So, you’ve acquired American Citizenship. Congratulations! Whether obtained by birth or naturalization, American citizenship brings with it innumerable benefits, but also immense responsibilities. As an American citizen, you have inherited a tradition of individual liberty that yields both personal and financial dividends well beyond that of any competing nation. You have it within your power to become fabulously wealthy and pursue whatever endeavors your heart desires. Of course, these rights and rewards would not exist at all without a few rules (those responsibilities we just talked about!). In order for you to be free to realize the American dream, you must ensure that you chase that dream without trampling the rights of others. If that sounds a lot like the Golden Rule, well I suppose it is, after a fashion. If you break the rules, you are subject to the judgment of your fellow citizens, who will hear arguments both on your behalf and against you and render a decision as to whether you are guilty or not (we will discuss this in more detail in the chapter entitled “Your American Justice System”).

Who makes the rules, you may ask? Well, you do. That is to say, the government (local, state and federal) you elect makes the rules. It’s important to think of them as a sort of Board of Directors for an extremely inclusive club (we’ll discuss the precise structure in “Your American Government”). Their role is minimal and you should only meet them when you request upgrades to your membership (any sort of licensing, such as driver’s, marriage, etc; see chapter entitled “Your American Privileges”), when you pay your club dues, or when you break the club’s rules. Beyond that, the Board must stay out of your way so that you can go about your business without undue interference. You are entitled to your privacy and any activities on your part that do not fall under the Board’s discretion are not the Board’s business. In case you are worried that the Board may redefine its responsibilities or your rights, the “Club Charter” (the
United States Constitution and Declaration of Independence) outlines the limits of their power clearly and includes a Bill of Rights for the members that are inviolable and unchangeable. And remember, Board members serve at your discretion; you can vote to kick sitting members off should they take the club in a direction you feel inappropriate or in contravention of the “charter.”

As you can see, American citizenship grants you a great deal of leeway. Your opportunities are limitless because citizenship means equality under the law. Under the American system, you are no better or worse than any of your fellow citizens, even those in government, who are subject to the same rules as everyone else. Of course no system is perfect, and if you feel that you are being singled out for discrimination or harassed by your government, or that your government is generally in violation of the Constitution, you have recourse (see chapters “The American Revolution,” “The American Civil War” and “Your American Justice System”). As equals, all American citizens are entitled to the same basic rights as everyone else, and you can feel secure that, whatever enterprise you undertake as a citizen, the fruits of said enterprise are yours to keep and utilize as you see fit.

I’m sure you are excited to start using your American citizenship. It is indeed wonderful and precious. Before doing so, however, please be sure to read the warning below. Enjoy your citizenship and welcome to the American Republic!

WARNING: While citizenship allows for individual freedom and the accrual of wealth, it also allows for failure in the pursuit of both. If you should find that, by your own agency, you should fail in either, be aware that you must bear the consequences of whatever actions led to said failure. Citizenship protects equality of opportunity and NOT equality of results. While many citizens do succeed, your experience may vary.

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