The Annenberg Policy Center's annual Constitutional Day Civics Survey revealed that Americans know next to nothing about their government.
According to the report conducted on Aug. 9-13, of the 1,013 American adults surveyed, more than half could not name basic constitutional provisions in the Frist Amendment, nor the three branches of government.
Here what they found:
- More than half of Americans (53 percent) incorrectly think it is accurate to say that immigrants who are here illegally do not have any rights under the U.S. Constitution.
- More than a third of those surveyed (37 percent) can’t name any of the rights guaranteed under the First Amendment.
- Only a quarter of Americans (26 percent) can name all three branches of government.
Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC) at the University of Pennsylvania found the results troubling and believes that in order for Americans to apply the constitution to their lives, they must first understand it. “Protecting the rights guaranteed by the Constitution presupposes that we know what they are. The fact that many don’t is worrisome,” she said. “These results emphasize the need for high-quality civics education in the schools and for press reporting that underscores the existence of constitutional protections.”
"How do you graduate from elementary school, let alone high school, without being able to name a single First Amendment right?" said Pat Gray. "In order to protect the constitution, I think virtually all Americans, certainly those of us who are right of center, [we all] know that we've got to protect the United States Constitution; that it's paramount to our society. It's absolutely critical, but if we don't know what it is; if we don't know what rights we're protecting; if we don't know what's in the document, you can't protect it because you don't know when it's being violated."