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The BBHQ Great American Civics Quiz

A Very Special Feature of Baby Boomer HeadQuarters: WWW.BBHQ.COM

“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.” — Thomas Jefferson, 1816.

The BBHQ Great American Civics Quiz tests your knowledge of the foundation and fundamentals of our government. We firmly believe it is your responsibility to be knowledgeable about the government that offers you the greatest opportunity in the world for freedom and individual success.

Most of the exams and quizzes at BBHQ are based on trivia. This quiz is different. If it were trivia, among other things, we would ask for the name that appears last on the Declaration of Independence.

This quiz is for boomers, their parents, children... and even the gen-Xers and today’s kids. Please pass it up and down the line. You should all know this stuff... except for our non-American visitors; this quiz is not primarily for you. We think it would be nice if you knew these things... but we are not so self-centered that we think you should.

The Washington Post reported that 67 percent of Americans could not name their congressman, and 94 percent had no idea that who was the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Only 26 percent knew the length of a term of a U.S. senator, and 73 percent didn’t know that the federal government spends more on Medicare than on foreign aid. The Gallup organization found that while 66 percent of the public could name the host of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" only six percent knew the name of the speaker of the House. Fifty-eight percent of Americans cannot not name a single federal cabinet department.

“The ignorant can be found in the highest reaches of academe. Of more than 3,100 Ivy League students polled for a University of Pennsylvania study in 1993, 11 percent couldn’t identify the author of the Declaration of Independence, half didn’t know the names of their U.S. senators, and 75 percent were unaware that the classic description of democracy -- 'government of the people, by the people, and for the people’ -- comes from the Gettysburg Address.” -- Jeff Jacoby.


According to a survey taken in 2006, only one in four Americans can name more than one of the five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment, but more than half can name at least two members of the Simpson’s cartoon family.

This is appalling!

You may not copy this and post it on your site or send it to any other other site. This quiz is copyrighted; it is not in the public domain! Do not attempt to e-mail this to your friends; send them to WWW.BBHQ.COM. (Please contact us if you would like to use this quiz in your educational classroom.)

Answer each question in the space provided. Capitalization and punctuation do not matter; but spelling does. Your quiz will be graded by a computer program, not Mrs. Anderson, your forgiving, nurturing third-grade teacher.

Answer as many questions as you can. Then click the “Grade me” button, and we’ll tell you how you did, provide the answers, and compare your score to others.

OK, roll up your sleeves; let’s go to work:

1. I am a tad colorblind, but even I know that the colors on the U.S. flag are red, white, and blue. How many stars are there on the U.S. flag?    

2. We’re not talking trees here. But the three branches of the U.S. government are (3 words):    

3. Which of these three branches has the authority to declare war?    

4. How many wars did the U.S. declare in the 1900s? (And no, the “war on poverty” doesn’t count.)    

5. The concept of civil liberties, the rule of law, and limited governmental power originated when King John was pressured to sign a document known as the   .

5a. Think you’re pretty smart, huh? Well, we won’t count this, but in what year was that document (above) signed?  

6. “Everybody’s a critic”; but, excluding unscheduled absences, how many justices are there on the U.S. Supreme Court? (Hint for those of you over 40: Who’s on first?)    

7. Which branch of the government selects (nominates) justices to the Supreme Court?    

8. U.S. Supreme Court justices must be re-elected (or re-confirmed) periodically.
      True     False    

9. A writer writes; a judge judges. The task of the U.S. Supreme Court justices is to judge if laws passed by the Congress are fair and reasonable.     True     False    

10. Like a commanding parent, the Congress has the authority to override decisions made by the U.S. Supreme Court.     True     False    

11. The first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution were ratified, as a group, in 1791. They are known as (don’t describe them; identify what they are called)     . (And no, they are not known as “the top 10.”)

12. The first 10 amendments to the Constitution generally expand   or   limit   the powers of the federal government.

13. If nothing more, the Constitution (including its amendments) promise a living wage and minimum standard of living to all Americans.     True     False    

14. It is a “living document,” but the Constitution is not a “party animal.” In fact, there is no mention whatsoever of political parties in the Constitution (or its amendments).
    True     False    

15. The Constitution gives the president the power and authority to control and regulate the U. S. economy.
    True     False    

16. The presidential cabinet positions are enumerated in the Constitution (or its amendments).
      True     False    

17. The Senate must approve (or reject) cabinet appointments made by the president.
      True     False    

18. Ronald McDonald is not there; in fact there is no specific mention of capitalism or the free marketplace in the Constitution (or its amendments).
      True     False    

19. The Constitution (or its amendments) guarantees the right to a basic education for all citizens.
      True     False    

20. Identify each U.S. president since (March 5) 1933, in the order in which they have served (complete last name only). We’ll give you a clue: there have been 14. Last name of the president is enough. (Watch your spelling.) If you cannot remember a specific president, leave a blank space; sequence is important. The current president is number 14.


21. The U.S. Civil War was fought during what decade?
      1920s. 1860s. 1840s. 1780s. None of the above.

22. Any proposed law to raise federal revenue (taxes) must originate in the .

23. The federal government has its own supply of money.     True     False    

24. The president can veto (or nullify) a bill passed by the Congress.     True     False    

25. Hardly a disinterested party, the president has the authority to set federal interest loan rates.    
      True     False    

26. A woman’s right to an abortion came as a result of
      a law passed by the Congress,    
      a Constitutional amendment,     or
      a ruling by the Supreme Court.

27. It is often said that the primary job of the vice-president is to get up every morning and ask, “How’s the president?” After the VP, who is next in line for the presidency? (We want the title or position of this person, not the name of the individual.)    

28. The chairman of the Federal Reserve System is considered by many to be the second most powerful person in the country (with no regard given to Bill Gates, of course). The current chairman’s name is (first and last)     .

29. The U.S. attorney general is a member of the U.S. Supreme Court.     True     False    

30. The name of the current attorney general is (first and last name).    

31. There are how many standard, voting members in the U.S. Senate?    

32. There are how many voting members in the House of Representatives?    

33. The term of a U.S. senator is   years.

34. The term of a U.S. House representative is   years.

35. Which one of these men was not a U.S. president:
      Theodore Roosevelt
      Ulysses Grant
      John Adams
      John Tyler
      Benjamin Franklin
      can’t fool me; they all were

36. The primary author of the Declaration of Independence is (first and last name).  

37. When the Constitution was ratified, the states were derived from the original (how many)   colonies.

38. There are currently how many states in the Union?    

39. No, Disneyworld is not one of those states. But Puerto Rico is.     True     False    

40. Who wrote this? “I hereby resign the office of President of the United States.”     (Hint: This is the complete text of a letter; he never actually spoke these words.)    

41. Frustrated by a war he could not win and from which he refused to retreat, this president said, “I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your president.”    

42. The author of this...“With malice toward none; with charity for all.”    

43. “The only thing we have to fear... is fear itself.”     Click to hear it:

44. “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”    

45. “My fellow Americans; our long, national nightmare is over. Our Constitution works. Our great Republic is a government of laws and not of men.”     Click to hear it:

46. Which president declared the “war on poverty,” and fought it with billions of taxpayer dollars (first and last name)?    

47. Finish this line: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are   .”

48. From what document is that quote taken?    

49. The two primary countries the U.S. fought in World War II were     .

50. Which president challenged the country to land a man on the moon?    

51. The president of the U.S. Senate is (first and last name):    

52. The commander-in-chief of the military is (first and last name of the individual):    

53. Most people agree that the U.S. Civil War was fought over the question of slavery, an issue which had greatly troubled the founding fathers. But on a larger scale, it also dealt with the issue of     . (We’re looking for two, specific words here.)

54. OK, we have an essay question for you. No, we can’t grade it; our grading program is not that sophisticated. But this question brings up an important issue. Part of the quote in question 45 is “Our great Republic is a government of laws and not of men.” What did he mean by that? What principle was he noting? (If you think about it, you can summarize it appropriately in one sentence. But use your own words. Explain that, please.)

99. OK, OK... just for you trivia nuts. What name (first and last name) appears last on the Declaration of Independence? (Are you satisfied now?)    

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And your sex:
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Please tell us your first name so we can post it if you get the highest score:

And finally.... any comments for the good of the order? (Include your e-mail address if you want a response.)

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