Citizens need to understand competing ideas about civic life, politics, and government so that they can make informed judgments about what government should and should not do, how they are to live their lives together, and how to support the proper use of authority or combat the abuse of political power.
Citizens must understand the fundamental ideas of American constitutional government and their history and contemporary relevance to develop a reasoned commitment to them, as well as to use them as criteria to evaluate their own behavior and the behavior of government officials.
Citizens who understand the reasons for this system of dispersed power and its design are able to evaluate, to monitor, and to influence it effectively.
To make judgments about the role of the United States in the world today and what course American foreign policy should take, citizens need to understand some of the major elements of international relations and how world affairs affect them.
Both the government and the citizens are responsible for the protection of the rights of individuals and for the promotion of the common good. It is a fundamental responsibility of the citizen to see that government serves the purposes for which it was created. In order to fulfill this role, individuals need to understand what citizenship means in American constitutional democracy.