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Americans and their civic ignorance

Big surprise here; a poll conducted by Newsweek revealed that 38 percent of Americans would fail the U.S. Citizenship Test.  Yes many of us have laughed at the expense of the ignorant when we watch Jay Leno hit the streets and ask citizens basic questions about our country, government, and history and the people are completely clueless.  It makes for good comedy but in the end it’s extremely sad.  Newsweek polled 1,000 U.S. citizens asking questions from our official citizenship test and a whopping 73 percent didn’t know why we fought the cold war.  Worse yet 40 percent weren’t even able to define the Bill of Rights.   Are you kidding me?

I’ve written about this topic many times.  This is why the government can get away with the things they do in regards to crafting and signing into law liberty stealing acts.  This is why there is not more outrage when they do overstep their authority in the constitution.  People just don’t know their constitution.  I’m convinced that this is also why we will always being battling a fixed portion of our society.  These civic challenged people have no clue and because they have no clue they can be used by leftist organizations to do their bidding.  You see this with unions and student organizations protesting in Wisconsin and other parts of the country.  They cry democracy while at the same time they are undermining it with their violent tactics.  They have become the useful idiots of the left and they don’t even realize it.  This isn’t something that just happened.  This is a condition that the left has worked hard to achieve.  They have infiltrated our colleges and public schools and have watered down our own history and replaced it with the Marxists concepts.  Parents have been disengaged as their children have been indoctrinated under their very noses.  The Newsweek poll is just a measuring stick of just how successful the left has been in this endeavor.

You can read the entire Newsweek article here>>

I pulled a piece from the article that I thought was very important to point out.  Below is a quote from it that should send chills up and down your spine.

“When you have more centrally managed curricula, you have more common knowledge and a stronger civic culture.”

Those words, “centrally managed” sound a lot like central planning; one education that fits all children from all the different states.  This sounds like the government stepping in and taking over the responsibilities of the parents and local school boards.  Is this what Americans really want for their children?  I don’t know anymore.  If 38 percent of the population doesn’t even know the basics of our country would it surprise anyone if there’s a large segment of our society that would be perfectly ok with this.  Centrally managed education isn’t the key, actively involved parents at all levels is.

Below is a list of the questions that were asked with broken down percentages of how many answered correctly and incorrectly.

When was the Declaration of Independence adopted?

July 4, 1776.

Correct: 67%

What happened at the Constitutional Convention?

The Constitution was written, or the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution.

Correct: 35%

The Federalist Papers supported the passage of the U.S. Constitution.

Name one of the writers.

James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, or Publius.

Correct: 12%

Who was president during World War I?

Woodrow Wilson.

Correct: 20%

Who did the United States fight in World War II?

Japan, Germany, and Italy.

Correct: 60%

During the Cold War, what was the main concern of the United States?


Correct: 27%

What did Susan B. Anthony do?

Fought for women’s rights or fought for civil rights.

Correct: 41%

What did Martin Luther King, Jr. do?

Fought for civil rights or worked for equality for all Americans.

Correct: 77%

Who is in charge of the executive branch?

The president.

Correct: 73%

We elect a U.S. senator for how many years?


Correct: 39%

The House of Representatives has how many voting members?


Correct: 14%

If both the president and the vice president can no longer serve, who becomes president?

The speaker of the House.

Correct: 58%
Incorrect: 42%

Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the federal government. What is one power of the federal government?

To print money, to declare war, to create an army, or to make treaties.

Correct: 19% 

How many justices are on the Supreme Court?


Correct: 37%

What do we call the first 10 amendments to the Constitution?

The Bill of Rights.

Correct: 57%

What is the supreme law of the land?

The Constitution.

Correct: 30%

How many amendments does the Constitution have?


Correct: 6%

What is the name of the vice president of the United States now?

Joe Biden.

Correct: 71% 

What is the name of the speaker of the House of Representatives now?

John Boehner.

Correct: 41%

What is the economic system in the United States?

Capitalist or market economy.

Correct: 33%

Pretty sad if you ask me.  We have a great deal of work ahead of us to turn this around and it starts with self education and parent involvement.

Liberty forever, freedom for all!


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  • Infidel de Manahatta March 21, 2011 at 3:23 PM

    I blame our educational system. We are too busy trying to lift the all-important self-esteem of kids that we don’t teach them basic facts. Pretty sad.
    Infidel de Manahatta recently posted..Gotham City Seeks to Limit Use of Bat SignalMy Profile

    • John Carey March 21, 2011 at 7:27 PM

      I totally agree that our educational system is a huge part of the problem. We are too busy worrying about the things that matter in regards to our children.

  • John Moran March 21, 2011 at 6:15 PM

    I’m a high school English teacher. If my students think their self-esteem is being injured, I send them to the counselor and tell them she has a box full of self esteem and they can grab some.

    • John Carey March 21, 2011 at 7:30 PM

      Good suggestion John kind of like that GIECO with the drill sergeant. Maybe we can chug on over to mamby pamby land and find some self confidence…

  • Steve Dennis March 21, 2011 at 7:52 PM

    This fundamental lack of understanding of our system of goveranace, while not surprising, is disheartening. If so many people do not understand the basics behind our system of government we certainly cannot expect them to know the history of our founding or the ideals this country was based on. Because of this the left is able to convince these people that the government is the solution to all of our problems.
    Steve Dennis recently posted..The United Nations has authorized military strikes on Libya- but has the United States CongressMy Profile

  • […] me a time or two. Remember all education is self education, the teacher is just the guide. Americans and their civic ignorance | SENTRY JOURNAL __________________ …all power is inherent in the people…it is their right and duty to be at […]

  • ZeeZee March 21, 2011 at 8:29 PM

    How can we blame the schools or the education system as a whole? The problem here is the parents and that in itself is another problem. How many parents & grandparents could pass the U.S. Citizenship examination? We laugh at the ignorance of the children while we as parents are as ignorant if not more so. Parents don’t teach anymore, that’s the teachers job and that my friends is what is wrong with America. If we want to bring America back to it’s full Glory, We The People better start learning our history and sharing it with our children. The old saw, he who knows not his history is bound to repeat it, has never been more true.

    • John Carey March 21, 2011 at 11:06 PM

      I think the schools should share a degree of culpability; however ultimately you are correct when you say the major share of the blame should fall on the parents. The problem is in many cases the parents are just as ignorant as the child on these matters. So much work to do.

  • Matt March 21, 2011 at 9:15 PM

    And is it any wonder that we’re in so much trouble?
    Matt recently posted..Cultural Marxism and the Breakdown of Society- Intentional Cause and EffectMy Profile

    • John Carey March 21, 2011 at 11:06 PM

      Indeed Matt. It shouldn’t surprise anyone.

  • Harrison March 21, 2011 at 9:19 PM

    I took that test myself I missed three questions but how many people really know how many representatives are in the House?
    Harrison recently posted..Science Creates the Tin Foil Hat PeopleMy Profile

    • John Carey March 21, 2011 at 11:09 PM

      I can tell you not many would have gotten the House question. The problem is 33 percent of the people didn’t even know when the Declaration of Independence was signed. How sad is that?

      • Harrison March 22, 2011 at 11:27 AM

        Yeah that was pretty sad. I was helping a co-worker study for his citizenship test and while some of the questions I maybe had not heard since 8th grade I did know them. Sad that so many Americans are ignorant about their own nation.

  • Teresa March 21, 2011 at 11:12 PM

    This is so, so sad. If people don’t know these basic facts than they surely have no idea what their rights are according to the Constitution, and that Big Government is stripping them away.
    Teresa recently posted..The Obama Administration- the Health Care Law- and Double Counting- AgainMy Profile

    • John Carey March 21, 2011 at 11:45 PM

      Very true Teresa. And very sad.

  • Mike March 22, 2011 at 8:59 AM

    We learned all or most of that in Civics class. I wonder it it’s still taught these days. Of course it’s been over 50 years since that Civics class. Some site has a test but I haven’t seen it in some time and don’t remember which email it might be in.

    • John Carey March 22, 2011 at 9:55 PM

      I was a product of a watered down version of our history Mike. However it was still a much deeper look in the 1980s than they are getting now.

      • Mike March 23, 2011 at 10:14 AM

        Hi John. I was at the tire store yesterday so I asked the young man if they had had Civics in HS as he was rather young maybe the class of 93 as I heard him and a few of his friends talking and he said NO they had not even taken HS Civics. This is in Auburn,NY in Cayuga County. He was also pretty “Gung Ho” as he mentioned he has some classmates and friends that are still over in Afghanistan and had been home recently and some where already home.
        “Semper Fi”
        In fact he could have been even younger but 93 sticks in the memory.

        • John Carey March 23, 2011 at 2:13 PM

          This is a major problem with our educational system. It’s also why the leftist have been able to gain a foothold in our society. If you presented both the Founders’ and Marxist ideology to our kids I believe our kids would choose freedom and liberty over and over again. This is why the leftist needed to get civics out of our classrooms. They know parents aren’t building a strong constitutional understanding in their children so they want to be the ones to write on the blank pages and I’m afraid it’s not going to change anytime soon. This is why it’s more important than ever that parents need to engage.

  • Martin March 22, 2011 at 9:14 AM

    I feel compelled to quote Marcia’s post from Monday as it’s apropos:

    Societies which fail to transmit their core beliefs to the next generation can expect those beliefs to erode, sometimes by design, sometimes by default or by carelessness. Standards not reinforced whither away. Liberty, independence and equality under the law give way to less demanding ideals.

    Martin recently posted..Roger Sherman—The Forgotten FounderMy Profile

  • Jim at Conservatives On Fire March 22, 2011 at 11:43 AM

    Wow! It is even worse than I thought. What Marcia said above is right on the money. It is going to be a long road back and uphill all the way.
    Jim at Conservatives On Fire recently posted..If Inflation Doesn’t Exist- Why Does It Hurt So MuchMy Profile

    • John Carey March 22, 2011 at 10:02 PM

      Indeed Jim. I believe we can turn this around but it will take considerable effort on our part. We need to stayed engaged and active.

  • Bunkerville March 22, 2011 at 1:05 PM

    When these questions were asked by a talk show host on Air, I did feel a number of them were unclear, could have had several answers or questions could have been picked a bit more appropriately. Number of House Members? Did all of us snag that one?
    Bunkerville recently posted..The Left’s method to take down Capitalism and Redistribute WealthMy Profile

    • John Carey March 22, 2011 at 10:04 PM

      I know it was 400 plus but wasn’t sure the exact number. However I did know the rest. But not because of the education I received in public education. I knew the answers because I self education.