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We the People.

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Presentation on theme: "We the People."— Presentation transcript:

1 We the People

2 Civics in Our Lives


4 Good government requires educated citizens
The main reason for public education is to help young people become more effective citizens Everything the government does effects you directly or indirectly It is important for us to be aware of the issues we face as a nation WHY STUDY CIVICS? We study civics so that we can learn to become responsible citizens Civics is the study of citizenship and government and what it means to be a U.S. citizen A citizen is a legally recognized member of a country

5 The word civics comes from the Latin word civis which means “citizens”
The concept of citizen originated in Greece around 500 BC and later adopted by the Romans Being a Citizen Romans used the term to distinguish the people who lived in the city of Rome from people born in the territories that Rome had conquered. If a man or boy was a citizen he had many privileges Women had some rights but could not be citizens Roman citizens had the right to vote and had a say in the way their country was run

6 Citizens had duties such as paying taxes, attending assembly meetings, and serving in the Roman army

7 Citizens today have rights and responsibilities of citizenship differ from country to country
EX. Many allow their citizens to vote and some don’t, most nations require their citizens to pay taxes, some countries require all citizens to serve in the military Rights and duties of citizens depend on their country’s type of government Government is the organizations, institutions, and individuals who exercise political authority that acts on behalf of a group of people

8 Being an American Citizen
Citizens have many rights and responsibilities Citizenship includes being a productive and active member of society Americans can participate in society in many ways EX. Belong to a family, go to school for several years, and work with other people Americans are also members of their local communities (towns, cities) In the U.S., you are a citizen of both your country and your state Steps to becoming a good citizen: First, understand the purpose of government

9 Know how the government works, on the national, state, and local levels
Understand how the U.S. economic system works and how government and economy interact Knowing these will make you ready to explore ways to fulfill your role as a citizen Right now governments all across the U.S. are making decisions that will affect how much money you might earn, the roads you travel on, the cost of your doctors’ visits, and the protections you have under the law

10 American Values Values are ideas that people hold true and try to live by The U.S. has inspired other countries because of its basic of American values: equality, liberty (freedom) and justice for all people These values are the foundation of many of your important rights and freedoms Equality “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…”

11 This means that ideally, all people are equal under the law
The rights of each citizen is equal Equality means that each citizen has the same right to enjoy the many benefits granted to all citizens Everyone has the right to seek an education or choose a job or career U.S. law guarantees that any citizen qualified for a job has an equal opportunity to secure it


13 Liberty (freedom) Americans have the freedom to choose a job or career, receive an education and live or travel any where they wish within the nation. There are many other rights and freedoms guaranteed to Americans Millions of people around the world do not have basic freedoms

14 The founding fathers that created our government gave us a system that guarantees rights and freedoms As an American, you have the freedom to pursue your own dreams and a duty to protect our heritage of freedom. Justice As American citizens, we are all guaranteed the same rights and freedoms Your rights and freedoms can not be taken away as long as you follow the laws of your community, state and country

15 As American citizens, we must be willing to do our share to protect this freedom
Throughout our history, citizens have fought and died for the freedoms we enjoy Qualities of a Good Citizen Participation in voting, voicing opinions to representatives in government are civic duties Government “By the people” (Abraham Lincoln) can not exist without participation

16 Voting in Elections A basic principle of American government is that public officeholders should respond to citizens’ wishes The most important positions in government are elected If officials do not respond to voters, they can be voted out People govern themselves through officials they elect Voting is one of the most important of a citizen’s responsibilities Exercising your right to vote is a major way to contribute to your country’s government

17 You can also help in other ways to choose the men and women who will govern
EX. Work for a political party Expressing Your Opinion It is your responsibility as a citizen to tell officials what you need or how you disagree with government actions or policies EX. Write or call public officials or send letters to editors of newspapers Being an Effective Citizen 10 characteristics of a good citizen

18 Good citizens Are responsible family members Respect and obey the law Respect the rights and property of others Are loyal to and proud of their country Take part in and improve life in their communities Take an active part in their government Use natural resources wisely Are informed on key issues and willing to take a stand on these issues Believe in equal opportunity for all people Respect individual differences, points of view, and ways of life that are different from their own


20 Who Are U.S. Citizens?

21 Americans Are from Everywhere
Over time, groups from various parts of the world have settled here, contributing to American society People have brought their different languages, ideas, beliefs, customs, hopes, and dreams The United States has been called a “melting pot” Immigrants (the pot) entered the nation and adopted American customs and blended into American society Immigrants are people who came here from other countries to settle as permanent residents Many immigrants practice their traditions and customs after they move to the U.S.

22 Ex. New York City and San Francisco have neighborhoods called Chinatown
Other cities have areas such as Little Italy or Little Korea where other customs and ways of life are present A More Accurate Picture People who come here as adults often keep the customs they grew up with in their native countries Their children and grandchildren, raised in the U.S., often blend into what we think of as typical American ways of life

23 Early Americans Archaeologists believe that the first people to settle in North America came here from Asia between 12,000 and 40,000 years ago These groups were the ancestors of modern-day American Indians and were the first Americans Europeans began to arrive in the Americas 1492, Columbus sailed to Central America and claimed lands for Spain Columbus and his crews were the first Europeans to build permanent Euro settlements in the Americas

24 The Immigrants Europeans soon learned that Americas possessed vast natural resources Spanish settlers soon spread across the Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America and present-day Florida, Texas, California and southwestern United States People from the British Isles settled America’s original 13 colonies Germans settled in Pennsylvania, the Dutch along the Hudson River, Swedes along the Delaware River, and the French in New York, Massachusetts, and South Carolina

25 Immigration Policy News about America spread quickly America had abundant space, rich resources, and one precious resource: freedom Over time British colonies grew and in 1775 they fought the American Revolution The U.S. attracted people from around the world Europeans came by the tens of thousands, mainly to the East Coast of the U.S. In the mid 1800s thousands of Chinese arrived on the West Coast New immigrants worked in factories and farms across the country and immigration was encouraged

26 Not everyone was happy about the flood of immigrants
Newcomers were willing to work for low wages and that angered many American workers Americans and immigrants clashed over religion and culture as well In the 1880s the U.S. Congress passed laws limiting immigration The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 halted Chinese immigration to the U.S. while other laws prevented Chinese Americans from becoming citizens and owning property Congress passed a broader set of laws in the 1920s

27 The laws established a quota, or a specific number of immigrants from certain countries or regions who were allowed to enter the country each year The annual quotas have changed from time to time since then The Immigration Act of 1990 sets a total annual quota of immigrants at 675,000, starting in 1995 The law gives preference to 3 groups of people. 1) husbands, wives and children of U.S. citizens. 2) people who have valuable job skills. 3) aliens Aliens are permanent residents, or living, in the U.S. who are still citizens of another country

28 Changes in U.S. immigration policy:
1880s—restrictions placed on immigration in response to wage issues 1920s—Limits on yearly immigration; quotas set for particular countries Immigration Act of 1990—cap set at 675,000 immigrants per year Refugees are not subject to the immigration cap. 1986—Immigration Reform and Control Act

29 Becoming a U.S. Citizen Millions of immigrants have become U.S. citizens Some belong to families that have lived in the U.S. for many generations Others were born in foreign countries Americans are primarily immigrants or descendants of immigrants Citizenship by Birth A native-born is anyone born in the U.S. According to the 2000 census, almost 90% of Americans were native-born while more than 10% were foreign-born

30 If you are born in any U.S. state or territory, you are an American citizen
If one or both of your parents was a U.S. citizen, then you are a citizen Citizenship by Naturalization The legal process by which an alien may become a citizen is called naturalization Naturalized citizens have the same rights and duties as native-born Americans The only exception is that naturalized citizens cannot become president or vice president of the U.S.

31 http://www. uscis. gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem

32 Legal Aliens The 2000 census counted about 18.7 million legal aliens living in the U.S. A legal alien is a citizen of another country who has received permission to enter the U.S. Most aliens come to the U.S. to visit or to attend school Aliens enjoy many of the benefits of American citizenship yet they cannot serve on juries, vote, or hold public office Aliens must carry and identification card, called a green card


34 Illegal Immigrants People come to the U.S. seeking jobs, better education and health care for their children Illegal aliens are also called undocumented residents because they lack the legal immigration documents No one knows the exact number of undocumented residents living in the U.S. According to the government, the number of illegal aliens living in the U.S. could be as high as 7 million Many illegals aliens are migrant workers and often work for very low wages and have poor working conditions

35 The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 legalized undocumented residents who met certain requirements in an attempt to reduce the flow of illegal immigration Refugees Today’s immigration quotas do not include refugees-people who are trying to escape dangers in their home countries Refugees are usually fleeing persecution, wars, political conflicts, and other crisis situations in their countries The president works with Congress to set yearly quotas for the number of refugees allowed to enter the U.S.

36 Path to U. S. Citizenship http://www. uscis

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