It is my belief that an overwhelming majority of Americans do not have even a basic understanding of their nation’s Constitution. Yet these people vote based upon misguided beliefs as to what they believe their government is supposed to do. It would be easy to lay the blame schools for not providing our children with a proper education, yet the schools themselves are not entirely to blame.
The various departments of Education, from the Federal Government all the way down to the local school districts, play a large part in setting the curriculum which is then taught to our children. So, if our children are graduating from high school without understanding their government, then much of the blame should be laid upon the shoulders of those bureaucrats who determine what is, and what isn’t, taught to our kids.
If I had but one wish in this world, it would be that I was given the opportunity to outline the course requirements for civics. If I were granted that wish, our kids would graduate high school with a thorough understanding of our system of government…or they would not graduate at all.
To give you an idea of what I would teach our kids, I have come up with a sample civics final exam. It would be administered in English, you would have 3 hours to complete it, and a passing score would be 80% or higher. If you could not pass, you would not graduate, which would make you ineligible to vote, or to receive any tax funded assistance for the rest of your life. And you can rest assured, the test would not be a cake walk, it would require that our kids actually think, not just memorize dates and basic information.
So, without further ado, here is the final exam I would like to see administered for high school civics.
1) Name the first 5 Presidents, their Vice-Presidents, and their party affiliation.
2) As originally written and ratified, what is the structure of our government, the purpose of each individual branch, and the checks they provide upon the other branches?
3) Describe the evolution of political parties over the course of our nation’s history.
4) What was the Great Compromise and what issue did it solve?
5) From where is all political power derived? Provide at least two quotes to support your answer.
6) What is meant by the term standing army? Why did our founders fear them, and are there any provisions in the Constitution to prevent them?
7) What was the militia, who comprised it, and according to U.S. law is it still in existence?
8) What is the Posse Comitatus Act and what did it do?
9) What is a writ of Habeas Corpus? Is it Constitutionally protected; and where? Has it been violated? Give an example of when.
10) If government oversteps its authority, what recourse do people have? Provide proof to support your answer.
11) Explain the difference between a right and a privilege. Explain if, when, and under what circumstances they may be restricted.
12) What is a qualifying clause, and where can one be found in the Constitution? Explain its purpose.
13) What is the purpose of government? Provide at least two quotes to support your answer.
14) What is the purpose of the Bill of Rights?
15) What is a democracy, and does our Constitution outline one?
16) Explain the meaning, and the reason the Ninth Amendment was written.
17) Do the same for the Tenth Amendment.
18) What did James Madison mean when he said, “If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.”?
19) What is your civic duty as an American? Provide quotes to support your answer.
20) Define liberty and give examples of how it has been restricted.
21) Why did Thomas Jefferson distrust banks enough to say “If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their money, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them (around the banks) , will deprive the people of their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.”
22) What was our nation’s first serious attack upon the rights of the people, who made that attack, and what rights did it violate?
23) What did Ben Franklin mean when he said, “When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.”?
24) Daniel Webster once said, “There is no nation on earth powerful enough to accomplish our overthrow. Our destruction, should it come at all, will be from another quarter. From the inattention of the people to the concerns of their government, from their carelessness and negligence.” Do you feel that what he feared has come to pass, why?
25) Define the term natural born citizen and explain why it was written into our Constitution that Presidential candidates be natural born citizens.
There you have it, twenty-five questions that everyone who graduates from high school SHOULD be able to answer, but probably can’t. I know this isn’t going to change anything because the people in charge of setting the curriculum for our schools do not want our children to know these things, they do not want them to be able to think independently. They want sponges who absorb ONLY the information provided them and will become easily molded into obedient citizens who blindly accept whatever information they are spoon fed by the media, and their government. It also explains why we continue to vote for the same corrupt people over and over, and why we have no idea why this country continues to spiral downward.
December 11, 2011
~ The Author ~
Neal Ross can be reached for comments at email@example.com.
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