Justice Louis D. Brandeis once said, “The only title in our democracy superior to that of the president, is a citizen.” Americans that experiment in self-government depend not on presidents, members of Congress, or justices but most on each of us as citizens. An important principle for the people to follow is active involvement in civic life. For example, popular sovereignty means that the people have the ultimate governing authority. This means the people have the responsibility to exercise that authority knowledgeably by balancing individual interests and the common good.Citizenship is broadly defined as referring to the rights and responsibilities of people who owe allegiance to a particular government and are entitled to that governments protection. Early American colonies had to put their dependence on one another and the need to put the common good ahead of selfish interests because of their small self-contained political communities. The Founders learned that classical republicanism could not be easily adapted by a country as large and diverse as the America of their day. Citizens who viewed themselves as self-sufficient individuals were counted on by the Founders. They were capable of meeting most of their own needs. These citizens were then most likely to thrive in a system of limited government. Enlightened self-interest means the realiZation that one can fulfill private ambitions only if one also contributes to the common good. Today Americans devote themselves to public ends because they realize that the success of their private ambitions depends in large part on the success of American democracy. Participating in civic life addresses problems, and it also helps people become connected with their communities, regions, and states. Citizens are more likely to vote if they are actively engaged in civic life. This also makes them more likely to become a well-informed voter. Civic participation is one of the ways Americans strengthen a network of interdependence and contribute to the common good. Under the fifteenth Amendment African Americans are not being denied the right to vote, but aren’t given the right to vote either. In the court case, United States v Reese in 1873, the fifteenth amendment was violated to an extent. The Chief Justice, Morrison Waite, explains the fifteenth amendment in his words, “does not confer the right of suffrage upon anyone,” but “prevents the States, or the United States, however, from giving preference to one citizen of the United States over another on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” In 1873, Hiram Reese and Matthew Fourshee did not allow, William Garner, an African American to vote, stating that he failed to pay a tax. Garner states he was refused by the tax collector when he tried to pay. The Enforcement Acts, which were three bills protecting African-Americans right to vote, to hold office, to serve on juries, and receive equal protection of laws, were not supported by the fifteenth amendment. Garner lost the case 8-1. In our democratic political culture today citizens rights are violated. The government can track who americans are calling, how long they are on the phone for, where they are calling from, and this violates their privacy. Another threat is the collapse of civic virtue. Ben Franklin once said, “Nothing is more important for the public welfare than to form and train our youth in wisdom and virtue,” meaning that honesty and trust are what enables the country to function as a decent, forward-looking, and optimistic nation. The citizens in a democracy are just as important or more important than the president. Active involvement in civic life is necessary to keep the government, citizen based. Citizens should participate in things such as voting, participating in a political discussion, serving as a juror, etc. This enables citizens to be able to express freely what they support and what they believe in. It also makes it so everything is not left up to the government to decide. We are now ready for questions.