Besides Math, English and other academic areas ... probably the most important subject any of us should know is our country’s Constitution and our Constitutional rights, and it looks like Americans are scoring well in this area
Chicago, IL (PRWEB) September 11, 2007 –
With the 220th anniversary of the signing of the Constitution approaching on September 17th, Americans know more about the landmark document than expected, according to a recent poll of 22,838 Americans by ConstitutionFacts.com.
While Americans in the Midwest region (IL, IN, MI, OH and WI) scored higher than their counterparts, scores across the country were consistently strong.
“Besides Math, English and other academic areas ... probably the most important subject any of us should know is our country’s Constitution and our Constitutional rights, and it looks like Americans are scoring well in this area,” according to Keir Walton, publisher of the first annual Constitution Day poll at ConstitutionFacts.com, a website dedicated to helping people understand the Constitution.
According to the poll, more than 88 percent of Americans knew that laws were made by Congress, 92 percent that criminals have the right to hear witnesses against them, and 94 percent that they have the right to invoke the 5th amendment to avoid self-incrimination.
The Constitution is considered remarkable because it has stood the test of time. It was written for a country with four million people. Now the U.S. is home to more than 300 million people, and there have only been 27 amendments to the Constitution – including the Bill of Rights – in 220 years.
While Constitution IQ scores are surprisingly strong, an expanded poll of 4,733 Americans by constitutionfacts.com highlighted confusion between the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. Only 27 percent of Americans knew that the Constitution took effect in 1788, instead confusing it with the signing of the Declaration of Independence, which occurred 12 years earlier in 1776.
Walton said that even educators are guilty of the mix-up. One time, he said, an elementary school teacher produced a play in which John Hancock signed the Constitution – even though Hancock signed the Declaration, not the Constitution. Also, a high school superintendent, during a graduation ceremony, said that the words ''All men are created equal'' appear in the Constitution. Actually, they appear in the Declaration of Independence.
Walton says he hopes that by providing a handy and accessible website containing copies of the country's three main historical documents – the U.S. Constitution, Declaration of Independence and Articles of Confederation – misinformation about these documents can be eradicated.
To find out your Constitution IQ, and see how you compare with others statewide and nationally, take the online poll at http://www.constitutionfacts.com
The online, non-scientific poll of 22,838 Americans was conducted by constitutionfacts.com from Jan. 1 – Aug. 12, 2007. Participants were evenly split between women (49.9%) and men (50.1%) with an average age of 30 years old. Regionally, East North Central had the highest average score of 7.58, followed closely by the South Atlantic region, averaging 7.57. Only two of the nine U.S. regions – West North Central and West South Central – scored lower than the national average of 7.272. Idaho had the highest percentage of perfect scores, followed by Hawaii, Alaska, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana and Michigan. For more information on the poll, visit http://www.constitutionfacts.com
kwalton @ constitutionfacts.com