The Constitution Day quiz: Test yourself

September 17, 2013
constitution1

Today is the 226th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution — and that means it is also Constitution Day. What’s Constitution Day, you ask? It’s a congressionally mandated moment in which schools — from kindergarten through college — must  focus in some fashion on the country’s founding document. The law, which passed in 2004,  requires all schools that get federal funding to offer an “educational program” on the Constitution, but doesn’t define what that is.

Here’s a quiz about our Constitution,  which was drafted and signed during the Constitutional Convention held in Philadelphia from May 14 to September 17, 1787. Take it and see how much you know know — or don’t, as the case may be.

If you want to brush up on your Constitution knowledge,  you can go here to a Web site devoted to the day, or 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. The National Archives Teaching with Documents page has Constitution Day activities for teachers and families too, here.

Here’s the quiz:

1) Who is considered the father of the Constitution?

a) Benjamin Franklin
b) George Washington
c) James Monroe
d) James Madison

2) Who was unanimously elected to preside over the 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia?

a) Benjamin Franklin
b) George Washington
c) James Monroe
d) James Madison

3) True or false. The Constitution does not use the word “democracy.”

4) What did the Senate initially want to call the president?

a) King
b) The president 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

5). Which of the following is not mentioned in the Constitution?

a) trial by jury
b) public education
c) protections for “life, liberty, or property”
d) how the president should be chosen

6) Under the Constitution, the longest a president can serve is:

a) 8 years
b) 9 years
c) 10 years
d) 11 years

7) The biggest obstacle the founders faced in ratifying the Constitution in the states was:

a) no bill of rights
b) slavery
c) women’s rights
d) how to elect the president

8) Which is longer: The Declaration of Independence or the Constitution?

9) One of the states boycotted the Constitutional Convention in 1787, annoying even the mild-tempered George Washington, because it liked its independence. Which state was it?

a) Delaware
b) Georgia
c) South Carolina
d) Rhode Island

10) Only one of the 27 amendments to the Constitution has overturned another amendment. What was the subject?

11) The Constitution allows an elected president to be impeached, but does it also allow for the impeachment of an appointed Supreme Court justice?

12) The website ConstitutionFacts.com has a quiz that has been taken by more than 100,000 since September 2012. What part of the country got the most perfect scores?

a) Washington D.C.
b) New York
c) California
d) Texas

BONUS QUESTION:

The Constitution was signed on Sept. 17, 1787, but not ratified by the required number of states until 1788. How many of the 13 states had to approve it for ratification?

 

ANSWERS

1) d. James Madison, the fourth U.S. president. He was the key figure in drafting the Constitution and a force in pushing for a Bill of Rights. 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.

2) b. George Washington.

3) True.

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

5) b. public education. It’s nowhere in the document; it’s an issue reserved to the states.

6) c. 10 years

7) a. No bill of rights.  One was added — the first 10 Amendments — three years after the ratification of the Constitution.

8) The Constitution has 4,543 words, including the signatures but not the certificate on the interlineations; and takes about half an hour to read. The Declaration of Independence has 1,458 words, with the signatures, and takes about ten minutes to read.

9) d. Rhode Island. It was the last state to ratify the Constitution too.

10) The Twenty-first Amendment, in 1933, repealed the prohibition of alcohol, which was established by the Eighteenth Amendment, 1919. More than 11,000 amendments have been introduced in Congress; 33 have gone to the states to be ratified and 27 became amendments to the Constitution.

11) Yes. The Constitution allows impeachment by the House and trial of the accused by the Senate sitting as a court of “all civil Officers,” which includes the justices.

12) a. Washington, D.C. tops the list again this year with 15.21% of test takers achieving perfect scores. Texas 14.28%, New York 13.79%, Illinois 13.78% and Iowa 13.41%.

BONUS: 9 states

 

Correction: Removing some information from Answer No. 7. 

Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.
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Valerie Strauss · September 17, 2013