Just 225 years ago today, New Hampshire ratified the Constitution of the United States. In doing so, the total number of ratifying states rose to nine, which made the document the law of the land. (Yes, we know, "Constitution Day," is generally accepted to be September 17, the date on which the Constitutional Convention delegates signed off on the final document before sending to the states.)
Since then, theoretically, the American people have had some time to get to know the laws upon which this nation stands, right? In 2011, the University of Pennsylvania conducted a survey to see how familiar Americans were with their legal foundations. The results were, well ... we'll just have to study harder for the next survey. Surveys are like pop quizzes right? And pop quizzes are hardly ever fair. Actually, the answers aren't all that depressing. Ninety percent of us know what the Supreme Court is! Decidedly fewer, however, know what it does.
Do you happen to know any of the three branches of government?
Would you mind naming any of the three branches of government?
How much of a majority is required for the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives to override a presidential veto? (The answer is two-thirds).
What is the highest court in the United States?
Whose responsibility is it to determine if a law is constitutional? The president, Congress, or the Supreme Court, or are you not sure?
What do we call the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution? (Who are these "magna carta" people?!)
Which one of the following duties is required only for United States citizens?
This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal.