Quotations about   citizenship

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It falls to each of us to be those anxious, jealous guardians of our democracy; to embrace the joyous task we’ve been given to continually try to improve this great nation of ours. Because for all our outward differences, we, in fact, all share the same proud title, the most important office in a democracy: Citizen. Citizen. So, you see, that’s what our democracy demands. It needs you. Not just when there’s an election, not just when your own narrow interest is at stake, but over the full span of a lifetime.

Barack Obama (b. 1961) American politician, US President (2009-2017)
“Farewell Address,” Chicago (10 Jan 2017)
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Added on 14-Jun-22 | Last updated 14-Jun-22
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Democratic citizenship requires a degree of empathy, insight, and kindness that demands a great deal of all of us. There are easier ways to live.

Jason Stanley (b. 1969) American philosopher, epistemologist, academic
How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them, ch. 10 (2018)
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Added on 28-Apr-22 | Last updated 1-Jun-22
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Others again who say that regard should be had for the rights of fellow-citizens, but not of foreigners, would destroy the universal brotherhood of mankind; and, when this is annihilated, kindness, generosity, goodness, and justice must utterly perish; and those who work all this destruction must be considered as wickedly rebelling against the immortal gods. For they uproot the fellowship which the gods have established between human beings.

[Qui autem civium rationem dicunt habendam, externorum negant, ii dirimunt communem humani generis societatem; qua sublata beneficentia, liberalitas, bonitas, iustitia funditus tollitur; quae qui tollunt, etiam adversus deos immortales impii iudicandi sunt. Ab iis enim constitutam inter homines societatem evertunt.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Officiis [On Duties; On Moral Duty; The Offices], Book 3, ch. 6 / sec. 28 (44 BC) [tr. Miller (1913)]
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(Source (Latin)). Alternate translation:

Others there are, who are ready to confess that they ought to bear such a regard to fellow-citizens, but by no means allow of it in relation to strangers: now these men destroy that universal society of all mankind, which, if once taken away, kindness, liberality, justice, and humanity must utterly perish; which excellent virtues whoever makes void, is chargeable with impiety towards the immortal gods; for he breaks that society which they have established and settled amongst men.
[tr. Cockman (1699)]

They, too, who hold that a regard ought to be paid to our fellow-citizens, but deny it to foreigners, break asunder the common society of mankind, by which beneficence, liberality, goodness, justice, are entirely abolished. They who destroy these virtues, are to be charged with impiety towards the immortal gods. For, by such principles, they subvert established intercourse among men.
[tr. McCartney (1798)]

They, again, who say that a regard ought to be had with fellow citizens, but deny that it ought to foreigners, break up the common society of the human race, which being withdrawn, beneficence, liberality, goodness, justice are utterly abolished. But they who tear up these things should be judged impious, even towards the immortal gods; for they overturn the society established by them among men.
[tr. Edmonds (1865)]

Those, too, who say that account is to be taken of citizens, but not of foreigners, destroy the common sodality of the human race, which abrogated, beneficence, liberality, kindness, justice, are removed from their very foundations. And those who remove them are to be regarded as impious toward the immortal gods; for they overturn the fellowship established among men by the gods.
[tr. Peabody (1883)]

Others again who deny the rights of aliens while respecting those of their countrymen, destroy the universal brotherhood of mankind which involves in its ruin beneficence, liberality, goodness and justice. To destroy these virtues is to sin against the immortal gods. It is to subvert that society which the gods established among men.
[tr. Gardiner (1899)]

In the same way, those who say that one standard should be applied to fellow citizens but another to foreigners, destroy the common society of the human race. When that disappears, good deeds, generosity, kindness, and justice are also removed root and branch. We must draw the conclusion that people who do away with these qualities are disrespectful even against the immortal gods. They destroy the cooperation among men which the gods instituted.
[tr. Edinger (1974)]

Added on 17-Mar-22 | Last updated 17-Mar-22
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For in a democracy, every citizen, regardless of his interest in politics, “holds office”; every one of us is in a position of responsibility; and, in the final analysis, the kind of government we get depends upon how we fulfill those responsibilities. We, the people, are the boss, and we will get the kind of political leadership, be it good or bad, that we demand and deserve.

John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) US President (1961-63)
Profiles in Courage (1956; 1964 ed.)
Added on 10-Mar-14 | Last updated 3-Nov-20
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