The Long Ancient Road to modern Citizenship
The definition of citizenship, as defined by Merriam-Webster is the membership in a community and/or the quality of an individual's response to membership in a community. The roots of the Western world's concept of citizenship arose in Ancient Greece, where citizenship was granted only to property owners, or those who were descendants of citizens. Some cities, like Sparta, had very few citizens throughout its whole history, while others allowed many to be a citizen of their polis. Many of these practices would be adopted by Rome later on in history.
Modern definitions of citizenship is usually that of a relationship between an individual and a state in which the individual owes allegiance to the state and in turn is entitled to its protection. In general, full political rights, including the right to vote and to hold public office, are predicated on citizenship. Citizenship entails obligations, usually including allegiance, payment of taxes, and military service.
Origins of Citizenship
Some of the earliest codified laws made by mankind were created by King Hammurabi of Babylon as a way to create a more stable and peaceful society for his people. Various other nations would create codified laws after him, but many simply went along with whatever the ruler said. This kind of rule would have been very tribal in nature, where the strongest or wisest among a group would get to decide the fate of whoever happened to be weaker.
As time went on, more nations created codified sets of laws. Draco of Athens is known as creating the first written constitution of Athens, circa the 7th century BCE. The laws were incredibly harsh by the standards of the time, and gave us the word 'Draconian' as an adjective to describe rules, laws, or punishments that are unduly harsh or brutal.
The earliest ideas of Citizenship would come from the idea that the individuals within a state more or less were the servants or property of that state. In Egypt, everyone was subject to the Pharaoh, while in other places like Athens and Sparta, the people would have much more of a say in how the state would be ruled.
For example, Athens was ruled by the majority, where the most popular choice would be passed to be law. Sparta was ruled by a council of elders called the Gerousia along side a dual kingship of two royal families. Other Greek states were simple kingdoms, or a League of cities like the Arcadian League north of Sparta. They all had roughly the same ideas of citizenship, where it was very difficult to become a citizen and non-citizens had few rights, if any.
Rome would emulate these ideals, and only granted citizenship when the Senate or Emperor decreed it to be so. This was usually to increase the pool of citizens who could be a part of the army, as only citizens could officially be a part of the army, otherwise they could not be provided with pension or equipment, as Auxiliaries were expected to provide their own weapons.
Later, nations would have very similar ideas of citizenship, where the individual was supposed to serve the state. It was not until more modern times where the idea that the state should help the citizen started appearing, especially in western nations like the United States and post-Revolution France. Occasionally, older ideas have resurfaced, like how many Roman ideas were recreated in Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany.
The ideas of citizenship are still changing, but in many ways for the better. More people have rights than before, and those rights are more focused on helping the people rather than the military prowess of the nation.
People in America, for example, have the rights to speak up for themselves when mistreated by the government, the ability to own weapons when not part of the military, and to always have the right to be elected to office if they have charisma and political skill. There are many more rights that all Americans share, but the most important are those that let us speak what we want without fear of being punished.