In what ways do Jurors eight and eleven uphold justice and embody the meaning of active citizenship in America?

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dbello eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Twelve Angry Men is as relevant today as it was in 1957, because it challenges a free society governed by the rule of the law it creates to 'practice what it preaches'. In the first ballot taken by the jury, juror #8  votes not guilty not because he believes the accused is not guilty, but because he believes that the accused deserves the right to an impartial jury regardless of any personal feelings or judgments he might have about the individual. Understanding this principle is the backbone of the American Judicial System. Juror #8 believed the accused is innocent until proven guilty. Juror #8 understood the importance that judgement be based upon the evidence and not on the personal opinions of others.  By juror #8 voting not guilty the first time around he claimed an active role in the judicial process. It took some time for juror #11 to verbalize the importance of the active process of the judicial system, however his willingness to finally 'verbalize' his opinion was the first step towards his role as an active citizen. Juror #11's first vote was 'guilty' but ultimately changes his vote to not guilty, the question is why? Juror #11 was not born an American citizen, however in that jury room he realizes that if a society is to remain free the stakeholders must be active participants. Juror #11 is transformed from a passive to an active citizen, requirement #1 in a free society.

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Twelve Angry Men

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