In the April 2, 1781 edition of the Boston Gazette, Samuel Adams said, “Every citizen will see, and I hope be deeply impressed with a sense of it, how exceedingly important it is to himself, and how intimately the welfare of his children is connected with it, that those who are to have a share in making as well as in judging and executing the laws should be men of singular wisdom and integrity.”
Of the thousands of quotes from America’s Founding Fathers, there is arguably not another that speaks to one’s individual civic responsibility more profoundly than that quote by Adams. In our complex age of a bloated and complex government, it is easy for one to default to a place of passive engagement in America’s often contentious sociopolitical theater.
Often times, we simply don’t know where to start. The most succinct answer is locally. The United States was not constructed or even designed to function from the top down. We the People earned our liberty and developed our constitutional framework from the ground up, with every citizen having their place of responsibility in the process. This resource serves to offer the most minimal ways any conscientious citizen can involve themselves in their constitutional responsibilities.
Speak out! Exercise your First Amendment rights with confidence backed by knowledge and understanding. If you need a refresher on the American ideal, Hillsdale College offers a free online course, “Constitution 101: The Meaning and History of the Constitution.” If you prefer the feel of a textbook in your hands, here is a searchable directory of nearly 18,000 public libraries in the United States.
Elected representation is one of the cornerstones of our democracy. It is your right to do so responsibly. Register to vote and to check your state’s registration laws and deadlines here.
Be knowledgeable of what your government is doing. One way is to submit requests through the Freedom Of Information Act, or FOIA. Requests can be made for information at the local, state, and federal level.
Everyone has some measure of discretionary spend, whether it’s the brand of coffee you buy or where you purchase fuel for your vehicle. Most corporations make donations to political campaigns. You can speak with the power of your dollar by purchasing goods and services from companies that most align with your values. Open Secrets and Goods Unite Us are both great resources to see where your money is going in the vast and powerful world of political lobbies.
Visit the Vote Smart searchable directory to see the biographies, voting records, correspondences, funding, and much more relating any of your elected representatives.
Your Local Government
You can find the contact information for your local county governments in a searchable directory here. Attend city council meetings to stay current on the policies and spending in your local community.
Get involved in your school districts. Here is a searchable directory of districts in the United States. Whether you have children in the district or not, your tax dollars support the schools in your community. It is your responsibility to stay informed with regards to what policies and education criteria are being discussed and implemented with your money. Most districts maintain comprehensive meeting agendas and summaries.
Your State Government
You can identify your state representatives and search the topics that are most important to you at Open States here.
The Federal Government
You can identify your federal representatives and search the topics that are most important to you at GovTrack here.
Read the latest blogs from the Library of Congress here.
Read the latest news from the Supreme Court of the United States here.
You can visit the Our Government page at Rucksack Radio for more information. Please also check out our Resources for Veterans page for more ways you can get engaged. If you appreciate the resource and the work we do as we strive to live our constitutional oaths every day, you may support us here. Even the smallest donations help us continue to fight for the rights and voices of every American. We are so grateful for your help!