David Blunkett wants secondary pupils to study the subject from 2002 despite headteachers' concerns that schools are already overloaded.
Ministers also want primary children to be taught (non-compulsory) lessons on such things as how to vote and freedom of speech.
The Education Secretrary is said to be unhappy with a report from the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority which calls for citizenship to be only an equal part of a mix including health, morals and environmental education.
One of the group which prepared the report said: "The QCA have not so much had their work flung back in their face, they have had it taken away from them."
Professor Bernard Crick, Mr Blunkett's former university tutor, is likely to be pleased with the proposals, which echo many of his recommendations.