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Citizen

roman, citizenship, power, word, sovereign and people

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CITIZEN, from the French word Citoyen, which remotely comes from the Latin Civis. Aristotle commences the Third Book of his Politik' with an investigation of the question, What is a citizen (woAlTns)1 He defines him to be one who participates in the ju dicial and legislative power in a State ; but he observes, that his definition strictly applies only to a democratical form of government. The Roman word Civis, in its full sense, also meant one who had some share in the sovereign power in the State. The word citizen then, if we take it in its historical sense, cannot apply to those who are the subjects of a monarch, or, iu other words, of one who has the complete sovereign power. It is consistent with ancient usage and modern usage, and it is also convenient to apply the word citizen only to the members of republican governments, which term, as here understood, comprehends [RE PUBLIC] constitutitional monarchies. The term constitutional monarchy is not exact, but its meaning is understood : it is a form of republican government at the head of which is a king, or person with some equivalent title, whose power and dignity are hereditary. Constitu tional monarchies approach near to abso lute monarchies when the constitution gives very little power to the people, and this little power is rendered ineffectual by the contrivance of the prince and his ad visers. Constitutional mcnarchies are of an aristocratical character when much political power is vested in the hands of a minority which is small when com pared with the majority ; or they may approach to a democracy, and differ from it only in having an elective instead of an hereditary head. Citizenship therefore is here understood as only applying to those States in which the constitution, whether written or unwritten, gives to those who are members of such States, or to some considerable number of them, some share of the sovereign power. The usual form in which citizenship is acquired is by birth ; by being born of citizens. In the old Greek states, and

generally in those states of antiquity where citizenship existed, this was the only mode in which as a general rule it could be acquired. A person obtained no rights of citizenship by the mere circumstance of being born in a country or living there. Citizenship could only be conferred by a public act either on an individual or on all the members of other communities. Difference of religion was one of the causes of these communities excluding strangers from their political body. The Roman system was at first a close com munity, but the practice of admitting aliens (peregrini) to the citizenship was early introduced. They were even ad mitted by the old burgers (the Patri cians) in considerable numbers, but only by a vote of the collective body of Patricians. The admission of aliens to the citizenship, either partial or complete, became a regular part of the Roman polity to which Rome owed the extension of her name, her language, and her power. It is true that the process of admission went on slowly, and for a long time the Romans, unwisely, and with danger to their state, resisted the claims of theit' Italian allies, or subject people, who demanded the Roman citizenship ; but this claim was finally settled in favour of the Italians by the Social or Marsic War (a.c. 90), and by the concessions that fol lowed that war. Sometimes the States of Italy declined admission into the Roman political body ; they preferred their own constitution to the rights and duties of Roman citizens.

The Roman system did not allow a man to claim the citizenship by birth, unless he was born of such a marriage as the state recognised to be a legal mar riage. If a Roman married a woman who belonged to a people with whom the Roman state recognised no intermarriage (connubium), the child was not a Roman citizen ; for he was not the child of his father, and it was only as the child of a Roman father that he could claim Roman citizenship.

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