Who can become a citizen? What does it mean to be one? What is expected of a citizen, and what rights does a citizen have?
We’ll start off by discussing citizenship in the ancient world, specifically Athens, the world’s first democracy, and the Roman Republic, the world’s most famous and successful ancient republic. Their worldviews were completely different from ours and from each other’s, as was their conception of citizenship, but their political systems have influenced nearly every country today. They both have fascinating mythical origin stories and fascinating histories.
We’ll then talk about how modern conceptions of citizenship differ from those in the past. Of course, modern countries are not all the same–the most basic distinction being that between jus soli and jus sanguinis birthright citizenship. However, every self-respecting ancient Athenian democrat would be displeased at how uninvolved the citizens of every country today are. We don’t have public assemblies to pass laws–how undemocratic! We elect everyone instead of choosing them randomly from all citizens–how oligarchic! We have judges instead of just juries–how elitist!
See you this Wednesday, July 24, at 6 pm on Sovereignty Lounge, BBB B101.