Since antiquity, political thinkers have debated the proper relationship between the individual and the state. In Ancient Greece, this relationship was embodied in the notion of the citizen, literally a member of the state. Within Greek city-states, citizenship was restricted to a small minority living in such states, in effect, free-born propertied males. The modern concept of citizenship is, by contrast, founded on the principle of universal rights and obligations. Its roots lie in seventeenth-century ideas about natural rights, elaborated in the twentieth century into the doctrine of human rights. However, it is less than clear what the term rights refers to and how it should be used. For instance, what does it mean to say that somebody has a right? On what basis can they be said to enjoy it? And how far, and to whom, does this doctrine of rights extend? Citizens are not, however, merely bearers of rights; they also have duties and obligations towards the state that has protected, nurtured and cared for them. These obligations may include compulsory military service, entailing the duty to fight, kill and possibly die in defence of ones state.
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