Meaning of Citizenship

The word citizenship currently carries several essential rights to human life. As some examples of these rights, we can mention: freedom of thought and expression, access to education and medical assistance and the laws that regulate working hours.

The citizen, therefore, is a fundamental part in a society. It is for him and through him that the community grows and develops.

All goods offered to citizens depend on their approval for consumption and, consequently, socioeconomic development.

Throughout human history, the term citizenship has received different meanings. Let’s find out a little more about that word …

Citizenship in history

The term citizen transports us to Ancient Greece. The right to citizenship, in the Greek polis (city-state), meant discussing and making decisions about the direction of the economy, administration and military affairs of the state.

Thus, through the direct participation of individuals, the destiny of the State was traced. This direct participation worked as follows: before they were implemented, decisions needed to be accepted by all citizens.

The affairs of the State administration that needed a solution were exposed to the group. The problem was discussed in public and all citizens were able to voice their opinions. The alternatives for resolving the government’s concerns were sought and then voted on.

In this period of history, citizenship means the right of the individual to express his opinions on the decisions of the State and to vote, according to his will. These attitudes qualify the people who practice them, who are the citizens .

However, we need to take some precautions! First of all, let’s clarify: not everyone was a citizen. In Ancient Greece, only free men, not slaves, born in Polis and who lived there, were entitled to citizenship.

For example, in Athens, most of the population – women, children, foreigners and slaves – had no right to participate in state decisions, because these people were not considered citizens.

Advancing through the seas of history, in the 17th and 18th centuries, in the liberal State, in which the creation of a Constitution and the division of powers into Executive, Legislative and Judiciary are based, the meaning of the word citizenship is slightly altered. Every individual owner of goods and a pre-established income has the right to choose, by direct vote, his representatives.

Through a political pact, the governed choose the governors by direct vote. Once chosen, they alone have the task of creating and applying the decisions of the State administration.

The Brazilian Constitution ensures, by direct and secret vote, that all citizens, from sixteen years old (optional vote) and over eighteen years (mandatory vote), have the right to choose representatives who, for a certain period, will occupy the government posts.

In exchange for authorization to administer, government officials commit to ensuring freedom of choice and thought, the preservation of life and the preservation of the private property of the governed. This set of obligations corresponds to the natural rights of man.

If we look at the political and administrative organization of the current state, we will notice some elements inherited from the 18th century. The Constitution continues to represent a political agreement between governors, chosen by direct vote, and governed.

All are equal before the law, having the same rights, such as housing, respect for life and freedom.

According to the 1988 Constitution, in Brazil, individuals, under the law, are equal and have the same rights and duties, regardless of race, origin, sex, age, religion, etc. The State is obliged to preserve the natural rights of man, that is, freedom, life and property. Although this equality between all does not always work in everyday life, prejudices and racism are the materialization of these unequal practices.

The government, through the use of laws and, if necessary, physical force (police and Armed Forces), ensures the balanced coexistence of society. It is through legal codes and the Judiciary that human impulse and behavior are controlled.

Currently, the meaning of the word citizenship receives different value. All individuals are considered citizens and have the same rights and duties.

It is also essential to remember that, in Athens and in the 18th century, citizenship meant only the freedom of choice of representatives of the people through the right to vote, in our time, some things have changed …

And today, how to define citizenship?

Today, every individual, man, woman and child, born or naturalized within the national territory is considered a citizen . Individuals who are absent from their country of origin are guaranteed rights that allow them to exercise citizenship.

This means that all people, regardless of their nationality and wherever they are on the planet, are considered citizens. These rights are guaranteed by international conventions, representatives of international law.

These conventions are agreements between participating countries that must establish, in the text of their Constitutions, a set of common rules and values ‚Äč‚Äčthat recognize foreigners as citizens who have rights and duties.

National states currently have an obligation to ensure and guarantee rights (civil, social and political) to all people, whether naturalized or not in the country in which they find themselves.

In this way, citizenship is closely related to human rights . These rights correspond to the set of rules that seeks to preserve the dignity and integrity of all individuals.

Citizenship corresponds, in addition to the right to life, property and freedom, to other benefits guaranteed by the State to all the people who live in it. These changes resulted from a long course of conflicts between government officials, representatives of the wealthiest sections of society, and individuals who did not have the right to vote and neither bread nor employment.

This means that medical and social assistance, access to education and housing, the laws that regulate the period of daily work and the minimum wage, freedom of expression and thought, direct and secret voting and equality of all before the law, today, are the natural rights of man, or rather, of the citizen of the liberal state.

Citizenship is also defined as equal access to essential services, such as education. Therefore, it is the function and obligation of the public administration (municipal, state and federal governments) to promote and ensure the balanced and guaranteed distribution of this right, enabling, as a consequence, the formation of a conscious and active citizen, capable of promoting transformations and improvements in society in general. that lives.

Check below some results obtained by the Brazilian State from the investment made to guarantee all citizens the right of access to education.

Citizenship