The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Citizenship Test: Not Our Finest Moment

By Margaret Lyons in News on Sep 28, 2007 6:50PM

2007_09_28.constitution.jpgNew York Times reporter Monica Davey took an "unscientific survey" of people at the Cultural Center yesterday, asking them questions from the new citizenship test. People didn't do too well.

We decided to do our own "unscientific survey" of Chicagoist staffers and friends, and ... wow. Somewhere, our history teachers are in a corner gently weeping. Highlights of our wrongness:

42. Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the states. What is one power of the states?
"Elect the president through the Electoral College," "The power to prohibit new glarus beer from exiting one state and entering another? The forcing of the bandit to bootleg Coors?" "The allowage/banning of gay marriage"
Possible correct answers: provide schooling and education, provide protection (police), provide safety (fire departments), give a driver’s license, approve zoning and land use

48. There are four amendments to the Constitution about who can vote. Describe one of them.
"20th Amendment - Women can vote," "the 19th amendment (?) gives women to right to vote," "there's one allowing women to vote. the 21st? there's one about the 2/3rds slave thing. there's one changing the vote from 21 to 18 ... allowing people who could go to war to vote ... that's the 18th amendment. i think."
Not totally sure why so many of us felt the need to guess numbers, but 18 is prohibition, 19 is women's right to vote, 20 is presidential terms and succession. The four amendments are: 15, which gave voting rights to men regardless of race; 19 as we mentioned; 24, which banned poll taxes; and 26, which changed the voting age from 21 to 18.

50. What are two rights only for United States citizens?
"The right to free speech and practice their religion" and a lot of variations on that theme.
To apply for a federal job, vote, run for office, carry a U.S. passport. Those other rights apply to everyone.

66. When was the Constitution written?
"1776," "1783," "1792," "I know that the one we have now is actually the second constitution, so the current one was written in the 1800's, like 1816, maybe?"

Well, that was terrifying. Go try the test yourself.