January 23, 2013 in 1920s-30s, Social history

Citizenship by Emma Guy Cromwell


In Emma Guy Cromwell’s “Citizenship” she defines the rights and responsibilities of American citizens, placing particular emphasis on women.  In analyzing my personal views on citizenship, I easily drew parallels between the ideals of Cromwell and what I consider when defining citizenship.  Among these shared ideals are the importance of citizens’ personal dedication to being informed, the importance of exercising one’s right to suffrage, and the overall idea that citizenship must involve a heavy sense of responsibility alongside expected rights.

Cromwell suggests from the very introduction of her writing the importance of being an educated citizen.  This applies in particular to the vote, where the author commands intelligence and critical thinking.  Not only do I consider this a very important obligation to citizens, but one that is largely disregarded by many modern Americans.  Although in our modern society information is easily accessible, false information can be provided as easily as the truth.  Perhaps, Cromwell’s writing could be updated to suggest that citizens not only be informed, but be critical of the information they obtain, and explore alternate avenues of obtaining information to develop an unbiased opinion.

Furthermore, her overlying theme that citizenship denotes both privilege and responsibility directly corresponds to my own ideals.  If one is going to declare themself a true citizen, they must be a part of the democratic process.  Cromwell states that citizenship is not only about civil rights but political rights, and that citizens must uphold the government.  This idea holds true today. Responsibility lies within the hands of the people to control government through voting, but also through other forms of participation in the democratic process,such as voicing one’s opinion, protesting, and participating in civil disobedience. It means contributing to society by educating oneself, and being engaged in educating others.

For more information on Emma Guy Cromwell.

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