Friday, October 14, 2005

What Do you Know?

A recent survey conducted by the National Constitution Center sought to figure out how much Americans know about the US government. Before I give you the results, test yourself. How many of the following questions can you answer correctly (answers at the bottom of the page)?

1. When was the US Constitution written?
2. How many voting members are there in the House of Representatives?
3. How many years are there in a Senate term?
4. How many years are there in a Representative's term?
5. How many Senators are there in the US Congress?
6. What is the introduction to the Constitution called?
7. How many branches of the federal government are there?
8. Where was the US Constitution written?
9. What are the first ten amendments to the Constitution called?
10. Who nominates the justices of the Supreme Court?

I have to admit, I did not know how many voting members are in the House of Reps. The majority of Americans didn't know it either. According to the NCC website :
91% of Americans believe that the U.S. Constitution is important to them; and
84% believe that to work as intended, our system of government depends on active and informed citizens, BUT;
More than half of Americans don't know the number of Senators;
About 1 out of 3 don't know the number of branches of the Federal Government;
1 out of 6 believe that the Constitution establishes America as a Christian nation;
20% believe that only lawyers can understand the Constitution;
Almost one-quarter cannot name a single right guaranteed to us by the First Amendment; and
84% believe that the U.S. Constitution is the document that states that "all men are created equal", thus confusing it with the Declaration of Independence.

In fact, only 5% of Americans can answer all 10 questions. 45% of Americans answered between 0 and 4 questions correctly. My favorite responses are that some people believe that the constitution was written in France, and others that the first ten amendments to the constitution are called the Pledge of Allegiance.

Here are the real answers:
1. 1787
2. 435 voting members of the House(although I maintain that the DC rep can vote on some things...Just not war)
3. 6 years
4. 2 years
5. 100 senators
6. Preamble
7. 3 branches
8. Philadelphia
9. The Bill of Rights
10. The president

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