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Citizenship Quotes

"No one is born a good citizen; no nation is born a democracy. Rather, both are processes that continue to evolve over a lifetime. Young people must be included from birth. A society that cuts off from its youth severs its lifeline."
-- Kofi Annan

"It is not always the same thing to be a good man and a good citizen."
-- Aristotle (384-322 BC)

...ordinary men and women may often feel unmotivated to exert their citizenship, either because they cannot tell the difference between the different alternatives, or because they have lost faith in the political classes, or because they feel that the really important issues are not in their power to decide.
-- Patricio Aylwin Azócar

"Man is at the bottom an animal, midway, a citizen, and at the top, divine. But the climate of this world is such that few ripen at the top."
-- Henry Ward Beecher

The marvel of all history is the patience with which men and women submit to burdens unnecessarily laid upon them by their government.
-- William E. Borah

"Citizenship comes first today in our crowded world...No man can enjoy the privileges of education and thereafter with a clear conscience break his contract with society. To respect that contract is to be mature, to strengthen it is to be a good citizen, to do more than your share under it is noble."
-- Isaiah Bowman

"The most important office... that of private citizen."
Justice Louis D. Brandeis

"The only title in our democracy superior to that of President is the title of citizen."
Justice Louis D. Brandeis

"...we all have an obligation as citizens of this earth to leave the world a healthier, cleaner, and better place for our children and future generations.”
~ Blythe Danner

"I have no country to fight for: my country is the earth, and I am a citizen of the world."
-- Eugene V. Debs


"I realized that public affairs were also my affairs. I became active in politics because I saw the possibility, if we all sat back and did nothing, of a world in which there would no longer be any stages for actors to act on."
-- Helen Gahagan Douglas (1900-1980)

 

"A passive and ignorant citizenry will never create a sustainable world."
-- Andrew Gaines

"Good government is no substitute for self-government."
-- Mohandas K. Gandhi

"My country is the world; my countrymen are mankind."
-- William Lloyd Garrison

"Which is the best government? That which teaches us to govern ourselves."
--Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"The job of a citizen is to keep his mouth open."
-- Gunter Grass

* Without free, self-respecting, and autonomous citizens there can be no free and independent nations. Without internal peace, that is, peace among citizens and between the citizens and the state, there can be no guarantee of external peace.
-- Vaclav Havel

"A generation that acquires knowledge without ever understanding how that knowledge can benefit the community is a generation that is not learning what it means to be citizens in a democracy."
-- Elizabeth L. Hollander (1817-1885)

"If you look back in history, you will find the core mission of public education in America was to create places of civic virtue for our children and for our society. As education undergoes the rigors of re-examination and the need for reinvention, it is cruicial to remember that the key role of public schools is to preserve democracy and, that as battered as we might be, our mission is central to the future of this county."
-- Paul D. Houston, Executive director of the American Association of School Administrators

"A community is like a ship; everyone ought to be prepared to take the helm."
-- Henrik Ibsen, Norwegian playwright (1828-1906)

"A nation, as a society, forms a moral person, and every member of it is personally responsible for his society."
-- Thomas Jefferson

"It is strangely absurd to suppose that a million of human beings, collected together, are not under the same moral laws which bind each of them separately."
-- Thomas Jefferson

* "Ask not what your country can do for you…Ask what you can do for your country."
-- John F. Kennedy

"The efforts of the government alone will never be enough. In the end the people must choose and the people must help themselves."
-- John F. Kennedy

 

“What do I owe to my times, to my country, to my neighbors, to my friends? Such are the questions which a virtuous man ought often to ask himself.”
-- Johann Kaspar Lavater, German poet and physiognomist (1741-1801)

"Let us at all times remember that all American citizens are brothers of a common country, and should dwell together in bonds of fraternal feeling."
-- Abraham Lincoln

"Democracy is never a thing done. Democracy is always something that a nation must be doing."
-- Archibald MacLeish, American poet, public official (1892-1982)

"Democracy is the most demanding of all forms of government in terms of the energy, imagination, and public spirit required of the individual."
-- George C. Marshall (1880-1959)

* "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
-- Margaret Mead

"The worth of the state, in the long run, is the worth of the individuals composing it."
-- John Stuart Mill

"If I knew something that would serve my country but would harm mankind, I would never reveal it; for I am a citizen of humanity first and by necessity, and a citizen of France second, and only by accident"
-- Charles de Montesquieu

"Neither democracy nor effective representation is possible until each participant in the group...devotes a measurable part of his life to furthering its existence."
-- Lewis Mumford, American social philosopher (1895-1990)

* There can be no daily democracy without daily citizenship.
-- Ralph Nader

Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote.
-- George Jean Nathan

"Citizenship consists in the service of the country"
-- Jawaharlal Nehru

"The most important thing an institution does is not to prepare a student for a career but for a life as a citizen."
-- Frank Newman

"The World is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion."
-- Thomas Paine.

The punishment which the wise suffer, who refuse to take part in government, is to live under the government of worse men.
-- Plato

"The Greek word for idiot, literally translated, means one who does not participate in politics. That sums up my conviction on the subject."
Gladys Pyle, Senator (1890-1989)

Full participation in government and society has been a basic right of the country symbolizing the full citizenship and equal protection of all.
-- Charles Rangel

"The government is us; we are the government, you and I."
-- Theodore Roosevelt

"The first requisite of a good citizen in this republic of ours is that he shall be able and willing to pull his own weight."
-- Theodore Roosevelt

Whatever system of governance is eventually adopted, it is important that it carries the people with it. We need to convey the message that safeguarding our common property, humankind, will require developing in each of us a new loyalty: a loyalty to mankind. It calls for the nurturing of a feeling of belonging to the human race. We have to become world citizens.
-- Joseph Rotblat

As global citizens, it is our responsibility to become active participants in our democracy, and to make sure that everyone's civil rights are protected.
-- Robert Alan Silverstein

"As citizens of this democracy, you are the rulers and the ruled, the law-givers and the law-abiding, the beginning and the end."
-- Adlai Stevenson

"I am a citizen, not of Athens or Greece, but of the world"
-- Socrates

Citizenship is what makes a republic -- monarchies can get along without it.
-- Mark Twain

* "Today, when the consequences of our actions (and inaction!) reach further into time and space than at any previous point in history, we more than ever need politically engaged citizens."
-- Jakob von Uexkull

Our true nationality is mankind."
-- H.G. Wells

We are citizens of the world. The tragedy of our times is that we do not know this.
-- Woodrow Wilson

 

 

Citizenship Day - September 17

 

Quotes for a Better World

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