Quiz: Can You Get 11 Right on This Practice U.S. Citizenship Test?: HowStuffWorks
Can You Get 11 Right on This Practice U.S. Citizenship Test?
By: Jonnathan Chadwick
6 Min Quiz
Image: filadendron/E+/Getty Images
About This Quiz
Anyone 18 and older who has lived in America for at least five years can become a U.S. citizen. You just have to be able to understand basic English, know the basics about the country and complete all the necessary steps. One of the steps is an interview that consists of an English and civics test. You will need to know about the U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, "The Star-Spangled Banner," America's wars, America's people and America's government.
Knowing who the first president of the United States was or what the significance of July Fourth is might sound easy, but if you're not from America, it's a lot of information to learn. Do you know the first president of any other country? Do you know what day Canadian or Mexican Independence Day is? Luckily for you, you only need to know American civics for this quiz, but even if you were born and raised in America, it doesn't mean this is going to be a breeze.
Can you remember when the U.S. Constitution or Declaration of Independence was written? Do you know when they were ratified? Who wrote them and why they were needed? The most American of Americans can easily answer all of these questions. How will you do? Put your knowledge of America to the test.
The 50 stars on the American Flag represent the 50 states. What do the 13 stripes represent?
The American Flag has been redesigned 27 times, and the current design was created in 1959 after Hawaii became the 50th state. The 13 stripes on the flag have always, and still do, represent the original 13 colonies. The stars represent the states.
Every U.S. president since 1853 has been a member of one of what two political parties?
America is run on a two-party political system dominated by the Democrat and Republican parties. George Washington wasn't affiliated with any party, and the first Democrat or Republican president was Thomas Jefferson, who was a Democrat-Republican.
There are 10 federal holidays in America. Which of the following is not one of them?
As fun as it may be to dress up and party, Halloween is not a national holiday and you will not get the day off from work to celebrate. All federal offices and banks are closed during the 10 federal holidays in America.
The U.S. military is made up of the Army, Navy, Air Force and more. Who is its Commander in Chief?
The president of the United States is also the Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. military, as stated by Article II of the U.S. Constitution. The president assumes the role without attaining any military rank. The governor is the commander of his or her state's National Guard and militia.
America is home to more than 2,500 historic landmarks. Where is the United States Capitol Building located?
New York City is actually home to the most historic landmarks in the country with more than 100, but one of the 70+ historic landmarks in Washington, D.C. is the U.S. Capitol Building, which is home to the U.S. Congress.
America is a country founded on protest and revolution. Which of these protests sparked the American Revolution?
The British king imported and sold tea to the colonies without paying taxes, then turned around and taxed the colonists. A lot of people thought the treatment was unfair and decided to protest by sabotaging an incoming shipment of tea. The event was called the Boston Tea Party.
Which of the following is not protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution?
There is no such thing as "Freedom of Corporation" although some recent Supreme Court rulings have awarded individual rights to corporations. The First Amendment to the Constitution is the most powerful law in the country and it protects many things.
In what deal did Thomas Jefferson buy half a billion acres of land from Napoleon for $15 million?
Thomas Jefferson considered the Louisiana Purchase to be his greatest accomplishment as president. The purchase provided land for 15 U.S. states, including all of Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska.
How old do you have to be to vote?
Before WWII, most states required citizens to be at least 21 years old in order to vote, but by 1968, many states lowered the age to 18. In 1971 the states ratified the 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which set the voting age at 18.
There are hundreds of congressmen and women in America. How are seats in the House of Representatives allocated?
American congressional seats are allocated based on state populations. California has 53 representatives and places like Alaska, Wyoming and North Dakota have one congressional representative. There are 435 congressional districts, which is a ratio of about one representative per 700,000 citizens.
Government power is split between the federal and state government. Which of the following is a power of the state?
Education is a state responsibility and public education varies widely from community to community. The schooling system is a combination of state, local and private initiatives and the federal government contributes about 10% of costs.
There are 16 members of the president's Cabinet. Which of the following is not a Cabinet position?
The mayor of D.C. is not part of the president's Cabinet, which is made up of the vice president and 15 leaders of executive departments like Energy, Labor and Transportation. George Washington established the practice of creating a presidential Cabinet.
The Declaration of Independence was adopted in Independence Hall in Philadelphia. When was it ratified?
John Adams wrote to his wife that July 2 would be the most memorable day in history. He didn't take into account the editing process. The exact wording of the Declaration wasn't approved until July 4, and that's also when it was ratified.
The U.S. has been involved in several wars since its beginning. Who was president during the Civil War?
Southern plantation owners were well aware of Abraham Lincoln's anti-slavery stance before he became president, and the second he did, several Southern states seceded from the Union. The Civil War started barely a month after Lincoln took office.
In which of these centuries was the United States not at war?
The United States was founded on war and since its creation in 1776, the country has been at war about 95% of the time. We were in at least four wars during the 1800s, five during the 1900s and we've been in the Afghanistan War from 2001 to present day. Not all of these were officially declared wars.
The three branches of government are the Legislative, Executive and Judicial branch. What branch is the U.S. Senate part of?
The U.S. Senate, along with the House of Representatives, is part of the Legislative Branch of the U.S. government. It is the branch of the government that writes legislation. The Senate has to approve any legislation proposed by the House.
The Legislative Branch of the U.S. government makes laws. The Executive Branch enacts laws. What does the Judicial Branch do?
The Judicial Branch is comprised of the Supreme Court and all the federal courts in the land. The Supreme Court is tasked with reviewing laws that are created by the Legislative Branch and enacted by the Executive Branch to ensure they are constitutional.
You need to be at least 21 years old to legally buy alcohol. How old do you need to be to become president of the United States?
The U.S. Constitution sets forth the requirements for U.S. presidents. In order to be president one must be a "natural-born" U.S. citizen, be at least 35 years old and have lived in the United States for at least 14 years.
How many amendments does the U.S. Constitution have?
There are 27 amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The first 10 are the Bill of Rights and the 27th was ratified in 1992. It regulates the pay for members of Congress and was actually proposed in 1789. If it was ratified back then, it would've been part of the Bill of Rights.
In what U.S. city did a massive bus boycott help spark the Civil Rights movement?
The Montgomery Bus Boycott lasted more than a year from 1955 to 1956 and was one of the most successful protests in U.S. history. Black bus riders who were forced to sit in the back of the bus stopped riding public transportation until the racist rules were lifted.
Slavery was a major economic factor in the development of America. What amendment to the Constitution abolished slavery?
In the middle of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln ordered the Emancipation Proclamation, which did not abolish slavery but freed enslaved persons being held in rebellious states. The 13th Amendment abolished slavery. It passed the Senate in 1864 and was ratified in 1865.
According to the Declaration of Independence, all men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights. Which is not one of those rights?
The Declaration of Independence declared that "all men are created equal" and are endowed certain unalienable rights: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Freedom of speech is not an unalienable right, but it is a constitutional right.
What is observed on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of every November?
There is an election for something every year, but the U.S. Presidential Election takes place only once every four years. There are many statewide positions up for election every year, and Senate elections are scattered, so different states hold Senate elections on different years.
One presidential term is four years long. Which of these officials serves the longest single term?
Senators serve six-year terms, which are the longest single term of any politician. Governor term lengths vary by state and many states don't have any term limits for governor. Supreme Court Justices serve for life and current justice Clarence Thomas has been on the bench for more than 27 years.
If the president of the United States can no longer serve, the vice president assumes duties. Who takes over if the vice president can no longer serve?
The speaker of the House of Representatives is the next in line to succeed the presidency after the vice president. The speaker is elected by members of the House and is the leader of the majority party in the House.
Each U.S. state is allocated two U.S. Senate seats. How many senators come from Washington, D.C.?
Washington, D.C. is the capital of America but is not one of the 50 states, so it does not have any senators. States are allocated electoral votes based on number of senators and districts within the state, and since D.C. has neither, it is allocated the minimum, which is three electoral votes.
The first 10 Amendments to the U.S. Constitution make up the Bill of Rights. What right does the Eighth Amendment protect?
The Eighth Amendment protects citizens against excessive bail or fines but doesn't define the word "excessive." It also protects against cruel and unusual punishment, and the "cruel and unusual" clause is the most debated section of the amendment.
What is the official language of America?
There is no official language of the country. There are close to 330 million people in America and about 230 million Americans call English their primary language. There are about 40 million Spanish speakers in the country and a few million Chinese speakers.
Presidential term limits weren't added to the U.S. Constitution until 1951. How many years was George Washington president?
The most important things George Washington may have done while president of the United States was to establish the practice of term limits and selecting a Cabinet. Although limits weren't regulated, he chose to only serve eight years, which set a standard.
The U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land. What was the country's governing document before the Constitution?
The Articles of Confederation were ratified in 1781 and were replaced by the ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1789. The goal of the Articles was to unite the states, and although it did, it created such a weak national government it had to be changed eventually.
How many Supreme Court justices are there?
There are nine Supreme Court justices who vote on the highest issues in the land. There are nine of them so they can't reach a tie. Each of them was nominated by the president and then approved by the Senate.
Jamestown Colony became the first permanent establishment in 1607. Which of the following was not one of the original 13 colonies?
The 13 colonies were: Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts Bay, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York, North Carolina and Rhode Island. West Virginia didn't become a state until 1853.
The Federalist Papers consists of 85 articles and essays that argue for the passage of the U.S. Constitution. Who was not one of its authors?
The Federalist Papers were written by Hamilton, Madison and Jay, and Jay used the pseudonym Publius on some articles. The collection of essays and articles argued for the ratification of the U.S. Constitution and were integral to the document's passage.
Native American chiefs Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull defeated General Custer at the Battle of Little Bighorn. What Native American tribe were they part of?
Before Amerigo Vespucci discovered America, Christopher Columbus did. Before Columbus discovered America, Leif Erikson did. Before Erikson discovered America, it's unknown who did, but we do know Native Americans were here long before us.
The "Father of the U.S. Constitution" was James Madison. When was the U.S. Constitution written?
The U.S. Constitution was hotly debated for years before finally becoming active. It was drafted in 1787, ratified in 1788 and enacted in 1789. Delaware was the first state to approve the document and Rhode Island was the last.
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