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This paper evaluates the extent to which the implementation and assessment of the new citizenship curriculum in England treats learners as citizens or subjects by evaluating whether the interests of state or citizen predominate. Philosophical, contextual, and practical perspectives on citizenship education are drawn upon to evaluate mechanisms which mediate state power in young citizens' lives. Current methods of delivering and assessing the citizenship curriculum in schools are challenged and the ideology underpinning citizenship education, as conceptualized in official discourse, is questioned. The view is advanced that citizenship cannot be reduced to what learners know (the informed citizen) or do (the active citizen) as it cannot be divorced from who they are. This paper focuses on citizenship education in the context of English liberal democracy but has a wide application as it addresses issues relevant to the state education of citizens elsewhere.