The Bill of Responsibilities
With Rights come Responsibilities–As Americans, we must accept responsibility with the gift of security of our rights. As the Founding Fathers of our nation set down the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the US Constitution, to establish certain rights of American citizens, the Freedoms Foundation has outlined responsibilities of American citizens in a free society:
Freedom and responsibility are mutual and inseparable; we can ensure enjoyment of the one only by exercising the other. Freedom for all of us depends on responsibility by each of us.
To secure and expand our liberties, therefore, we accept these responsibilities as individual members of a free society:
- To be fully responsible for our own actions and for the consequences of those actions. Freedom to choose carries with it the responsibility for our choices.
- To respect the rights and beliefs of others. In a free society, diversity flourishes. Courtesy and consideration toward others are measures of a civilized society.
- To give sympathy, understanding and help to others. As we hope others will help us when we are in need, we should help others when they are in need.
- To do our best to meet our own and our families’ needs. There is no personal freedom without economic freedom. By helping ourselves and those closest to us to become productive members of society, we contribute to the strength of the nation.
- To respect and obey the laws. Laws are mutually accepted rules by which, together, we maintain a free society. Liberty itself is built on a foundation of law. That foundation provides an orderly process for changing laws. It also depends on our obeying laws once they have been freely adopted.
- To respect the property of others, both private and public. No one has a right to what is not his or hers. The right to enjoy what is ours depends on our respecting the right of others to enjoy what is theirs.
- To share with others our appreciation of the benefits and obligations of freedom. Freedom shared is freedom strengthened.
- To participate constructively in the nation’s political life. Democracy depends on an active citizenry. It depends equally on an informed citizenry.
- To help freedom survive by assuming personal responsibility for its defense. Our nation cannot survive unless we defend it. Its security rests on the individual determination of each of us to help preserve it.
- To respect the rights and to meet the responsibilities on which our liberty rests and our democracy depends. This is the essence of freedom. Maintaining it requires our common effort, all together and each individually.