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What are the 5 most important rights provided to citizens in a democratic state (captions and brief descriptions may be helpful here)? Include also a corresponding democratic responsibility that accompanies each right you have listed (again, captions and brief descriptions may be helpful here). Select and include a graphic image that you believe symbolizes each of the responsibilities you have listed.

There are many rights that could be considered essential in a democratic state. Five major rights are freedom of speech, the right to a fair and public trial, the right to due process, the right to vote freely, and the right to worship freely. Governments that do not ensure one or more of these rights are not usually considered democratic.

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Felicita Burton eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Within a democratic society, five important rights correspond to those that are listed in the Bill of Rights, or the first ten amendments to the US Constitution. The First Amendment includes five distinct rights, which are often referred to as the "five freedoms." Each of these freedoms includes responsibilities along with the rights. The full text of the First Amendment is this:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Examining the idea of freedom of religion enables us to see how rights and responsibilities are interdependent. The Congress, which represents the people, cannot impose an official religion, and the Constitution guarantees that everyone can follow any religion they choose. This requires everyone to respect others' freedoms as well.

The right to free speech is crucial in a democracy, as it guarantees that anyone may speak out in opposition to a policy that they believe is wrong. Speaking one's mind is a necessary step toward effecting social and political change. The accompanying responsibilities include honesty and refraining from inciting violence or restrictions to others' free speech.

Free speech is also closely connected to the last right mentioned: the right to petition the government. This means that one can communicate their ideas to elected representatives or others who are empowered to change laws. It does not allow anyone to coerce those representatives.

Freedom of the press is associated with the right to speak freely, as "the press" includes any publication of opinions that criticize the government or powerful people and institutions. An individual who is not a journalist could have an op-ed piece published. Here again, the responsibility for honesty applies.

The right to assemble peaceably is important in part because it goes beyond an individual right. It allows a group of people to occupy the public streets for any reason that is not expressly prohibited. The legality of the assembly may be contested, as was often the case during the Civil Rights Movement actions, so the responsibility to remain peaceful applies to those assembled and to law enforcement.

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Susan Hurn eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The right to be educated is crucial in a democracy, since a democratic government cannot endure without an educated populace. Free public education has always played a fundamental and vital role in American society. If public education should truly fail, the country as we have known it can't survive.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I think that 5 most important rights that citizens in a democratic are as follows:

1)  Freedom of speech and expression- The most fundamental right that all citizens must have in a democratic state is the right to express oneself and one's opinions.  This feeds into the responsibility of civic virtue and basic tenets of citizenship.  An image that I would associate with this basic right is a megaphone.  It generates sound and reverberates sound when someone speaks through it.  This is similar to how democracy functions:  When there is voice, everyone benefits in a democracy.

2)  The right to a fair trial/ due process (procedural fairness)- I think another fundamental right that a democratic state must protect is the right of citizens to enjoy a legal process that is just and fair.  Certainly, the responsibility this promotes is faith in the judicial system.  If the legal system breaks down or suffers a lack of faith on the part of its citizens, a major blow to the system is felt and its legitimacy is questioned.  The gavel is the image I would use to represent this right.

3)  The right to a free and unperturbed media- Democracy only functions effectively when its citizens are given access to information and are properly informed about the affairs of its government.  This transparency is provided by a free and open press.  The image that represents this is a newspaper.

4)  The right to vote freely in public and open elections- The responsibility of civic virtue is an essential component for democracy.  A democratic government can only function when as many people as possible are able to participate in the electoral process.  The ballot or a ballot box would be the graphic image the represent this.

5)  The right to worship religion in a free setting- This is an interesting and compelling one for me.  Democracy works well when all of its citizens feel that they are able to have some sphere of influence that is free from external control.  The issue of religion is one that falls into this category.  Individuals need to feel some level of spiritual fulfillment and should be able to choose freely how that path is taken.  It can be through religion, spirituality, or identification with a code of honor that is understood by them and them alone.  As long as this right does not interfere with another's right to be left alone, the democratic responsibility of tolerance and acceptance is advanced and I think that this is of critical importance in a democratic state.  Greater spiritual fulfillment (personal freedom in this realm is intrinsic) yields citizens that are able to feel that they are represented in the democratic process.  I think the image I would use is something like an open field for spirituality is an open field where one can choose where they wish to emotionally graze.

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I will speak about just one right that I consider most important. It this is the right which,perhaps, has not been guaranteed or mentioned in constitution of any country. But before I come to describing this very important right, we need to be clear on the nature of rights. This clarity is essential to appreciate the importance of the right I am talking about.

Right is not something that someone else, including a country or a constitution gives or confers upon you. A fundamental right is a right you have by virtue of your birth. A constitution just acknowledges such rights, and sets down a policy that such rights should not be infringed.

Because people have a right does not mean that they will always automatically or easily enjoy that right. A deer in a forest has a right to live. It does not mean that a lion will not or should not kill the deer to satisfy his hunger. The right of deer to live only means that the deer is justified in taking all possible action to protect its life. Also, just because some particular right of people is not mentioned in the constitution does not mean that people don't have that right. So in sum total it means that people have rights because of themselves, and they themselves have the prime responsibility to protect their rights.

If this is so then, I will say the most important right of the people in current times, is a right that enables them to secure and safeguard all other rights. This is the right to information. People should have the right to know the facts in all matters that affect them. If people are denied such information, they are denied the capability of deciding what is good for them. They cannot know whether and how their rights are being infringed. Without such knowledge they cannot take effective action to protect any of their rights.

The importance of right to information, and the related issue of transparency has been realized only during recent times, and many countries are now enacting new laws and improving old ones so that people have better access to information regarding acts of government and other large institutions. Advances in Information technology have also helped to improve substantially the cause of transparency in public institutions. However, to best of my knowledge, this right has not been incorporated in constitution of any country.

epollock | Student

The most important are freedom of mobility--to travel without any government permission.

The freedom to do what you want, within certain limits of course.

The freedom to say what you want.

The freedom to not do anything.

The freedom to vote for whomever you want.