On Constitution Day, test your knowledge

September 17, 2012

George Washington presiding in the Constitution Convention in Philadelphia in 1787. (Everett Collection/Alamy)

The law, which set the first Constitution Day for 2004, requires all schools that get federal funding to offer an “educational program” on the Constitution, but doesn’t define what that is. Because of the Jewish holiday this year, schools were given permission by the U.S. Education Department to hold their program last week or anytime this week.

If you want to do further research, you can go here to the Library of Congress and its suggested resources, or to the National Constitution Center. The Department of Education also has information.

Following is a quick quiz on the Constitution, which was signed on Sept. 17, 1787, but not ratified by the required nine of 13 states until the year after.

1. Which of the following is not in the Constitution?

a) God

b) jury trials

c) protections for “life, liberty, or property”

d) the president shall be chosen by a group of electors and not the general public

2. What was the biggest problem in getting the Constitution ratified by the states?

a) whether people not born in the U.S. could be president

b) voting rights for women

c) voting rights for African-Americans

d) no bill of rights

3 Who didn’t sign the Constitution?

a) Benjamin Franklin

b) George Washington

c) Thomas Jefferson

d) James Madison

4. How many people lived in the United States when the Constitution was ratified?

a) 2 million

b) 4 million

c) 6 million

d) 8 million

5. Who was known as the father of the Constitution?

a) Benjamin Franklin

b) George Washington

c) James Monroe

d) James Madison

6. What did the Senate initially want to call the president?

a) The president of the United States of America

b) The chief executive of the United States of America

c) His Highness the President of the United States of America and Protector of their Liberties.

d) Chief of State and Commander in Chief of the United States of America

7. True or false. The word “democracy” doesn’t appear in the Constitution.

8. How many amendments have been added to the Constitution?

a) 10

b) 20

c) 27

d) 31

9. Which of the following is guaranteed by the first 10 amendments, known as the Bill of Rights.

a) the right to a free education

b) the right to privacy

c) the right to say anything you want wherever you want

d) freedom of the press

10. True of false. At 15,250 words, the Constitution is one of the longer founding documents in countries around the world.

Check your answers after the jump.


1. a) God. The only reference is in the signatory section where it says, “Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven.”

2) c. Jefferson was in France serving as the American minister during the Constitutional Convention. Actually, John Adams didn’t sign either; he was in England.

3) d. no bill of rights. In fact, George Mason of Virginia and Edmund Randolph of Massachusetts refused to sign in large part for this reason.

4) b) 4 million

5) d) James Madison, because he wrote most of it. Madison was the only member of the Constitutional Convention to attend every meeting and he kept a detailed journal that was kept secret until after his death, purchased for $30,000 in 1837 by the U.S. government and then published in 1840.

6) c) His Highness the President of the United States of America and Protector of their Liberties. The Senate and House finally compromised on president.

7) True.

8). c. 27. The last one was added in 1992. The first 10 are known as the Bill of Rights.

9. d. freedom of the press

10. False. It is, in fact, the shortest among the major governments in the world, at 4,400 words. It is also the oldest.

Follow The Answer Sheet every day by bookmarking www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet .

Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.
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