...asking folks in what year did the United States of America declare its independence? In the same Marist Poll they also asked one other question: From which country did the USA declare its independence? How would you do? How would Americans do?
Those are pretty basic, in fact maybe the most basic, historical questions you could ask about our country's history. The sad thing is that only 58% of the 1,003 people surveyed got the first question correct and only 76% of them got the second question right. That is truly a shame. What is more of a shame is that yesterday on local radio news up my way, I heard a reporter ask those same questions of a tourist from Australia in NYC. That guy got them right, without hesitation. Then again, the reporter claimed that every New Yorker he questioned got them both right. My guess is that he must not have questioned any of the many illegal aliens in NYC, he conducted his poll in person and could have easily picked people that appeared to be savvy resident NY'ers. As for the Marist Poll, it was conducted by telephone and who can tell whom they asked. I would hope that several of the people who got either or both questions wrong were at least not U.S. Citizens or legal resident aliens. I would just think we would know better than to screw up two such simple inquiries about our basic history. By the way, I asked my wife and she got both of them right without hesitation saying 1776 for the first, then England for the second, then adding Great Britain as a follow-up (I would accept either of those as correct).
I wonder though, how many people in the good old U.S. of A. would know the correct answers to some other facts about the earliest history of our nation? Read the questions below and give your best answers to each before clicking on the links to find the correct answers for each respective question:
1. On what date (getting only the year gives you half credit) did hostilities in the American Revolution begin? (Hint: The shot heard round the world, as is called the first shot of the American Revolution, was not fired on July 4, 1776.)
2. Who was the ruler of England at the time of the American Revolution? (Hint: Not a queen as I suspect was Boy George.)
3. Who was the commander-in-chief (commanding general) of the American Revolutionary forces? (Hint: He bucked the Brits.)
4. Why was a rattlesnake depicted on naval and other ensigns such as the Gadsden Flag of the American revolutionary forces with the motto "Don't Tread On Me"? (Hint: It has to do with the nature of the beast and with the nature of The United States of America and it has nothing to do with one being cold blooded!)
5. How many stars and stripes did the first national flag of the United States of America have at the time the American Revolution? (Hint: This is sort of a tricky question and no, the first official national U.S. flag did not have a snake on it?)
6. Which of America's allies, during the American Revolution, helped us decisively defeat our enemies in that war at the Siege of Yorktown? (Hint: They fought on what was to them foreign soil, here in America, but were not Legionnaires.)
7. How many British colonies originally united to form the United States of America? (Hint: It was not an unlucky number for the revolutionaries.)
8. How many colonies voted in favor of the Declaration of Independence before it was actually adopted by Congress? (Hint: Think of the correct answer to number 7 above, then think again.)
9. On what date was the Declaration of Independence adopted by Congress? (Hint: A tough question to answer, unless you read the whole section linked to in the last question. I will tell you that NO IT WAS NOT THE 4TH OF JULY and at least one Founding Father believed that an earlier date would be the one on which Americans would celebrate their Independence.)
10. What country won the American Revolution and in what year was the war officially over with a peace treaty being signed? (Hint: Oh come on now, would anyone not know the correct answer to the first part of this two part question, after all, why name a revolution after the losers! The second part may not be as easy but it was not 1776, nor was it 1781 when the last major and most decisive battle was fought on American soil, it was later than that and the treaty was signed in Paris, France.)
11. Which three countries fought the last battle of the American revolution, and in which country (not any of the thee fighting the battle) was that battle fought. (Hint: This last one is the only one for which I would not have had a clue, except that England was one of the countries in that battle and that is all the hint I will give. You really have to know your history to get this one right.)
12. Pick the best answer from the below choices as to the type of government that governs in The United States of America:
f) all of the above
(Hint: It is a form of government in which laws are penultimate and by which the Founding Fathers tried to assure that the majority would not tyrannize the minority nor strip them of their rights because all had to live by the law.)
13. How many stars and how many stripes are on the current U.S. Flag and why are there that many stars and that many stripes? (Hint: President Obama may now know the correct number of stars and why there are that many but at one time he probably would have said 57. As for him knowing the number of stripes on the flag or why there are that many, I am none too sure he would get it right even though the answer would be right here staring him in the face as that number led the way for the USA in the American Revolution.)
I honestly hope you got almost every one of these right or at least you had fun reading and learning about the right answers. There are only two questions that would have given me any trouble and of those two I am only certain I would not have known the answer to only one of them; the other I may or may not have gotten after a bit of thinking. The one I would have certainly gotten incorrect would have been number 11, I just learned that today. The one that I maybe would have gotten right or maybe would have gotten wrong would have been number 5. One other one, the one about the date the Declaration of Independence was adopted, well I knew the answer but only was reminded of it recently otherwise that one may have thrown me too. If you got them all correct then I salute you, you know a good deal about the early history of the USA, probably much more than most.
Again, hope you had fun with this and that you learned something by looking at the info at the links. If any of the answers are debatable - oh well argue with someone else not me but please do inform me of what you think was the right answer with references. I am always happy to learn about our history.
Happy Independence Day,
A Bright Idea - A Pack Of Lights
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