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Defining the Common Welfare

For each of the possible actions below, check whether it would be:

  • in your personal interest,
  • the interest of your family and friends,
  • and the interest of most other Americans.

In the last column, mark whether the action promotes the common welfare.

Possible action My Interest Interest of family and friends Interest of most other Americans Common Welfare
High fees for families of students in public schools to provide more teachers        
Mandatory public service (either military or civilian) for all young people aged 18-20        
Increase in state income taxes to pay for aid to the homeless        
Cuts in aid to developing nations        
Mandatory drug testing of junior high and high school students        

Reprinted with permission. We the People* Teacher’s Guide, Middle School Level, Student Handouts. pp. 92, 98, 102. Copyright 1988. Center for Civic Education. Calabasas, California.