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What Do We Know about Our Own History

Posted By Administration, Friday, June 30, 2017

Most of you will read this either the day before or the day after Independence Day. On July 4, 1776 the Declaration of Independence was revealed and the 13 colonies that made up the original United States declared their independence from England.

Many of us celebrate the day with picnics and parties and end the day setting off or watching — or both — fireworks. What is surprising — well, maybe not so surprising — is the number of people who don’t know how this country was founded.

Teens and young adults know the least about the foundation of the nation and those over 60 the most. First a look at a poll conducted by ABC News a few years ago. It checked in with kids 12 to 17.

  14% of the nation’s teens think the U.S. declared independence from France

  5% think we rose up against Canada

  A shocking 15% don’t know the Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4, 1776

  9% think that’s the day we ratified the Constitution

  17% don’t know there were 13 original colonies


Colin Campbell who runs the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation said, “When you look at these numbers, it means that more than 5 million U.S. teenagers don't understand the true meaning of Independence Day.”


The lack of knowledge doesn’t stop there.

  19% — after naming the executive and judicial branch — can’t name the third branch

  25% of those surveyed don’t know the two sides that fought the Civil War

  13% think the Civil War was fought between the United States and Great Britain

  5% said the war was between the East and West

  69% have no idea who authored the Star Spangled Banner


The quiz — as designed by Campbell’s organization — originally targeted fourth graders. The questions these answers fit are far less complex than the questions someone has to answer to become a U.S. citizen.


Included in the questionnaire was:

  Who becomes president if the president and vice president die?

  How many amendments are there to the Constitution?


Oh, in case you don’t know. Those answers are the Speaker of the House and 27.

The good news. Most could identify who currently occupied the White House and that Washington D.C. is the nation’s capital.


A poll a few years ago by Marist showed some interesting statistics about adults.

  76% correctly know England is the country we declared independence from

  19% — however — were unsure

  5% mentioned another country

  Just 58% know the U.S. declared its independence in 1776


Breaking it down by age:

  67% under 30 know England is the country we declared independence from

  80% of those 60 and over know that

  77% of those 45 to 59 know the answer

  77% of adults 30 to 44 also know

  Just 58% know the declaration was presented on July 4, 1776

  26% didn’t know the date at all

  16% named another date entirely


Men are more likely than women to answer correctly. Those living in households of less than $50,000 in income were less likely to know the correct answers than those in households with $50,000 a year or higher. 

Tags:  Insurance Content  Insurance Industry  Insurance news  Weekly Industry News  What Do We Know about Our Own History 

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