Keane observations about life, politics and sports.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

How Can Anyone Not Know This???

National Review Online provided a link today to the results of a survey done by the American Revolution Center which attempted to gauge our understanding of the various events and participants in the American Revolution. I was curious and went ahead and scrolled through the results looking for a trend. The results to each question was broken down by various demographic categories; age, gender, income, education level, political affiliation. As a conservative, I enjoyed confirmation of my opinion in seeing Republicans do better than Democrats on most questions with Independents falling between the two. However, I lost respect for people in any demographic group who got this question wrong:
When did the American Revolution begin? Was it in the . . .
If the choices were several dates in the 1700's, I somewhat could understand a few people over thinking and getting the wrong answer since people have different opinions on what was the tipping point which led to the war (Stamp Act, Boston Massacre, Designated Hitter Rule, etc). Problem is, the choices were: 1770's, 1640's, 1490's, 1800's or Don't Know. How does anyone answer 1490's? Did they think the Italian born Christopher Columbus, who just finished a voyage that didn't actually reach the American mainland, which was funded by Spain, immediately turned around and declare independence from England which did not have any presence in the new world yet??? Also, how did people conclude that the American Revolution started in the 1800's (after George Washington died)? Turns out only 65 percent of Americans could place the beginning of the American Revolution in the correct decade and century. Now that's scary stupid.

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Blogger Paul Zummo said...

Yeah, that's the one that scared me, too. Also, only 11% knowing that Jay was the first Chief Justice was bad. Sure, he's not particularly famous, but 11%?

December 2, 2009 at 4:44 PM

Blogger LargeBill said...

I wasn't too worked up about folks being ignorant of John Jay since he fairly quickly resigned to run for governor of NY. Chief justice at that time was held in such low regard that being a state governor was more impressive. I could see people mistakenly saying Marshall since he held the job for so long and set most of the early precedents similar to how Washington did for the executive branch. I can not at all understand how 35% answered Hamilton.

December 2, 2009 at 5:27 PM


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