Examples of civic responsibility include voting, picking up litter, participating in local government and volunteering in the community. Civic responsibility refers to actions that are not required by law but are helpful to the community and involve citizens working for the common good.
Civic responsibility can also include helping promote community activities, encouraging corporate giving to help the community, working to register voters, advocating for the needy, obeying all laws and behaving in an ethical manner. Activities that fulfill civic responsibilities typically fall under the categories of respecting laws but dissenting when necessary, establishing balance between the responsibilities and rights of citizens, addressing social problems, working to include all citizens in the democratic process, questioning government, using community resources wisely, and negotiating differences among citizens.
The concept of civic responsibility was first recorded in ancient Rome, where citizens wanted to make contributions for the good of the whole society. The idea was included in the U.S. Constitution, and by the 18th and 19th centuries, the idea was commonly manifested through volunteer participation in fire departments and public works projects.
Civic responsibility differs from civic duty, which consists of actions that are legally required of citizens. Examples of civic duty are paying taxes, registering for the draft, attending school and serving on juries.