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What do you know? Constitution turns 225

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Larry Lough is executive editor of Sauk Valley Media. Contact him via email at llough@saukvalley.com.

Monday will be the 225th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution.

What do you know about that 8,000-word document?

Two years ago, we offered a 15-question quiz on the Constitution and American history under a headline that said, “Want to vote? First, you must pass this test ...”

To observe this important anniversary, we present the quiz again today.

Rumor has it that you didn’t do so well last time.

AS WE SUGGESTED then, this will not prove or disprove your citizenship, patriotism or allegiance to the flag.

You could reasonably say that some of the questions require little more than a knowledge of historical trivia.

But we believe it’s a good base to understand how some things work in our relatively young and still evolving republic.

As the editor used to tell his college journalism students, every test is really a learning exercise. The idea isn’t to get a good grade – it’s to come away smarter than you were before.

This is a multiple choice exam, so all the answers are right in front of you.

And it’s self-graded, so there will be no permanent record of your score.

But you will know ...

Good luck!

1. HOW DOES THE U.S. Constitution begin?

a) When in the course of human events ...

b) We the People ...

c) We hold these truths ...

d) I pledge allegiance ...

2. HOW MANY amendments to the Constitution make up the Bill of Rights?

a) Four

b) Ten

c) Five

d) Twenty-one

3. WHICH OF the following is NOT a freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment?

a) Right to peaceably assemble

b) Freedom of speech

c) Pursuit of happiness

d) Freedom of religion

e) Right to petition the government for a redress of grievances

4. HOW MANY branches of government do we have?

a) Two: House and Senate

b) Two: Republicans and Democrats

c) Three: Executive, Judicial and Legislative

d) Four: President, Judges, Congress and the Media

5. U.S. SENATORS are elected for a term of how many years?

a) six

b) five

c) four

d) two

6. HOW MANY voting members are there in the U.S. House of Representatives?

a) 50

b) 100

c) 365

d) 435

7. IF BOTH THE president and vice president can no longer serve, who becomes president?

a) Speaker of the House (John Boehner)

b) Senate Majority Leader (Harry Reid)

c) Immediate past president (George Bush)

d) First lady (Michelle Obama)

8. WHICH OF THE following is NOT a power granted to the states under the Constitution?

a) Ability to decide on land use and zoning

b) Ability to print money

c) Providing education for residents

d) Provide safety and protection

9. WHEN THEY speak the citizenship oath, new U.S. citizens promise ...

a) never to return to their home counties

b) to obey the laws of the United States, unless they go against their old country

c) to end loyalty to countries other than the U.S.

d) to always pay taxes on time

10. WHICH OF THE following was NOT one of the first 13 U.S. states?

a) South Carolina

b) Connecticut

c) New York

d) Virginia

e) Florida

11. WHAT YEAR was the U.S. Constitution written?

a) 1776

b) 1787

c) 1865

d) 1901

12. WHAT FOUNDING Father wrote Poor Richard’s Almanac?

a) Thomas Jefferson

b) James Madison

c) Benjamin Franklin

d) George Washington

13. WHO WAS the U.S. president during World War I?

a) Herbert Hoover

b) Woodrow Wilson

c) Theodore Roosevelt

d) James K. Polk

14. WHO WAS president during the Great Depression?

a) Dwight Eisenhower

b) Franklin D. Roosevelt

c) Harry S Truman

d) Calvin Coolidge

15. WHICH OF THE following is NOT a U.S. territory?

a) Virgin Islands

b) Northern Mariana Islands

c) Falkland Islands

d) Guam

Answers: 1-b; 2-b; 3-c; 4-c; 5-a; 6-d; 7-a; 8-b; 9-c 10-e; 11-b; 12-c; 13-b; 14-b; 15-c

SO, HOW DID YOU do this time?

If you think about it, No. 11 was really a math question (2012 minus 225 equals ...). It has been the most-missed question.

Nearly 40 percent of respondents thought the Constitution was written in 1776. That’s the year when the Declaration of Independence was adopted, on July 4 – Independence Day.

Almost a third of test-takers thought the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances was not part of the First Amendment; 25 percent believed the Bill of Rights comprised 21 amendments; and 18 percent said Theodore Roosevelt was president during World War I.

But what’s important is, Did you learn anything?

Maybe even that you’re smarter than you thought!

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