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Citizenship and rights history

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Introduction

Citizenship Citizens are members of a certain state and are formally recognised by that state. The concept of citizenship is therefore legalistic. Citizens are individuals who have a legal status within the state. They are granted certain rights and in return must perform certain duties. The range and balance between the rights granted and duties they are supposed to perform, vary from state to state and time to time. For example, in war time the rights and obligations of a citizen would be different that of a citizen in peace time. Natural Rights Natural rights are rights that political philosophers argue are universally applicable to all societies. The origins of these rights is said to be found in the essential nature of human beings or in laws given by God. John Locke argued that before there were political societies, human beings existed in a state of nature in which god-given natural laws and rights existed. These laws and rights were to be the basis of societies that were created in the future. Locke claimed that life, liberty and property were natural rights. Problems with these rights are that it is hard to prove that a state of nature ever existed Positive Rights Some political philosophers believe that the only rights that exist are rights given to citizens by the state. ...read more.

Middle

This act limited the arbitrary power of rulers. Bill of Rights, 1689 In 1689, the Bill of Rights was passed. The British Bill of Rights had no special status other than being an act of parliament. The bill guaranteed the supremacy of parliament over the monarch and prevented the monarch from imposing taxation unless this was agreed by the House of Commons. The bill also guaranteed freedom of speech and the right of citizens to petition both the monarch and parliament. Further Acts The right to worship freely, for example, was established by a number of acts such as the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829. Slavery was abolished in 1839. Sex Discrimination Acts were passed in 1975 and 1987. The first Race Relations act was passed in 1976. The Data Protection Act was passed in 1984. Citizenship In the 1990's Since the late 1980's a debate about what citizenship is and what it should be has risen up in the political agenda. The reasons for this was - * There was a conservative campaign to promote citizenship. * There was concern that legislation passed in 1980's resulted in the erosion of many rights and liberties enjoyed by British citizens. ...read more.

Conclusion

Labour made pledges which are listed below * A freedom of information act * The incorporation of the European convention on Human rights into British law * The promise of legal aid for those seeking to enforce their rights * Improved rights for workers through a minimum wage and signing the Social Chapter of the Maastricht treaty. * Statutory trade union recognition Labour was also concerned about the decline in civic engagement by ordinary people who were no longer involved in their communities. Labour placed emphasis on the view that citizens have responsibilities. For example when the Welfare to Work legislation was proposed, ministers stressed that people had the responsibility to work since, by working, they would be able to make a valuable contribution to society. Labour devised the idea that awareness of citizenship should be incorporated into education. However the practice of this has been highly criticised by several groups. Labour has designed the compulsory citizenship programme for 110000 immigrants who apply each year to become naturalised Britains. Immigrants can apply for citizenship after living legally in the UK for 5 years. The intention is that these classes will teach immigrants about citizenship and about dealing with life in the UK. Trials for this scheme began in eight areas around the UK in January 2004. ...read more.

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