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Chapter: 11th 12th std standard Political Science History goverment rule laws life Higher secondary school College Notes

Concept Of Citizenship - Ancient City States

The state is a political organization with the established government for the welfare of the people.



The state is a political organization with the established government for the welfare of the people. In other words, welfare of the citizen. The word citizen has two different meanings.


1.     One narrow meaning of the term is a citizen a resident of a city.


2.     The broader meaning of the term citizen is, 'a person who resides within the territorial limits of the state. In Political science parlance, a citizen means, a person who belongs to and is a member of the state and who enjoys social and political rights.



In those day citizenship was not accorded to every


individual living in the city state. Only those who were capable of dealing with public affairs or participate in public affairs where accorded citizenship.


Slaves for example were not considered as citizen, and so could not participate in public affairs.


Ancient political thinkers like a Aristotle, advocated citizenship only to limited persons.


The practices of extending citizenship only to a limited section of the people changed over the time in modern states. All adults were considered as citizen.


Due to economic and individual development, a person may have to work and stay in a different country. They are not citizen of that country. He is an alien. An alien is one who is living temporarily in a state but does not belong to that state.

For example, ambassadors of different countries are working and living in India. But they are not citizens of India but are aliens. The difference between a citizen and an alien is, that former enjoys political and social rights, whereas the later does not enjoy. An alien cannot vote or contest in election in that country.

Citizenship is of two types

One is called naturalized citizenship and


Acquired citizenship.

A natural citizen is one who is born is that country.


An acquired citizen is one who acquires the citizenship on application fulfilling certain requirements. A person who stays in a country for 15 years is eligible to apply for citizenship.


Usually a person has to forego his citizenship of the country in which he was born citizenship is not just a legal issue. A good citizen should have sentimental attachment towards his country.


Most of the countries in the world are practicising indirect democracy. This is also known as representative democracy. This is also known as representative democracy. In olden days there were city-states with a little population.


The administration was also simple. It was possible for the government to consult the people before making any law or taking any action. But in the course of time, the functions the government have increased many times.


The population has also grown manifold. Hence it is not possible for the government to consult all the people before making a law or taking any action. The extension of the territory and emergence of nation-state has all led to development of indirect election.


Consequently the practice of electing periodically some representative who would work as trustees of the people came to be developed. Thus the people of a state are represented by a small group who are elected by the people In ancient democracies, direct popular participation in public affairs was practiced. Therefore there was no need for any representation. However when the Roman Republic expanded, popular participation could not be achieved.


The origin of representation could be traced back to the practice of Christian church in calling together representatives councils to deal with matters relating to the governance of Christendom. Similarly in Europe, kings of feudal societies developed the custom of calling representatives from the communities.


These local representatives presented complaints and petitions and bargained on grant of money. But these representatives cannot be considered as national representatives but only agents of local powers acting under special instructions or mandates.


The representatives used to represent a shire or brought, in the council of the king. The shire or borough was a closely knite community with a distinctive unity of its own. Thus the representatives did not represent a constituency but only a community. A representative to represent a nation or a constituency should rise above petty localism and represent national interest.


According to Edmund Burke, an eminent political philosopher, 'A parliament is not a congress of ambassadors from different and hostile interest; which interests each must maintain as an agent and advocate, against other agents and advocates; but parliament is a deliberative assembly of on nation, with one interest, that of the whole; where no local purposes, no local prejudices, ought to guide, but the general good resulting from the general reason of the whole.'


In the course of time, the shire or borough type representative gave place to a constituency, a constituency, now a days is a defined territory where the voters belonging to a different caste, community and economic status live.

Constituencies are drawn on the basis of population. Hence the boundaries of he constituencies are not fixed and permanent. They are redrawn or readjusted wherever there is a sizable increase or decrease in the population.


The practice of redrawing or readjusting the boundaries of constituencies gives rise to the modern theory of representation it is the individual and not the communities, which has representation.


In older days, a territory consisted of groups of people who were socially united. But his social unity has undergone changes and now in a territory people belonging to different colour, caste, religion, language and economic status live.


Though they are living together there must not be social unity as was found in the past. This transformation from social unity to social diversity has led to the problem in the theory of representation.


Now a question arises, whom does a representative represent? In other words, when a representative is elected, whose voice or opinion should he reflect in the parliament? A diversified society definitely consists of diversified opinion, and quiet normally even conflicting opinion. How can the diverse individual opinion be represented?


The problem in the theory of representation as whose option a representative should reflect is partly answered by the presence of political parties. A political party is a political group representing, and advocating a particular political ideology. In democracies, political parties have become an essential feature.


They get support from the people for their ideology and Program Political parties get support cutting across local and Personal differences. In a particular given constituency, people who are otherwise divided into several groups on the basis of caste etc, when it comes to supporting a political party or the other, shed all their other differences and lend or extend support to a political party.

In other words, political parties help people shed or forget their differences and come together in support of a political party. Though political parties reduce divisions among the people of a constituency, divisions among the people cannot be completely eliminated. Because, political parities themselves, are another source or cause for divisions among people.


They divide people on political grounds. Therefore the representation of the multifarious interest through like political parties is not quite satisfactory.


Generally, only one member is elected from a constituency. This is called single member constituency, in this case, people elect a candidate of one political party from among the candidates who belong to different political parties.


The successful candidates is one who has secured more votes than the other candidates who contested in the elections. It is not necessary that the elected candidate should have secured a majority of votes in the system.


The elected candidate represents the opinion of the people who have voted for him only. Therefore a question arises whether representation should be based on geographical basis.

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11th 12th std standard Political Science History goverment rule laws life Higher secondary school College Notes : Concept Of Citizenship - Ancient City States |

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