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Tuesday, 24 September 2013

American History: Do you know US History?

In a few weeks, the U.S. will celebrate Columbus Day, but it’s likely many Americans don’t know that this holiday commemorates Christopher Columbus arriving in North America in 1492.That’s because a series of recent studies have found that when it comes to our own history, Americans don’t always make the grade. A 2010 survey found that more than 25% of Americans didn’t know that we had gained our independence from Britain. China, Japan and France were all given as incorrect answers.And the results were even worse in a study by the U.S. Mint, which found that only 7% percent of Americans could name the first four U.S. Presidents in order: George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.In 2011, Newsweek magazine gave the official U.S. Citizenship Test to 1,000 Americans and found even more gaps in our collective knowledge. Only 27% of Americans knew which country we fought in the Cold War – the Soviet Union -- and even fewer, 25%, knew the name of the current Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, which is John Roberts.Scholars agree that one reason for the poor results is that America has a complex political system, which can take years to fully understand.And our unique government may never have happened if Columbus hadn’t sailed across the ocean on the Titanic. At least, I think that’s the ship he took. I’m a little rusty on my U.S. History…

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