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Democracies require a certain level of civic knowledge and understanding so that citizens can effectively govern themselves. But today a plague of ignorance threatens our liberties.
Cal Thomas writes about two studies that show a monumental ignorance on the part of Americans of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
Poll - Annenberg - Public - Policy - Center
A poll by the Annenberg Public Policy Center found that 37% of Americans surveyed could not name any of their First Amendment rights.
According to the study, 48% knew about their Freedom of Speech. But only 15% knew about the Freedom of Religion. Only 14% knew about the Freedom of the Press. Only 10% knew about their Right of Assembly. And only 3% knew of their right to petition the government.
% - Branches - Government
What’s more, 33% could not name any of the three branches of government.
Only 26% could name all three branches (legislative, executive, judicial).
Study - Newseum - Institute - Ignorance
A 2015 study by the Newseum Institute showed similar ignorance:
When asked to name the five specific freedoms in the First Amendment, 57% of Americans name freedom of speech, followed by 19% who say the freedom of religion, 10% mention the freedom of the press, 10% mention the right to assemble, and 2% name the right to petition. Thirty-three percent of Americans cannot name any of the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment.
Numbers - Years - Annenberg - Study - Which
These numbers from two years ago are actually slightly better than what we see in the Annenberg study of 2017. Which tells us that the plague of ignorance is actually getting worse!
Thomas quotes Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center:
Rights - Constitution - Fact - Results - Need
Protecting the rights guaranteed by the Constitution presupposes that we know what they are. The fact that many don’t is worrisome. . . .These results emphasize the need for high-quality civics education in the schools and for...
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