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And you call yourself a well-informed American?

By: Keith Kappes
Columnist
Carter County Times

How often do you hear our politicians and other high-profile individuals brag about being good American citizens and how much pride they have in this great country?

High school students in Kentucky and many other states are expected to pass a standardized civics test to prepare themselves to become well-informed citizens. That also is true of folks from other countries who want to become Americans for various reasons.

From my perspective, it appears likely that some of these newcomers may know more about U. S. history and government than those of us who were born and reared here – Americans by chance rather than choice.

The 2008 civics test for those wanting to become naturalized American citizens was thoroughly developed over a multi-year period with the input of more than 150 organizations, which included English as a second language experts, educators, and historians, and was piloted before being implemented.

The test requires applicants to study 100 questions about American government and history and correctly answer at least six of 10 questions to pass, a rate of 60 percent. 

Out of curiosity or cussedness, I wanted to know what type of questions could be expected on the test. I found these examples and I challenge you to test your knowledge of America by answering these questions.

You can verify the correctness of your own answers since no letter grade is involved.

  • Where is the Statue of Liberty?
  • What is the name of our national anthem?
  • What does the Constitution do?
  • What are two rights of everyone living in the United States?
  • Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?
  • Name one war fought by the United States in the 1800s.
  • What did Susan B. Anthony do?
  • We elect a U.S. Senator for how many years?
  • Name one of the two longest rivers in the United States.
  • How many amendments does the U. S. Constitution have?

Keith Kappes can be reached at keithkappes@gmail.com

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