School Improvement in Maryland
Clarifications: Each clarification provides an explanation of an indicator/objective to help teachers better understand the skills and/or concepts.

Standard 1.0 Political Science

Topic A. The Foundations and Function of Government

Indicator 1. Investigate the evolution of the U.S. political system as expressed in the United States Constitution

Objective g. Summarize an individual's legal obligations to obey the law, pay taxes, serve on a jury and serve as a witness


By accepting citizenship in the United States, whether it be because an individual was born and has chosen to remain in the U.S. or was naturalized, citizens implicitly or explicitly agree to abide by the Constitution and laws of the nation. In the interest of the common good, it is important for each citizen to fulfill his/her duties.

Citizens are required to obey all United States laws to help preserve social order and protect the rights, safety, and property of all citizens. Society can function smoothly only if everyone agrees to abide by the laws, which have been defined by representatives of the people.

Also, individuals are required to pay taxes. The government requires money to provide services to citizens, defend the nation, maintain public roads and facilities, etc. Because the U.S. government has been created by the people and the citizens themselves benefit from government services, it is expected that they provide the funding. Congress has therefore passed various tax laws, which citizens are required to obey.

Another duty of citizens is participation in the judicial system. The Constitution's Bill of Rights guarantees all citizens due process of law, including a trial by a jury of their peers. To make such jury trials possible, it is necessary for citizens to be willing to serve on the juries. In addition, in order to provide the due process guaranteed, all citizens must be willing to serve as witnesses in trials.

Resources for Objective 1.A.1.g: