In a 2017 poll of Americans, one in three (33%) could not name any branch of government, on only one in four (26%) could name all three branches of the government. Additionally, more than one in three people (37%) could not name a single right protected by the First Amendment. Since the United States Constitution is the “National Will” and has been our governing document for over 230 years one would think that all Americans would be familiar with the rules under which we function as a Republic.
Sadly, many historians have made an effort to undermine our founding leaders and documents. Contrary to the accounts of some historians and academics, Americans can take great pride in our founders and founding documents of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. We need to be reminded of their commitment as stated in the last line of the Declaration of Independence where they stated, “with a firm reliance of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” (Capitols in original) Few in American history have stated such a commitment and affixed their signatures knowing full well that they may well be signing their death warrant if the movement for Independence failed.
When you finish this Constitution class you will be among the small percentage of Americans who understand origins and structure of our governing documents and how they operate with the unique three-tier checks-and-balances. Students will also understand that the founders gave us a governing model that gives “We the People” control of our Republic...If we can keep it.
In a 2017 poll of Americans By Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large
Updated 4:39 PM ET, Wed September 13, 2017
(CNN)If you are way into politics, you are not the average American. Not even close.
A new poll from the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Center reveals how shockingly little people know about even the most basic elements of our government and the Constitution that formed it.
Take your pick from this bouillabaisse of ignorance:
* More than one in three people (37%) could not name a single right protected by the First Amendment. THE FIRST AMENDMENT.
* Only one in four (26%) can name all three branches of the government. (In 2011, 38% could name all three branches.)
* One in three (33%) can't name any branch of government. None. Not even one.
* A majority (53%) believe the Constitution affords undocumented immigrants no rights. However, everyone in the US is entitled to due process of law and the right to make their case before the courts, at the least.
(And the First Amendment protects the rights to free speech, free exercise of religion, freedom of the press and the rights of people to peaceably assemble, in case you were wondering.)
"Protecting the rights guaranteed by the Constitution presupposes that we know what they are," said Annenberg Director Kathleen Hall Jamieson. "The fact that many don't is worrisome."
Sadly, the Annenberg poll is far from the first to reveal not only our collective ignorance about the basic tenets of democracy but also the fact that we are even less informed than we were in the past.