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Obligations of citizenship

U.S. citizens have key obligations like obeying laws, serving on juries, paying taxes, attending school, and defending the Constitution and country. These duties are not optional and are enforced by law. Created by Kimberly Kutz.

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Video transcript

- [Instructor] In this video we're going to learn about the obligations of U.S. citizenship. Obligations are actions that citizens are required to fulfill, or they'll face punishment by law. Unlike the responsibilities of citizenship we talked about in the last video, which are voluntary actions taken by good citizens. The obligations of citizenship are not optional. So what are some of these obligations? First, citizens must obey the law. They're bound to abide by the rules that have been made by elected representatives in government. Next, citizens over the age of 18 are required to serve on juries. The Constitution guarantees people who've been accused of a crime the right to a trial by a jury of their peers. So citizens are obligated to show up and be those peers when summoned. Although not everyone who is summoned will be selected to serve on a jury. Citizens are also obligated to pay their taxes every year by April 15th according to state, local, and federal laws. What other obligations do citizens have? Young citizens are required to attend school, as children and teenagers. Most states require students to go to school from about the age of five or six, to about 16 to 18. Although the exact ages and requirements differ from state to state. The last two obligations are to defend the Constitution and the country when called upon. These are in the naturalization oath that new citizens must take. To defend the Constitution and the laws of the United States means to be loyal to the system of government, not to try to overthrow the government or support a particular ruler rather than the system described in the Constitution. Citizens are also obligated to defend the country in a combat or non combat capacity when called upon by the government. Although at this time, only men or people assigned male at birth, must register for selective service between the ages of 18 and 26. So now that we've learned about the obligations of citizenship, let's do a couple of examples. See if you can identify which obligation each person in the scenario is or is not meeting. Okay, first up. Michel is an avid bicyclist. He bikes to work everyday. He knows that he could save about five minutes off his commute if he cuts through a college campus and rides on the sidewalks. However, in New York City, it's illegal for bicyclists over the age of 13 to ride on sidewalks, as bikes are vehicles. So Michel sticks to the bike paths on the street. All right, so pause the video here and think about which obligation Michel is following. If you said obeying the law, you're right. Okay, next one. Naomi is 14 and starts tricking here mom into thinking she's taking the bus, but instead goes to the library to read all day. She gets away with it for three days before her mom finds out. Which obligation was Naomi neglecting? She's neglecting her obligation to attend school. Last one. To deal with the shortage of personnel in a war, the U.S. government drafts thousands of men. One of these men, John Stewart, reports for enlistment with the U.S. Marine Corps at the young age of 19. Which obligation is he meeting? This one is the obligation to defend the country when called upon. All right, that's all for now. Keep practicing in the exercise for this lesson.