Civics is the study of citizenship and government. The word comes from the Latin word CIVIS, meaning “citizen.” In ancient Rome, where the word was first used, only wealthy landowners were allowed to be citizens. As such, they enjoyed special privileges that the common people did not share. Today the word CITIZEN-a member of a community with a government and laws-applies to most people. Wealth and property are no longer requirements for citizenship.
Being a citizen means much more than just living in a country. American citizens who live abroad are still citizens of the United States. Similarly, many foreigners living in this country remain citizens of their own countries.
Being a citizen means being a part of a country or community. Citizens usually share a common history, common customs, and common values. They agree to abide by a set of rules and to accept the government’s authority.