Majority of Americans Believe Knowledge of American Revolution is Important - But Fail Test for Knowledge

A new survey commissioned by the American Revolution Center has found that an overwhelming majority of Americans (90%) believe that knowledge of the American Revolution and its principles is very important.

The survey also found that nearly the same number of people (89%) believed they could pass a test on their basic knowledge of the Revolution.

But when they were given that test, only 17% passed.

Oops.

The American Revolution Center commissioned the first national survey to assess adult knowledge of the American Revolution. The results show that an alarming 83 percent of Americans failed a basic test on knowledge of the American Revolution and the principles that have united all Americans. Results also revealed that 90 percent of Americans think that knowledge of the American Revolution and its principles is very important, and that 89 percent of Americans expected to pass a test on basic knowledge of the American Revolution, but scored an average of 44 percent. The survey questions addressed issues related to the Revolutionary documents, people, and events, and also asked attitudinal questions about the respondents’ perception of the importance of understanding the Revolutionary history and the institutions that were established to preserve our freedoms and liberties. The survey results highlight the importance of, interest in, and lack of understanding of our Founding. For a printable PDF copy of the survey, click here.

Among other interesting findings, more than 50 percent of Americans wrongly attributed the quote, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” to George Washington, Thomas Paine, or President Barack Obama, when it is in fact a quote from Karl Marx, author of “The Communist Manifesto.”

How many of these people who put such value on knowing their history (yet actually know very little history) show up at tea party demonstrations dressed in 18th century clothing?

Here’s a quiz at the American Revolution Center site — see how you do.

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