All people in the United States have the basic freedoms and protections outlined in our founding documents, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. For more than 200 years, we have been bound by the ideals expressed in these documents. Because of these ideals, our society has prospered. The U.S. government, as established in the Constitution, protects the rights of each individual, without regard to background, culture, or religion. To keep our system of representative democracy and individual freedom, you should strive to become an active participant in American civic life.

Upon taking the Oath of Allegiance, you prom­ise your loyalty and allegiance to the United States of America. U.S. citizens have important rights and responsibilities. These include the right to vote in federal elections and the ability to serve on a jury. Citizenship is a privilege that offers the extraordinary opportunity to be a part of the governing process.

Former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once said, “The only title in our democracy superior to that of President [is] the title of citizen.” In the United States, the power of government comes directly from the people. To protect freedom and liberty, U.S. citizens must participate in the democratic process and in their communities. The following is a list of some of the most important rights and responsibilities that all citizens should exercise and respect. We encourage you to read the Constitution to learn more about all of the rights and responsibilities of United States citizenship.