How well do you know the Constitution?

 
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constitution_012011_bp Chances are you know more than the average American, who in turn knows more than the politicians according to a recent poll. First, from an opinion piece over at AOL:
For five years now, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute has been conducting a national survey to gauge the quality of civic education in the country. We've surveyed more than 30,000 Americans, most of them college students, but also a random sample of adults from all educational and demographic backgrounds. Included in the adult sample was a small subset of Americans (165 in all) who, when asked, identified themselves as having been "successfully elected to government office at least once in their life" -- which can include federal, state or local offices. The survey asks 33 basic civics questions, many taken from other nationally recognized instruments like the U.S. Citizenship Exam. It also asks 10 questions related to the U.S. Constitution.
Their results are scary. I mean, literally scary.
But those elected officials who took the test scored an average 5 percentage points lower than the national average (49 percent vs. 54 percent), with ordinary citizens outscoring these elected officials on each constitutional question. Examples: • Only 49 percent of elected officials could name all three branches of government, compared with 50 percent of the general public. • Only 46 percent knew that [question 2], has the power to declare war -- 54 percent of the general public knows that. • Just 15 percent answered [Question 6] correctly.... • And only 57 percent of those who've held elective office know what the Electoral College does, while 66 percent of the public got that answer right.
This is just unfathomable to me. How can only 15 percent of elected officials know that there is no “wall of separation” in the Constitution. I know last week a select few argued that there was in our discussion of the Mt. Soledad Memorial, but not a whopping 95 percent. That just seems absurd. Anyway, want to match yourself up against them? Here is the test they were given. I’m not going to give out the answers until tomorrow, but hopefully some folks will weigh in with their own responses in the comments. No cheating, no googling, no phone a friends: 1) What are the three branches of government? A. executive, legislative, judicial B. executive, legislative, military C. bureaucratic, military, industry D. federal, state, local 2) What part of the government has the power to declare war? A. Congress B. the president C. the Supreme Court D. the Joint Chiefs of Staff 3) In the area of United States foreign policy, Congress shares power with the: A. president B. Supreme Court C. state governments D. United Nations 4) The United States Electoral College: A. trains those aspiring for higher political office B. was established to supervise the first televised presidential debates C. is otherwise known as the U.S. Congress D. is a constitutionally mandated assembly that elects the president E. was ruled undemocratic by the Supreme Court 5) What impact did the Anti-Federalists have on the United States Constitution? A. their arguments helped lead to the adoption of the Bill of Rights B. their arguments helped lead to the abolition of the slave trade C. their influence ensured that the federal government would maintain a standing army D. their influence ensured that the federal government would have the power to tax 6) The phrase that in America there should be a "wall of separation" between church and state appears in: A. George Washington's Farewell Address B. the Mayflower Compact C. the Constitution D. the Declaration of Independence E. Thomas Jefferson's letters 7) The Bill of Rights explicitly prohibits: A. prayer in public school B. discrimination based on race, sex, or religion C. the ownership of guns by private individuals D. establishing an official religion for the United States E. the president from vetoing a line item in a spending bill 8) Identify one right or freedom below guaranteed by the first amendment. A. Right to bear arms B. Due process C. Religion D. Right to counsel 9) Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the federal government. What is one power of the federal government listed below? A. Make treaties B. Make zoning laws C. Maintain prisons D. Establish standards for doctors and lawyers 10) Who is the commander in chief of the U.S. military? A. Secretary of the army B. Secretary of state C. President D. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs ANSWER KEY: 1) A; 2) A; 3) A; 4) D; 5) A; 6) E; 7) D; 8) C; 9) A; 10) C
Posted in Uncategorized, the burner | 43 comments
 
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9 of 10...Missed #7

PDC Royal E. Sheeley is absolutely correct. 1 - a, 2 - a, 3 - a, 4 - d, 5 - a, 6 - e, 7 - d, 8 - c, 9 - a, 10 - c. Not only was T. Jefferson's letters used as justification to ban religion in schools, government, court, & elsewhere; but J. Adams did us great harm in his letter to the leader of the Barbary Coast (pirates), when he claimed the U.S. was not founded as a "Christian" nation in his attempt to placate him. Now, we have supposedly intelligent people trying to use that as an argument that we are not a nation founded by and ordained by our "creator" through Christian principles. Further reading is suggested on the subject by any that are truly interested. I suggest works by David Barton, available in any Christian bookstore, amazon.com, etc.

"establishment of religion" is what it means, you can't declare X religion as the official religion of the country. I am writing an article for the magazine on that very topic, but it was a response to Anglicanism in England. If your reading of the first part is the only susceptible reading, then why include the second portion about "free exercise." If there is a complete separation, then there would be no point of mentioning the second, right?

Answer key is up, I don't think anyone missed more that 2.

Tim Ciciora,
You are correct; I too have seen where the Officer in charge had little to no experience. I have also seen it in the upper NCO ranks, an NCO from one shop being put in charge of another based on his rank and not if they qualify in the profession of the shop itself. As with businesses the higher you are on the pole the more you are expected to “manage/lead” subordinates than knowing the job. I guess your question is this…”Do we expect our elected officials to know the Constitution and to understand it as a qualification?” I would say no to that but to state that reading the Constitution prior to the start of the Congressional session as being “irrelevant” my response to that person is simply it is your job to at least have some understanding of the Constitution, and should hear what it says so you can make a better choice of what the people want of you to do for them.
So OK, I missed one (number 6) and realized it after I submitted my answers. The youth of today miss out on what the Constitution says because it may offend someone. I think that we need to stop worrying about what others think and teach Our History, Our Constitution and Declaration of Independence, Our Government structure, then when we elect those to represent us, they WILL have an understanding of the Constitution (at least I hope).

It is simply amazing that the people of the United States have been lied to, and repeatedly about the "separation of church and State". Most people believe that it is the Bill of Rights, and not in the PRIVATE papers of a former president. As a Legion Member, a member of the Sons of the American Revolution, and a Merit Badge Councilor, I believe that if we let our teachers actually teach the subjects that they know, and stop "teaching to a test", the United States would be better off.

My answers: 1; A 2; A 3; A 4; D 5; A 6; A 7; D 8; C 9; A 10; C

Amazing that so many people believe the "wall of separation" between church and state is in the constitution.
It's Jefferson's letters to the Baptists in Danbury, Ct. thanking them for their support, but advising them that such
a separation should exist.

Guess I'm a constitutional expert, but here are my answers. 1-A, 2-A, 3-A, 4-D, 5-A, 6-E, 7-D, 8-C, 9-A, 10-C

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

Does it have to actually say those exact words (separation of church and state) for you to understand the meaning? MAKE NO LAW RESPECTING AN ESTABLISHMENT OF RELIGION. That phrase clearly states the government is supposed to keep out of religious matters. Government support of one particular religion would be so far out of bounds that it couldn't possibly be up for debate. How could you take that to mean something (anything) else?

It was written to protect the faithful so that they may worship as they please, as well as to protect all of us from crazy religious zealots who would seek to have us all worship (or not) as directed.

Simple, enduring, and elegant. Everyone gets to live as they choose. No government sponsored religion. Embrace it as one of our cornerstones of Freedom.

Like Mike, I missed question number 5 but forgive me for being an old guy and not remembering this from my school days.

I believe a petition should be started to insure those elected to the Congress of the United States be required to pass a test on the Constitution. It is apparent that many of those presently in Congress and also in the Federal Court prefer to ignore or interpret the Constitution to fit their goals and this has to stop.

One would think that if someone is going to take a government (elected) office that they should have a better understanding of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. I have done a little traveling in my time & service to this Nation and I found that in other countries they are required to understand similar forms of documents plus a simple understanding of what the U.S. Declaration of Independence is about. I think our Institutions of educations have failed us all. Maybe it is time to STOP worrying about what others might think and instruct the Teachers to TEACH their students (in all subjects). We can no longer compete in a global market based on our "Over Confidence" Paul mentioned that he is a Merit Badge Counselor with the Boy Scouts of America, I have seen firsthand how the BSA program has worked for the youth of this nation. I still volunteer as an Adult Leader for the BSA, and am the Chartered Organization Representative that my Legion Post sponsors; now if we can get the ACLU to leave the BSA alone, the BSA could do more for this nation in the area of "Citizenship."

Paul, greetings from the Glacier's Edge Council, Madison, Wisconsin. My other hat that I wear for the BSA is that of an Assistant District Commissioner and conduct Eagle Scout Boards of Review. So Thanks for what you are doing for the youth your unit and of this nation.

My answers:
AAADAEDCAC

my answers.........1A,2A,3A,4D,5A,6C,7B,8A,9A,10C

My answers -- 1-A.2-A 3-A, 4-D, 5-A, 6-E, 7-D, 8-C, 9-A,10 C. Lettes from Jefferson have been interpreded to establish the concept of Seperation of Church and State, and have been used by the liberal court to establish the false concept of seperation of religion and state .

The Constitution gurantees the right not to establish a religion nor to restrict the free practce of religion.

We do not adaquately teach the concepts of our constitution nor the events in our colonial history that lead to the Declariation of Independence and the writting of the Constitution. The fact that several of the colonies were reluctant to ratify the consitution as written led to the drafting of the Bill of Rights which addressed most often violations of individual rights during the colonial period. It is no accident that ammendments 1-4 are in the order that they appear Bill of Rights. Free speech, political speech was often curtailed by the Colonial Governors and Colonial legislative bodies were often shut down by Colonial governors when they became to vocal, the 2nd Amendment, contrary to the liberal view, was not to gaurantee the right to establish a militia, but to allow the people to bear arms to protect thems selves from the miss use of military power by the government awhich had been exercised by the Royal Governors on several occasions. he 3rd and 4th speak for them selves and were to ensure that the government cold not use the quartering of troops in private homes and the practice of unwarrented searches of private priperty to intimidate the population.

My answers -- 1-A.2-A 3-A, 4-D, 5-A, 6-E, 7-D, 8-C, 9-A,10 C. Lettes from Jefferson have been used to establish the concept of Seperation of Church and State, and have been used by the liberal court to establish the false concept of seperation of religion and state .

The Constitution gurantees the right not to establish a religion nor to restrict the free practce of religion.

We do not adaquately teach the concepts of our constitution nor the events in our colonial history that lead to the Declariation of Independence and the writting of the Constitution. The fact that several of the colonies were reluctant to ratify the consitution as written led to the drafting of the Bill of Rights which addressed most often violations of individual rights during the colonial period. It is no accident that ammendments 1-4 are in the order that they appear Bill of Rights. Free speech, political speech was often curtailed by the Colonial Governors and Colonial legislative bodies were often shut down by Colonial governors when they became to vocal, the 2nd Amendment, contrary to the liberal view, was not to gaurantee the right to establish a militia, but to allow the people to bear arms to protect thems selves from the miss use of military power by the government awhich had been exercised by the Royal Governors on several occasions. he 3rd and 4th speak for them selves and were to ensure that the government cold not use the quartering of troops in private homes and the practice of unwarrented searches of private priperty to intimidate the population.

1) A, 2) A, 3) A, 4) D, 5) A, 6) C, 7) B, 8) C, 9) A, 10) C

10 of 10. The wife got 9 of 10. She's taking it to work to see if anyone she works with can pass 5.

My boyscouts can do better than the pol's on this. It bugs the daylights out me that imigrants are better positioned to understand the the founding documents and the blessings of citizenship more than a large segment of our natural population. They make me take a safety test to purchase a pistol they should make you pass a civics exam to vote ( which can do more damage in the long run).

Hello RB,

Greetings from Mount Diablo Silverado Council, Concord,CA. Couldn't agree more, I came up through cub scouts and explorers, and signed up along with my son when he started as a tiger, I just handed Scoutmaster off to a great dad after three years and have stepped into Commitee chair for our troop. Now if I can just get my son finish his last three required MB's (fitness,management, and family life) a finish is project I could plan his COH. the kid has 43 merit badges and is still short three. I am also the Chart org rep for the new cub scout pack my post picked up this year. Hoping to start a venture crew so we can get the girls involved.

Back to the constitution, I am not sure an education would help many of our representatives especially when they make comments like it doesn't matter what the document says the just have to find a way around it.

Paul

These are my answer to the ten question on this website. 1. A; 2. b; 3. A; 4. D; 5. A; 6. C; 7. D; 8. C; 9. A; 10. C.

Here are My answers. 1.A; 2.A; 3.A; 4.D; 5.A; 6.E; 7.D; 8.A; 9.A; 10.C. Love it enough to find out what it is and how it was formed before you vote to change it.

My answers....1a,2a,3a,4d,5a,6e,7d,8c, 9a, 10c.......unfortunately our elected representatives get caught up in the aura of self importance, having been "elected" by the people to represent the will of the people, and become self serving neglecting the will of the people and voting with the "pack" regardless if it is the best thing for the country and the people that elected them. Hopefully this new batch will become responsible and do what is best for the people and the country regardless of their political affiliation or their own personal agendas. Country first.......God bless America ....we are in deep dodo and need all the help we can get

Also, if there is complete separation, why does the Supreme Court definition and caselaw contain a reference to "excessive entanglement"?

MY ANSWERS---1.A 2.A 3.A 4.D 5.A 6.C 7.D 8.C 9.A 10.C

My Answers- 1-A),2-A),3-A),4-D),5-A),6-E),7-D),8-C),9-A),10-C.

I wonder why MOTHAX is afraid to use his real name?
If you have an opinion and you are afraid to use your name DON"T EXPRESS YOUR OPINION!
I did not score 100% and I am ashamed ...as I should know more but at least I don't hide.

Albert,
I believe it should be taken several steps farther, requiring ANYONE who takes the oath to "support and defend the consitution..." should have solid knowledge of the consitution.

As a side note. Several years ago i went before the San Joaquin county supervisors councel meeting and told them that what they were doing was unconsitutional. The reply I got back was "If we went by the consitution we would not get anything done."

Holy Smokes, the scarey part about this is that on the ones I missed (3), I felt comfortable with my knowledge that I was right, but was NOT> Hard to know what you have been mistaken about when you feel you trust your own knowledge. That is why exercises, just like this one, are good things and I never miss an opportunity to test myself. Congratulations to all the tested themselves and maybe we all learned a thing or two or confirmed that we are, indeed, knowledgeable.

9 out of 10. No wonder there is such a lack of common sense on the Hill. We require all imigrants seeking citizenship to study the Constitution, our history and take English. No wonder we are in such a mess. I salute my fellow veterans who chose to protect and defend this great document.

WoW! I just scored a 100%,,guess the old school still has it,,,BHS Exporters 1961,,

I served 12 years in the Air Force, then when downsizing happened, I went through the Troops to Teachers program. I am currently a High School Math teacher. One of the requirements for my teaching credential was a College course in U. S. Government. What a JOKE! The class should have been called a critique of the US government. The course was taught by a British professor who thought our form of government should be changed to be more like the British government. Never did say anything about our 3 branches of government or what their responsibilities are.
Another thing that tweeks me is the comment that "we are a democracy..." No... we are a republic (elected representatives make the decisions)... the democracy part comes in that we elect and vote for these representatives (hence Democratic Republic). And one of the biggest examples of this is how we elect the President with the electoral college.

I lost track of the number of division officers I had whose major in college was Biology or Political Science. They're in charge and I'm supposed to teach them everything about the main propulsion plant. So, what's the difference if our politicians don't know the Bill of Rights? What's the difference if our Commander in Chief has no battle experience. We've become a country that operates with "Non-Quals" in charge. Like it or move to France.

What do ya know, I got them all right>

oh, AAADAEDBAC gotta be better than 54 percent or I need to quit Counciling the Citizenship in the nation Merit Badge.

Almost forgot to post my answers:
1)A; 2)A; 3)A; 4)D; 5)A 6)C; 7)D; 8)C 9)A; 10)C

Paul,
My youngest only made it to first class but he is now a Unit Commissioner in our District. I understand about the number of MB's and still come up short on the required. The last three you mentioned seem to be the hardest (next to the Citizenships) to finish mostly due to the time factors involved, not as easy as "look it up, do it, get the Merit Badge." Just finished up this past weekend with a Council wide Adult Training seminar, we call it "All Scouters Pow Wow," I instructed two classes for the first time in that setting, went OK, not a lot of questions afterwords.

I see your point on the education, although it may be a good starting place. Maybe we as an organization need to pressure the Lawyers to "NOT" look for the loop holes or find ways around the Constitution, but to flatout defend based on the Constitution. Prabably none of this would help but it could be a start.

Ugh, Missed #5. I guess I will be pushing for a few minutes One, Two, Three, Four, I, Love, The Marine, Corps....

Anyway, here are my answers AAADCEDCAC

Jim-
I'm not sure how aware you are regarding blogs, but the VAST majority of bloggers use nom-de-guerres. However, my name is not a secret, since I have even quoted myself from newspapers in the posts. My name is Mark Seavey, and I am the New Media Manager of The American Legion.

My non de guerre "Mothax" is from the bastard offspring of Spartan Warriors and Helot (slave) mothers. It was chosen because at the time I started this blog I was sort of dual assigned to two different divisions of The American Legion, the Magazine Division (that I work for now) and the Legislative Division where I was a lobbyist.

I don't use my name because here I represent the Legion, whereas in my private life I represent myself. There are times when my personal opinion differs from that taken by the Legion, and I want to make clear when I am speaking for one, and when another.

Not to bad a 9 out of 10.

DONE>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

100%
I was worried for a minute or so but made it without peeking.

I too believe that our elected representatives should have to pass an exam before they can take office.
Unfortunately it is not already required in the Constitution. [the founders assumed that Everyone would study and support the Constitution as it and the Declaration of Independence are the bedrocks of our Republic]

I would ask that all veterans Reach out to every veteran that you know [whether a vet or currently serving especially] to remind all currently serving military and Peace Officers to Honor their Oath to the Constitution.
Reading and knowing what the Constitution actually says is only the first step to regaining control of our 'out-of-control' ill advised Congress [legislative] , Supreme Court [judicial] and the Highest Officers of our Government [executive] (President, VP, Et Cetera) as was intended in the Constitution.

So many people know so little about the Constitution that they actually believe that it was written to control the people rather than its real purpose which is to control Government from abusing its LIMITED [and enumerated] powers granted to it by .... We the People and our respective States.

Our 3P's have been failing to stand up for our Liberties since Washington's time. [The repression of the Whiskey Rebellion ? Unconstitutional use of US military power against US Citizens.]
It is well past time to Insist that all who would seek the public offices should have to prove their qualifications. Period.

I am reminded of a statement by Benjamin Franklin.

Quote:

Franklin's Address to the Constitutional Convention

Franklin fervently hoped this policy could be perpetuated in America from generation to generation. At the Constitutional Convention in 1787, he gave a discourse on the need to fix the course of American public service so that it would always attract men of public virtue and repel scoundrels scrambling for a soft job. He said:

"Sir, there are two passions which have a powerful influence in the affairs of men. These are ambitions and avarice; the love of power and the love of money. Separately, each of these has great force in prompting men to action; but when united in view of the same object, they have in many minds the most violent effects. Place before the eyes of such men a post of honor, that shall at the same time be a place of profit, and they will move heaven and earth to obtain it. The vast number of such places it is that renders the British government so tempestuous. The struggles for them are the true source of all those factions which are perpetually dividing the nation, distracting its councils, hurrying it sometimes into fruitless and mischievous wars, and often compelling a submission to dishonorable terms of peace."

end Quote.

Important enough that I will repeat it so it doesn't get missed.
"Place before the eyes of such men a post of honor, that shall at the same time be a place of profit, and they will move heaven and earth to obtain it."

A Career Politician was antithetic to the Founders. Political office was [and is] supposed to be an position of Honor and Responsibility NOT a way to make a personal profit off of the American taxpayers.
3P = Professional Political Parasite = a Career politician that makes nothing of real value but uses our tax money as if it was their own. Mostly to get themselves reelected and passing laws that they make themselves immune to as if they were a superior class of US Citizen.

For the Republic,

Gregory Gooch
Capt USMM Ret

Oath Keeper
oathkeepers dot org

10/10, but I'm not bragging about it. I still failed. Failed to keep watch over a system that could allow only 50% of our population to know something as basic as the 3 branches of government. Good grief, wasn't that on Schoolhouse Rock? The Three Ring Circus? And to have elected officials not know who has the power to declare war? I'm sorry, but that's just scary. One can only hope that those elected officials were not elected to positions that actually HAVE that power.
It's long past time to demand a system of education that teaches facts, and not just present them with the question; "How do you FEEL about that?"

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.