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Do you have the right stuff to pass a citizenship test?

Post by TNT Editorial Board / The News Tribune on July 3, 2011 at 5:53 pm with 5 Comments »
July 1, 2011 5:57 pm

This appears on Monday’s editorial page.

Pick 10 numbers at random between 1 and 20. Now read the corresponding questions below.

Were you able to answer at least six questions correctly? You’d have to if you were hoping to become a naturalized American citizen. They are among the questions applicants are asked.

Every year, scores of immigrants take their oath of allegiance at Fourth of July ceremonies and become American citizens. They passed a test like this one. Can you?

1. What is the supreme law of the land?

2. The idea of self-government is in the first three words of the Constitution. What are they?

3. What is one right or freedom from the First Amendment?

4. What is the economic system in the United States?

5. What is the “rule of law”?

6. What stops one branch of government from becoming too powerful?

7. Who makes federal laws?

8. Why do some states have more representatives than other states?

9. If both the president and the vice president no longer can serve, who becomes president? (Do you know that person’s name?)

10. Who is commander in chief of the military?

11. What are two cabinet-level positions? (There are 16.)

12. How many justices are on the Supreme Court?

13. Who is the current chief justice of the United States?

14. Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the federal government. What is one power of the federal government? (Four possible answers.)

15. Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the states. What is one power of the states? (Five possible answers.)

16. What is one responsibility that is only for United States citizens?

17. What do we show loyalty to when we say the Pledge of Allegiance?

18. What are two ways that Americans can participate in their democracy? (There are 10 answers. We especially like the last one on the list.)

19. There were 13 original states. Name three. (Can you name all 13?)

20. The Federalist Papers supported the passage of the U.S. Constitution. Name one of the writers.


1. The Constitution

2. “We the People”

3. Speech, religion, assembly, press, petition the government

4. Capitalist economy or market economy

5. Everyone must follow the law

6. Checks and balances or separation of powers

7. Congress

8. Because of the state’s population

9. The speaker of the House of Representatives  (John Boehner)

10. The president

11. Vice president; attorney general; secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Homeland Security, the Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, the Treasury and Veterans Affairs

12. Nine

13. John Roberts

14. To print money, declare war, create an army and make treaties

15. Provide schooling and education, protection (police), safety (fire departments), give a driver’s license, approve zoning and land use

16. Serve on a jury or vote in a federal election

17. The United States or the flag

18. Vote, join a political party, help with a campaign, join a civic group, join a community group, give an elected official your opinion on an issue, call senators and representatives, publicly support or oppose an issue or  policy, run for office or write to a newspaper

19. New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia

20. James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay

Leave a comment Comments → 5
  1. # 18…, we are not and never have been a “democracy”, please refer back to # 17 ” and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”

    We are a Republic.

    Good quiz, how about some more of these?

  2. APimpNamedSlickback says:


    There’s only one federal election, and the average voter does not participate in it. There are state-wide elections for presidential electors and the federal office of US Senator, as well as district-wide elections for the federal office of US Representative; but only the presidential election occurs on the federal level, and only 535 people can vote in it.


    Although never tested, there is the theory that the Presidential Succession Act of 1947 is unconstitutional, in that it names the Speaker of the House and the President Pro Tem of the Senate numbers 2 & 3 in the line of succession. But since the Constitution prohibits members of Congress from being appointed to any office of the US (i.e. president) the Speaker or President Pro Tem would have to first resign before assuming office, thus removing them from the line of succession. If that were the case, then #4 in line would become president, and that is the Secretary of State.


    there’s more than four powers reserved by the federal government. See Article I, Section 8.

    The US Citizenship test is notoriously inaccurate, and these are just a few of the inaccuracies. But then, who wants an informed citizenry?

  3. larsman – There are many forms of Republic. We happen to be a Democratic Republic. We’re also a Constitutional Republic and a Federal Republic. All it means is that we don’t have a monarch.

    By the way, there was a sad poll out today. 24% of the country doesn’t know who we declared independence from. Even more couldn’t identify the year.

  4. nwcolorist says:

    “24% of the country doesn’t know who we declared independence from.”

    Hmm…I wonder how many from this group are graduates of the public school system.

  5. tree_guy says:

    #21 A member of congress once sent suggestive pictures of his genitalia to various young women. What was his name?

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