Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Citizen. Aristotle defines a citizen as one who participates in the executive, judicial, 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 original and proper sense also meant one who had some share in the sovereign power of the State, though it was occasionally applied in a broader sense to subjects of the Roman State. The word citizen, then, in its historical sense, cannot apply to those who are the subjects of a despotic monarch, nor to those persons under any form of government who have no share of political power. Continental publicists frequently distinguish "active citizens," who have some share of political power, from "passive citizens" (non-voters, including women and children), who have no political rights. Citizenship is usually acquired by birth, by being born of citizens. In most of the old Greek states, and in those states of antiquity where citizenship existed, this was the only mode in which, as a general rule, it could be acquired.