A citizen is a member of a political community or state with clear rights and responsibilities due to being a part of that community or state. In other words, a citizen is not just a “subject” with unclear or no guaranteed rights.
A “subject” is a person who has a master, and the word “subject” was first used by the Greek society to refer to members of that narrow elite inside a city-state who had political rights. Citizenship was either completely nonexistent or limited to a very small number of people before the emergence of the nation-state.
The legitimacy of the modern nation-state was founded on its capacity to reflect the desires and ambitions of a whole people who were, in some ways, all equal participants in a horizontal fellowship, marking a significant departure from prior forms. The extension of the franchise gradually gave this egalitarian rhetoric reality, and by the early 20th century, the majority of industrial democracies had granted all citizens the right to vote.
Citizen vs. Citizenship
A person legally acknowledged as a nation’s subject is called a citizen. A citizen’s status, which enables them to use their rights and benefits, is called citizenship.