizen owes allegiance to the state. The citizen must be a loyal citizen.

Mere possession of rights and enjoyment of the benefits would not be enough. The citizen must be an active member of the state. As Laski says, citizenship is really an active membership of the state; it is ”the contribution of one’s instructed judgment to public good”. It means that the citizen has the duty to the state to contribute a share, big or small, towards the material and moral advancement of fellow citizens and of the humanity as a whole. Direct participation in civic life and political problem of one’s country is the sign of good citizenship.

Citizens are of two types; natural-born and naturalised. A natural born citizen is a citizen by birth, while a naturalised citizen is one who has adopted the citizenship of the country of which formerly he was not a citizen.

There are two rules to decide who is a natural-born citizen - namely, the Jus soil and the Jus sanguinis. Jus soil means that a person born within the jurisdiction of state, even though he may be a child of an alien or foreigner is a citizen of the state of his birth. This principle is mainly used in the USA. According to the principle of Jus sunguinis, person born to the citizens of a state remain the citizens of their parents state, no matter where they are born. A child born of French parents in America will be a citizen of both France and America.

A naturalised citizen has adopted citizenship by the process of naturalisation. A natural born citizen is a citizen by birth-right, but naturalised citizen becomes so by the grant of the right of citizenship by the state. Ordinarily, no distinction is made between the two. A naturalised citizen is granted the same rights and privileges, both legal and political, as enjoyed by the natural-born citizen, and performs the same duties. But in certain states, the naturalised citizens continue to suffer from certain disabilities. For instance, in U.S.A. a naturalised citizen can never become the President of America. In France, the naturalised citizens are further divided in two kinds, ordinary and grand. A ”grand’” naturalised citizen has full political rights, while the ”ordinary” one has fewer rights. On the whole, the tendency in modern times is to treat all citizens equally, whether naturalised or naturalborn.

The national is also a member of the state, with civil or legal rights, but not political rights, such as right to vote. For example, children are the nationals of their country. Due to minority they are not yet given the right to vote. In some states, women are not given political rights. They are then not the citizens but the nationals of their country. A national however, owes allegiance to the state and renders duties to it. When a national goes out of their country, they are protected by his government in foreign countries.

Citizens are also distinguished from the aliens. An alien is a person who is dwelling in a state temporarily or for a long time, but owes allegiance to his own state. An alien usually comes as a tourist or visitor for a few days or months. In case an alien comes to stay in the country for a long period, they are then called a resident or domiciled alien. There is something common between the citizen and the alien. The life and property of both of the citizen and the alien are protected by the state. An alien can sue or be sued in the law-courts for an offence or debt. Like a citizen, they also pay taxes on the income or property he possesses in the country where he is staying, especially if a resident or domiciled alien.

But the alien is different from the citizen in many respects. A citizen enjoys full legal and political rights, but an alien enjoys only civil rights. An alien has no political rights. For example, an alien cannot yote in the elections or hold an office in the government of the country. Secondly, the citizen owes allegiance to his state, while aliens owes allegiance to the foreign state of which they are citizen. Thirdly, the citizen has the duty to render military service to his state in times of invasion or aggression. But the alien owes no duty to defend the state, though such service is not legally excluded. Fourthly, citizens are protected by the state when they goes to a foreign country, but the duty of the state to protect aliens ends when they leaves its territory. Fifthly, aliens are required to register their names with the government during their stay in the country .

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Page last modified: 04-09-2017 16:26:21 ZULU