Friday, December 01, 2006

Citizenship Test

Frank at Left of the Dial has posted the first 10 of the proposed 144 new citizenship tests prospective US citizens are required to take. Since he challenged his readers to see how well they'd do, I thought I'd test my retention of Mr. Secrist and Mrs. Payne's American History/Government classes and see how I do:

1. Name one important idea found in the Declaration of Independence.

That all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights: the right of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

2. What is the supreme law of the land?

The United States Constitution

3. What does the Constitution do?

It sets up and explains our system of government, as well as spells out our basic rights and responsibilities as Americans.

4. What does “We the People” mean in the Constitution?

It certifies that the people, the citizenry of the United States are solely responsible for creating, upholding and following the laws of the land. The government is to be a servant of the people's will and not their ruler. We the people take it upon ourselves to create a nation, united together in a common cause in pursuit of perfection. We ourselves establish what laws will be created and followed, and how our people will be protected from within and without. We will help our fellow citizens and defend them, no matter who they are or where they live, ensure that all citizens are well and fairly treated and ensure that these freedoms are secure and stable to last for all generations to come. And we the people sign our names to this document, via our representatives, and swear to uphold these laws and guidelines.

Funny, I learned more about that question from Schoolhouse Rock than in high school...

5. What do we call changes to the Constitution?


6. What is an amendment?

An alteration or addition to the basic rules of the Constitution that spells out a law affecting all citizens, regardless of state citizenship.

7. What do we call the first ten amendments to the Constitution?

The Bill of Rights

8. Name one right or freedom from the First Amendment

The people have the right to free speech, and not have their ideas, words, writing, music, art or opinions regulated by the government or risk persecution, prosecution or imprisonment for holding and relating such views.

I think it's important for all Americans to remember that with that right we must be responsible with how we use it. Nobody has the human right to scream "Fire" in a crowded theatre, since it could immediately produce a panic that might bring harm. Similarly we don't have the human right to release information that might prove harmful to other people, especially in times of war or other conflict. There are moral differences between the legal rights spelled out in the 1st amendment and the human rights we all as civilized and responsible people should understand.

9. How many amendments does the Constitution have?

Wow - got me there. I'd have to look the exact number up... 25 maybe?

10. What did the Declaration of Independence do?

It established the 13 British colonies as a separate and independent nation, free from fealty to the throne of England and all taxation responsibilities, etc.

How'd I do?

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