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Why was Roman citizenship a big deal?

As they stretched him out to flog him, Paul said to the centurion standing there, “Is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who hasn’t even been found guilty?”
When the centurion heard this, he went to the commander and reported it. “What are you going to do?” he asked. “This man is a Roman citizen.”
The commander went to Paul and asked, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?”
“Yes, I am,” he answered.
Then the commander said, “I had to pay a lot of money for my citizenship.”
“But I was born a citizen,” Paul replied.
Those who were about to interrogate him withdrew immediately. The commander himself was alarmed when he realized that he had put Paul, a Roman citizen, in chains. Acts 22:25-29
            The empire of Roman was very civilized towards its own people and cruel to outsiders.  If you were a Roman citizen, you had the right to a fair trial, you could not be whipped/scourged, you could vote, run for office, write up contracts, take others to court, and, if you requested it, you could state your case to higher officials, such as Caesar.
            You could obtain this Roman citizenship three ways—through birth, by paying a huge fee and by serving in the Roman army.  Paul said he received this citizenship by birth.  This stopped the flogging against him and immediately meant the Romans had to treat him differently.