thumbnail of Maryland; No. 14; Citizenship
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<v Boy 1>Hey, what's happening? <v Boy 2>Sara? <v Amy>Tim Brennan was in a car accident. <v Boy 1>Oh, no, that's not-. <v Sara>He's pretty messed up, thrown out through the windshield. <v Sara>He's in intensive care. <v Boy 2>His brother was speeding again, wasn't he? <v Sara>Art's in intensive care too, but he's not that bad. <v Sara>He wasn't thrown out. <v Boy 2>I knew his brother was smashed, the minute he walked in the gym, I should have done <v Boy 2>something. <v Boy 1>He was probably out partying somewhere before he came to pick Tim up after the hockey <v Boy 1>game. <v Amy>But there ought to be something we can do in a case like that. <v Boy 1>There's got to be. What if we were all on the lookout? <v Boy 1>And when someone gets trashed, we just go tell a teacher. <v Boy 2>No way, nobody wants to be a snitch. <v Boy 1>But that's the whole point, if no one wants to get involved, then it's just...what <v Boy 1>we really need to do is let people know that it's not cool to drink and drive. <v Boy 2>Hey, no lectures. <v Amy>Yeah, who listens to lectures? <v Amy>But we could have an assembly.
<v Boy 1>What? <v Amy>Like a pep rally. <v Boy 1>You want a bunch of noise? You've got to be crazy. <v Boy 1>What we really need to do is write editorials in the school paper. <v Amy>Oh, come on. <v Amy>Make it entertaining. <v Speaker>Amy's right. Have the drama club do skits. <v Boy 1>Skits? You're crazy. <v Boy 2>It's a good idea. <v Boy 1>It's not going to work. [Overlapping arguments]. <v Amy>What's wrong with you guys? Timmy may be dying and all you can do is yell at <v Amy>each other. <v Boy 1>She's right. We're not going to get anything accomplished this way. <v Boy 1>So let's get organized for Timmy's sake. <v Speaker> [Conversation begins to fade to the background as the music gets a bit louder]
<v Host>What you've just seen is citizenship in action. <v Host>You know, democracy is not an easy process. <v Host>It's time consuming and often noisy. <v Host>But when you're confronted by a common problem, it's the only way to make certain that <v Host>every side of a question is explored and that each voice is heard <v Host>and that all those involved get to share in making decisions. <v Host>That's what happened right here in this room where our form of democracy was born. <v Host>Independence Hall in Philadelphia. <v Host>You see in the beginning, the only thing the original 13 colonies wanted <v Host>to do was get free of Great Britain. <v Host>They fought and won their revolution and they governed the new nation under a set <v Host>of rules called the Articles of Confederation. <v Host>They had a difficult time in thinking of themselves as one nation. <v Host>They were proud of their individual regions. <v Host>The Marylanders looked upon Maryland as their own little country.
<v Host>And so did the Virginians, and the New Yorkers. <v Host>It soon became clear to other leaders like George Washington that only if all the states <v Host>stuck together would they be strong. <v Host>But 200 years ago, the leaders who sat in these seats didn't want to upset <v Host>the 13 states with talk about uniting them under one strong government. <v Host>So they said that all they were trying to do was revise the old Articles of Confederation <v Host>to make some improvements in them. <v Host>They met in this room in May of 1787. <v Host>Many of the delegates took weeks to get here. <v Host>The first thing they did was elect George Washington, president of the convention. <v Host>People had such respect for the general that he didn't need to say anything if things got <v Host>a bit out of hand. <v Host>All it took was a look. <v Host>James Madison of Virginia sat here in the front and wrote down everything that <v Host>was said. And these delegates had plenty to say. <v Host>The small colonies were afraid the big colonies would push them around.
<v Host>Colonies that depended on crops like cotton didn't want to be bossed by states that <v Host>were heavily into trade. <v Host>And so it went on and on. <v Host>You see, it took them a while to realize that what they really were doing was creating <v Host>a new way of governing the nation. <v Host>It was, to say the least, scary. <v Host>There were endless questions to be decided. <v Host>What kind of a government should they have? <v Host>Some people said it should be ruled by the highest class of people, men with education <v Host>and wealth. If everybody could vote, who knows what might happen <v Host>and who would head up the nation? <v Host>A king or maybe three men, each from a different part of the country. <v Host>But what if they quarreled among themselves? <v Host>So they agreed it should be one man and they'd call him the president. <v Host>Hamilton thought the president should serve a very long term, maybe for life. <v Host>But Ben Franklin said, what if he's bad? <v Host>How do we get rid of him?
<v Host>And so they worked all summer long, listening to one another's proposals, <v Host>studying, arguing, explaining, voting <v Host>and finally reaching a compromise. <v Host>They needed privacy for their discussions. <v Host>So these windows were kept closed during that long, hot summer. <v Host>Much of the time, their task seemed hopeless. <v Host>Then old Benjamin Franklin spoke up. <v Host>Compromise. Each of you must give up something if this constitution is <v Host>going to work so that we can make a government on which to build a great nation. <v Host>So they kept at it. And at last the job was done on September 17th. <v Host>39 delegates signed the Constitution of the United States of America. <v Host>The Constitution then was sent to the States for final approval. <v Host>The Constitution was not perfect. <v Host>It did not allow African-Americans, American Indians,
<v Host>or women the equality that they have today, but it was written to <v Host>be flexible. Things could be changed or amended. <v Host>The first ten amendments, the Bill of Rights, gives us the freedoms we take for granted <v Host>everyday, like the freedom of speech and of religion. <v Host>Isn't it wonderful that the structure of the constitution that was hammered out by those <v Host>delegates 200 years ago still works today? <v Host>But making it work takes what it took 200 years ago, <v Host>the involvement of everyone concerned or to put it another way, <v Host>it takes responsible citizenship. <v Host>It takes individuals keeping informed, making choices to <v Host>make this country the kind of place we want it to be. <v Host>In Maryland, students are finding out that they, too, can make a difference. <v Host>Writing letters and visiting their local officials and Congress people help them find
<v Host>the best ways to contribute to school and local problems. <v Student>Um, how can students work with the government to become more involved to help fight the <v Student>drug problem in our school and our community? <v Beverly Byron>Make sure everybody is under-has a full understanding of what adverse effect <v Beverly Byron>a drug and a drug society has on not only you as an individual, <v Beverly Byron>but also on your community where you're living. <v Helen Bentley>I ran for Congress because I want to help people. <v Helen Bentley>I want to help them when they encounter hardships, and I want to work to achieve <v Helen Bentley>a brighter, more prosperous future for us all. <v Ben Cardin>We want to know how you feel about the problems that we have in our community. <v Ben Cardin>Democracy means it's a government of the people. <v Ben Cardin>And if you don't participate, if you don't let us know how you feel, then it's only going <v Ben Cardin>to be the government of some of the people, not all the people. <v Host>That certainly is the first job of a responsible citizen, but that's not the only way <v Host>to get involved. There are many ways citizens can contribute to their state and
<v Host>country. Some work on their own, like John Wilson, whose <v Host>ancestors settled along the Chesapeake Bay 300 years ago. <v Host>John cares about the bay and the effects pollution has on its wildlife. <v John Wilson>The ducks can eat styrofoam and it can get into their system. <v John Wilson>Plastic bags are not good for the wildlife. <v John Wilson>The ring tops off of six packs are really hazardous because they get around their necks, <v John Wilson>they get caught on branches, they get their feet caught in them, they starve to death. <v John Wilson>And so they just walk along the beach and you pick up the trash. <v John Wilson>If the individual sets an example, he sets an example for his children, and he sets an <v John Wilson>example for his neighbors. <v John Wilson>When I come back off with a bag full of trash, it's like, well, <v John Wilson>that's a bag full of trash. Now tomorrow I'll have another bag of trash. <v John Wilson>Doesn't seem like a lot. But if you do it continually and then if everybody does it a <v John Wilson>little bit at a time, you can-you can move a mountain.
<v Host>The National Organization of the Boy Scouts of America collects food for the poor around <v Host>Thanksgiving time. <v Host>Here in Maryland, local troops contribute their share. <v Host>A growing problem for our nation is the lack of landfill space for disposal of garbage. <v Host>One solution is to organize recycling centers as the citizens of Anne Arundel <v Host>County did. <v Recycling Plant Official>Recycling is important because of the fact that as <v Recycling Plant Official>our society has grown and so many people are in the United States right now, <v Recycling Plant Official>we generate more garbage per person in the United States than anywhere <v Recycling Plant Official>else in the world. <v Recycling Plant Official>The newspaper can be remade 4 to 6 times into newsprint. <v Recycling Plant Official>Corrugated cardboard can be recycled several times before it has to be remade
<v Recycling Plant Official>into another product. By recycling aluminum we're helping the economy <v Recycling Plant Official>and we're helping ourselves, there's only a limited amount of aluminum that <v Recycling Plant Official>can be dug up out of the ground. <v Recycling Plant Official>So by reusing these products again and again, we're saving this <v Recycling Plant Official>precious metal for our future. Recycling is one of the most important steps <v Recycling Plant Official>that we can take towards saving the environment and decreasing the amount of <v Recycling Plant Official>damage that we're doing. I feel that it's important. <v Recycling Plant Official>It makes you feel good about it when you realize that ?cheat?. <v Recycling Plant Official>We've saved. I don't know how many trees from being cut down. <v Host>In a community service class in Wicomico County, High School students volunteer <v Host>to work with patients in a nursing home. <v Student Volunteer>I think it's important for the school because this is our <v Student Volunteer>community and we all have to live in it and we should all just join together and make it <v Student Volunteer>better place. And since we do have to live with it.
<v Student Volunteer 2>You learn how to accept people the way they are, and when you work with them, you see <v Student Volunteer 2>that they're really, they're each a different personality, and they're not all that <v Student Volunteer 2>different. <v Student Volunteer 3>If you weren't here, then the individual would just be there with no one, <v Student Volunteer 3>no one to talk to, no one to laugh with, no one to tell stories to, or play checkers <v Student Volunteer 3>or just sit there with them and watch TV. <v Student Volunteer>Just making a difference in somebody's life is-that makes you feel really good <v Student Volunteer>inside. <v Host>Substance abuse threatens our nation today, but many citizens are trying to <v Host>help. In Carroll County, a student drama group travels to schools <v Host>and acts out real life stories that show the harmful effects caused by drugs <v Host>and alcohol. <v Student Actor>In all teens, they see the scene as-as a part <v Student Actor>of their own life. They see themselves inside that one character or that <v Student Actor>one parent or-or that one child. <v Student Actor 2>I don't see what this has to do with that. <v Student Actor>It has everything to do with that!
<v Student Actor>[Overlapping Arguments] For 2 years. <v Student Actor 2>And you don't even care. <v Student Actor>Of course I care! <v Student Actor>I think FoolProof is a way to use your talent for a good cause, and it's, and <v Student Actor>it's a worthwhile institution, and if you can, if you could help just one person to turn <v Student Actor>around, then it's a world of success. <v Student Actor 2>That's what we're all about. To make people know that they're not alone in the world. <v Student Actor 3>I see it as-as a way of serving the community because a lot of the government agencies <v Student Actor 3>have this responsibility of rehabilitating and educating. <v Student Actor 3>And if we can, if we can do it in such a way that the teens relate to it, then <v Student Actor 3>then I think that we've done a great service to our country and to our community as well. <v Student Actor 4>More programs have got to be made like this. <v Student Actor 4>In order for things to get better. <v Host>In Baltimore, high school students get a chance to go back to elementary school, <v Host>but this time it's to help tutor students. <v Tutor>Just me being here, I think it helps them to improve their grades
<v Tutor>and they get they learn more. <v Tutor>I like working with the children because it helped me figure out what I want to do <v Tutor>with my life, and my career. <v Tutor 2>When I come here, it makes me feel real good because I like you know, I like working <v Tutor 2>with the children. I love working with them. <v Tutor 2>I want to see how they act, what they did, you know, how they learn, it-it is how they <v Tutor 2>learn to do certain things. It's just like a really rewarding feeling to go home and say, <v Tutor 2>well, I did such and such, or she was miscounting, and I helped her, you know, do <v Tutor 2>it. <v Host>Here in Anne Arundel County, elementary students are planting trees and shrubs to provide <v Host>shade for an outdoor classroom where they study the environment. <v Host>And they've learned their work can also provide other benefits. <v Child Volunteer>I know I'm helping the land be preserved and helping animals <v Child Volunteer>and it just makes me feel good.
<v Host>And there's ?Bea Gattie?, who is determined to do something about the homeless <v Host>and the hungry. She runs a soup kitchen out of her home in Baltimore. <v Bea Gattie>Many homeless people are out here. Many hungry people out here. <v Bea Gattie>Many sad folks out here. If families would learn to share, the haves <v Bea Gattie>would learn to share with the have nots. [Background conversations] Tennis. <v Bea Gattie>Yeah. Oh. <v Bea Gattie>But we must teach our children now the importance of sharing. <v Bea Gattie>People must realize people are hungry every day <v Bea Gattie>in the week, every week in a month. <v Bea Gattie>Not only Thanksgiving and Christmas. <v Host>High school students in Baltimore County study the effects of pollution on the Pataspco <v Host>River, which flows into the Chesapeake Bay. <v Student Volunteer>There are a lot of pollutants that run into the bay and we need to keep it clean <v Student Volunteer>for future generations because it is a way of life for a lot of people. <v Student Volunteer 2>We're uh testing different things about ?Transquaking?
<v Student Volunteer 2>River: uh flow rate, different temperatures of different spots. <v Student Volunteer 2>We're ?signing?, which is we're looking for living things in <v Student Volunteer 2>a river such as fish and other small organisms. <v Student Volunteer 2>Also, testing the P.H. <v Student Volunteer 2>could be a harmful chemical to some creatures. <v Student Volunteer 2>If there's a lot of it, if it's too low, then some things don't exist <v Student Volunteer 2>they just can't live. Some fish have become extinct within the bay. <v Student Volunteer 2>Fishermen are losing their money because the fish are not coming into the areas and <v Student Volunteer 2>their life is slowly dwindling in the bay and I wish to save it. <v Student Volunteer 3>It's not going to work unless we all work together. <v Student Volunteer>Well, we're the future. <v Student Volunteer>These kids in our school, we're getting out of high school this year we're the future. <v Student Volunteer>We have to be able to protect what we have right now. <v Student Volunteer>If we can't do it, then nobody can. <v Host>You know what's important about all these people? <v Host>They're working hard at tackling the big problems our nation faces in order to make us
<v Host>safer and healthier future for us all. <v Host>They are living proof that the experiment which began right here in Philadelphia over 200 <v Host>years ago has succeeded, that democracy really does work, <v Host>that we have the right to share in governing ourselves, to choose a problem, <v Host>to work on it, and take on the responsibility of being an active citizen <v Host>in our democracy. <v Host>And now what can you do to help? <v Theme Song>We can plant a tree for democracy. <v Theme Song>We can lend a helping hand. <v Theme Song>We can organize. We can mobilize to face the problems in our <v Theme Song>land. It's a nation of the people, only <v Theme Song>people can make it stand. We are the future, and the future is in our hands. We can feed the poor over door to door, we can open up our hearts
Episode Number
No. 14
Producing Organization
Maryland Center for Public Broadcasting
Contributing Organization
Maryland Public Television (Owings Mills, Maryland)
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia)
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Series Description
"'MARYLAND' features a series of fourteen programs dealing with many aspects of life in the state of Maryland, but has application to life in any of our fifty states. Our fourteenth program in the series is CITIZENSHIP. This program aims to bring the concept of citizenship to life for students, motivating them not only to think about what responsible citizenship entails, but to take action. "Starting off the program is a dramatic segment that portrays a group of students lamenting the hospitalization of a classmate due to an accident caused by drunk driving. This tragedy starts a discussion about what they can do to prevent something like this from happening again. The program then presents an historical segment which highlights the writing of the Constitution, emphasizing the decision-making process and compromises involved in writing this document. It is pointed out that the document was not perfect, but that it was meant to be flexible. At the end of this segment, the Bill of Rights is introduced as containing the amendments that provide us with the freedoms that people take for granted every day. The program goes on to present three [congress people] who are shown interacting with students and adults and through their actions and words they demonstrate the importance of political involvement in order to have a democratic system that works. The last portion of the program features a variety of individuals and groups who are actively working in their communities. Through [their] voices and actions they present a personal view on the value of being a responsible citizen. The program concludes with a highly motivational song that was inspired by a quote from one of the young students. 'We Are The Future,' proclaims the active not the passive voice of citizenship. "This program merits Peabody consideration because it exemplifies the spirit of the Peabody Awards by encouraging active, positive involvement in your community, your state and your country."--1989 Peabody Awards entry form.
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Producing Organization: Maryland Center for Public Broadcasting
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Maryland Public Television
Identifier: cpb-aacip-75b25b1e0e5 (Filename)
Format: 1 inch videotape
Generation: Master
Duration: 01:00:00
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia
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Chicago: “Maryland; No. 14; Citizenship,” 1989, Maryland Public Television, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 26, 2022,
MLA: “Maryland; No. 14; Citizenship.” 1989. Maryland Public Television, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 26, 2022. <>.
APA: Maryland; No. 14; Citizenship. Boston, MA: Maryland Public Television, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from