Monday, April 25, 2011

Quizzed on U.S. History, Government, and Geography

Okay, I'm curious. Generally I don't read Newsweek but I found an old issue from the week of March 28 with the teaser: "How Ignorant Are You?" This leads to a short quiz you can take yourself. There are 25 questions in this quiz and I'm gong to run through them here to see how ignorant I am before the semi-public eye.

1) When was the Declaration of Independence adopted?

I have no idea so I'm going to guess 1776. That sounds like a highly popularized year associated with our nation's freedom.

2) What happened at the Constitutional Convention?

Again, having to guess, I will suppose this was when the Constitution of the U.S. was written.

3) Who was president during World War I?

I know they called it the "Great War" but as for the administration? No clue. I can recite all the presidents in order so if I work backward from a fixed point I can guess... Teddy Roosevelt?

4) Who did the United States fight in World War II?

That would be the Axis, mainly the Nazis under Adolf Hitler but also the Japanese forces under Tojo and Mussolini's Italian army.

5) The House of Representatives has how many voting members?

I know I'm quite ignorant of my own government, as well as much of American history. I'll guess 50, if each state gets one representative.

6) When must all men register for Selective Service?

That'd be 18 years of age.

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

No clue. I'll guess the Cuban missile crisis.

8) What did Susan B. Anthony do?

Started the women's suffrage movement?

9) What did Martin Luther King, Jr. do?

Strengthened and coalesced the movement for equality for African American citizens?

10) Who is in charge of the executive branch?

No idea. I'll say the President is.

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

I think five?

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

Aw, crap. I've had this conversation at parties. My wife knows. Uh... I can't even guess at job titles.

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

Not sure. I'd guess it's to regulate businesses, respond to national crisis, or collect taxes.

14) How many justices are on the Supreme Court?

I know the balance has tipped to the conservative side so it is no longer an unbiased and impartial court, and that the President has no jurisdiction over them, but I think there are 13 members.

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

Why wouldn't we call them the Amendments?

16) What is the supreme law of the land?

In effect, it is the rule of the gun. All our laws, right or wrong, are enforced at gunpoint.

17) Name one U.S. territory.

Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands...

18) The idea of self-government is in the first three words of the Constitution. What are these words?

"We the People..."

19) What territory did the United States buy from France in 1803?

Louisiana, as in the Louisiana Purchase.

20) How many amendments does the Constitution have?

I'm sure Tea Partiers and Libertarians will say "too many," but I have no idea. 24?

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

Joe Biden.

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

John Boehner, the closeted gay with the bright orange tan and no soul.*

23) What is the economic system in the United States?

Heartless, short-sighted capitalism.

24) What ocean is on the West Coast of the United States?

Oh, a little geography to shake things up! That would be the Pacific Ocean.

25) The Federalist Papers supported the passage of the U.S. Constitution. Name one of the writers.

I have no freakin' clue. Samuel Adams? Benjamin Franklin? Thomas Jefferson?

* "Not intended to be a factual statement." - Sen. John Kyl

So how did I do? According to Newsweek, you needed to get six correct answers in order to pass this test, and I got 14 correct. Nothing to brag about, even if 38% of 1,000 Americans polled failed this test. I won't go into details but will underscore a couple notable results.

  1. I got this year right, as did 67% of Americans.
  2. Like 35% of Americans, I guessed correctly.
  3. Like 80% of Americans, I have no idea who was president during WWI.
  4. 60% of us knew this.
  5. I got this wrong, but so did 86% of polled Americans.
  6. Almost everyone knows this.
  7. I was misguided on this one, along with a 73% majority.
  8. I'm in the 41% minority for getting this right.
  9. This is too famous not to know, but 23% didn't.
  10. 73% were able to guess this correctly.
  11. 61% of us had no idea of this number.
  12. I was in the 42% incorrect group.
  13. I screwed this up, but so did 81% of Americans.
  14. Wah-hah, way off on this one (along with 63% of those polled).
  15. Oh, who knew this one? Some brainiac group of 57% of test-takers, apparently.
  16. 70% of us didn't know this one, but I still think I was right.
  17. There were six answers to this and I got three of them. You only needed one but 43% of American's couldn't swing even that.
  18. Yes, most people know this one.
  19. And 65% of us got this one.
  20. I didn't know this, and neither did 94% of Americans polled.
  21. And most people know this one, too.
  22. Wow, 59% of Americans didn't know this? I did, and I don't even follow politics.
  23. What?! Who couldn't guess this one? (67% of Americans, that's who.)
  24. I'm glad I'm not part of the 9% of Americans who got this wrong.
  25. There were five answers to this one and I didn't guess a one, and neither could 88% of those polled.
What does this show me? I did better than the test required, but I was usually in the majority when I got questions wrong. That's a bad majority to be in and I will work to move out of it.

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