National Government: (federal government) The national government is the highest government in the country. Legislators work together to pass laws that affect the entire country. Only the national government has the right to declare war, maintain an army and navy, coin money, establish federal courts, regulate trade between the U.S. and other countries, and establish and maintain a postal system.
State Government: Each state has its own government. State governments can create their own laws but those laws can’t contradict laws created by the federal government. States have the power to make decisions about schools, public roads, local governments, and marriage laws, among other things.
Local Government: Local governments are found in towns and cities across the United States. Local governments maintain local schools, police departments, fire departments, road repairs, libraries, and work to protect the rights of their citizens.
Keep order: The government passes laws that protect the people and keep society running smoothly. Government officials work together with police officers and safety officials to deter crime and enforce laws. In addition, the court system provides individuals with fair trials.
Provide security: The U.S. government has established the armed forces to protect their people at home and abroad. The military works with other countries around the world to ensure the safety of U.S. citizens.
Guide the people: Governments have the responsibility to solve problems within communities. The people look to governments to guide them in their decision-making. Through the government’s actions and public policies, they affect the economy, laws, public confidence, international relations, and more.
Provide services: Governments provide services to their people that help them in their day-to-day lives. Services can include schools, libraries, road repairs, and hospitals.
Be informed and vote: Citizens (over the age of 18) are not required to vote, however, their vote determines the decisions made in government. Every citizen has the responsibility to learn about issues and candidates and make informed decisions at the ballot box.
Respect the property of others: Respecting the property and rights of others is another responsibility of citizenship. Everyone has a right to own property and expect others to respect that right. This creates a peaceful society.
Participate in your community and government: People can contribute to their community and government through volunteer work. Helping others makes a society run smoothly. Citizens have the responsibility to help out when and where they can.
Respect different opinions: Citizens have the responsibility to listen to the opinions of others and respect those viewpoints –even if they don’t agree with them.
Obey the law: Laws are created to keep citizens safe and to keep order in society. By obeying laws, citizens contribute to the peace, safety, and order of their community.
Pay taxes: Citizens pay taxes to support government projects that directly benefit citizens. Taxes are used to pay for road repairs, government workers (officials, police officers, firefighters, teachers, etc.), schools, and more!
Defend the nation: Citizens have a duty to protect their country. Some citizens volunteer to serve in the U.S Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. These citizens protect citizens at home and abroad.
Serve in court: Citizens have the duty to serve as jurors in the court system. Jurors have the responsibility of listening to court cases and making informed decisions.
Attend school: States provide free education to students, typically aged between 7 and 16. Attending schools prepare students for future workplace environments and teaches them how to collaborate with others and solve problems.
Expatriation: When a person swears loyalty to another country. By doing this, they give up their U.S. citizenship.
Denaturalization: (This only applies to citizens who went through the naturalization process.) If the U.S. government discovers that a naturalized citizen lied during the application process, their citizenship can be revoked and they can be deported to their home country.
Conviction: Citizens convicted of certain crimes can lose their U.S. citizenship. These crimes include; treason, taking part in a rebellion, or trying to overthrow the government.