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Can You Pass This Basic Civics Quiz?


Why You Should Take These 2 Simple Quizzes

It's often said that far too many Americans are woefully ignorant about their rights, their responsibilities and how their own government works.

These 40 questions are split up into 2 separate quizzes. The first quiz (26 questions) is about the US government and the Constitution. The 2nd quiz (14 questions) is about important US history that every American should know.


Quiz #1: US Government and Constitution Quiz (26 questions)

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. Which of these rights is defined in the 1st Amendment to the Constitution?
    • Protection against self-incrimination
    • The right to a fair trial
    • Freedom of Speech
    • The right to be secure from unreasonable searches and seizures.
  2. What are the three branches of the US government?
    • Executive, Legislative and Judicial.
    • The President, the Department of Defense and the Department of Interior
    • The Senate, the House of Representatives and the Supreme Court
    • Congress, The Department of Education and the Department of Defense
  3. How many houses are there in the Legislative branch of the US Government?
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  4. How many Senators are there in the US Senate?
    • 100
    • 50
    • 435
    • 535
  5. Why does the US flag have 13 stripes?
    • To represent the 13th Amendment which freed the slaves
    • To represent the original 13 colonies.
    • To represent the signers of the Declaration of Independence
    • To represent the number of Amendments to the US Constitution
  6. Which of these is not a member of the president’s cabinet?
    • Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
    • Secretary of Labor
    • Attorney General
    • Secretary of Defense
  7. What is one promise you make when you become a citizen of the United States?
    • To give up loyalty to other countries
    • To vote in every election
    • To never travel outside the United States
    • To serve in the US military
  8. What is it called when you write, call or visit your elected official to discuss their vote on a piece of legislation?
    • Lobbying
    • Censuring
    • Petitioning
    • Polling
  9. How many Justices are there on the Supreme Court if there are no vacancies?
    • 5
    • 7
    • 9
    • 11
  10. According to Article 1 of the US Constitution, who in our government has the exclusive power to declare war?
    • The President
    • Congress
    • The Supreme Court
    • The Department of Defense
  11. How long is one term in office for the US Senate?
    • 2 years
    • 4 years
    • 6 years
    • 8 years
  12. Article 1 of the Constitution defines the powers and responsibilities of what branch of government?
    • The Legislative
    • The Executive
    • The Military
    • The Judicial
  13. What age did the 26th Amendment set as the legal voting age across the country?
    • 17
    • 18
    • 20
    • 21
  14. What is the minimum age required to run for president as defined by the Constitution?
    • 25
    • 35
    • 45
    • 55
  15. How many US presidential elections have been won by the candidate who lost the popular vote?
    • 0
    • 2
    • 4
    • 5
  16. What Constitutional Amendment guarantees the right of the accused to a speedy trial and council for the defense?
    • 1st Amendment
    • 2nd Amendment
    • 6th Amendment
    • 10th Amendment
  17. What are the first 3 words of the US Constitution?
    • We the people
    • In the beginning
    • Bill of Rights
    • The United States
  18. What do we call a change to the Constitution?
    • An Article
    • An Amendment
    • A Proclamation
    • An Adendum
  19. What governmental body determines if a law or an action by the government is constitutional?
    • Congress
    • The President
    • The Pentagon
    • The Supreme Court
  20. Some rights apply to everyone in the country. Which of these rights apply only to US citizens?
    • Freedom of speech
    • The right to vote
    • Freedom of religion
    • The right to petition the government
  21. What document exists to “insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense and promote the general welfare"?
    • The Declaration of Independence
    • The Emancipation Proclamation
    • The War Powers Act
    • The US Constitution
  22. Which of these powers belong to the state or local govenrment?
    • The power to declare war
    • The power to make treaties
    • The power to print money
    • The power to provide police protection
  23. Where in the Constitution is the Senate filibuster (which allows just 41 senators to kill a proposed law) defined?
    • The 4th Amendment
    • Article 1
    • Article 2
    • The filibuster is not mentioned anywhere in the Constitution
  24. After Congress passes a bill, what must also happen before that bill becomes a law?
    • The Supreme Court must approve it
    • The Attorney General must OK it
    • The President must sign it
    • The Speaker of the House must OK it.
  25. Aside from a Constitutional Convention, how can an amendment to the US Constitution be added or repealed?
    • It just needs to be passed by a majority of Congress.
    • It needs to be unanimously approved by all 50 state legislatures.
    • It must be passed by 2/3 of Congress and ratified by ¾ of state legislatures.
    • The President must issue an executive order
  26. What amendment protects you from unreasonable searches and seizures and requires probable cause to issue a warrant?
    • The 1st Amendment
    • The 2nd Amendment
    • The 4th Amendment
    • The 8th Amendment

Answer Key

  1. Freedom of Speech
  2. Executive, Legislative and Judicial.
  3. 2
  4. 100
  5. To represent the original 13 colonies.
  6. Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
  7. To give up loyalty to other countries
  8. Lobbying
  9. 9
  10. Congress
  11. 6 years
  12. The Legislative
  13. 18
  14. 35
  15. 5
  16. 6th Amendment
  17. We the people
  18. An Amendment
  19. The Supreme Court
  20. The right to vote
  21. The US Constitution
  22. The power to provide police protection
  23. The filibuster is not mentioned anywhere in the Constitution
  24. The President must sign it
  25. It must be passed by 2/3 of Congress and ratified by ¾ of state legislatures.
  26. The 4th Amendment

Interpreting Your Score

If you got between 0 and 7 correct answers: Sorry, but your score is embarrassing. Please make an effort to learn more about civics and US government as soon as possible. Feel free to come back and take this quiz again to see how you have improved.

If you got between 8 and 15 correct answers: You didn't do well at all. You know far too little about US government and history. Please do some research and retake this quiz again in the future.

If you got between 16 and 20 correct answers: Not terrible, but there is definitely room for improvement. You should make an effort to learn more about your government and US History. Take this quiz again in the future to see how you've improved.

If you got between 21 and 23 correct answers: You did well - better than the average person taking this quiz. Take this quiz again and see if you can ace it.

If you got between 24 and 26 correct answers: Very good! You should be proud of yourself. You have a good understanding of basic civics in the United States.


Quiz #2: US History You Should Know (14 questions)

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. Who was the first person to sign the Declaration of Independence
    • George Washington
    • Abraham Lincoln
    • John Adams
    • John Hancock
  2. What territory did the US buy from France in 1803?
    • Texas
    • Alaska
    • The Oklahoma Territory
    • The Louisiana Territory
  3. What US president signed the Voting Rights Act which enabled African Americans to vote despite state and local laws?
    • Dwight Eisenhower
    • John F. Kennedy
    • Lyndon Johnson
    • Richard Nixon
  4. An 1823 presidential decree telling European nations not to further colonize North or South America is known as what?
    • Manifest Destiny
    • The Emancipation Proclamation
    • The Sedition Act
    • The Monroe Doctrine
  5. What well known document begins with the words “Four score and seven years ago…”?
    • The Gettysburg Address
    • The Declaration of Independence
    • The US Constitution
    • The Federalist Papers
  6. How many US Presidents have been removed from office through the impeachment process?
    • 0
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  7. What sitting President led several thousand Militiamen into western Pennsylvania to put down the Whiskey Rebellion?
    • Andrew Jackson
    • Ulysses S. Grant
    • Thomas Jefferson
    • George Washington
  8. Who was the oldest member of the Constitutional Convention?
    • George Washington
    • Benjamin Franklin
    • Thomas Jefferson
    • Alexander Hamilton
  9. What 1954 Supreme Court decision said it was unconstitutional to separate black and white students in public schools?
    • The Dred Scott Decision
    • Plessy Vs Fergusson
    • Brown Vs Board of Education
    • Roe Vs. Wade
  10. Who was the first woman Speaker of the House of Representatives?
    • Maxine Waters
    • Barbara Jordan
    • Nancy Pelosi
    • Hillary Clinton
  11. The 1966 Miranda Supreme Court decision required police to do what before questioning a crime suspect?
    • Check their identification
    • Ask them if they want to confess
    • Advise them of their Constitutional rights
    • Search their home
  12. Who was the first African American Supreme Court Justice?
    • Clarence Thomas
    • Martin Luther King
    • Barack Obama
    • Thurgood Marshall
  13. Who was the first woman nominated for Vice President by a major US political party?
    • Sarah Palin
    • Geraldine Ferraro
    • Sandra Day O'Conner
    • Condoleeza Rice
  14. What was the name of the US program to help rebuild Western Europe after World War II?
    • The Cold War
    • The Marshall Plan
    • The New Deal
    • The Great Society

Answer Key

  1. John Hancock
  2. The Louisiana Territory
  3. Lyndon Johnson
  4. The Monroe Doctrine
  5. The Gettysburg Address
  6. 0
  7. George Washington
  8. Benjamin Franklin
  9. Brown Vs Board of Education
  10. Nancy Pelosi
  11. Advise them of their Constitutional rights
  12. Thurgood Marshall
  13. Geraldine Ferraro
  14. The Marshall Plan

Interpreting Your Score

If you got between 0 and 4 correct answers: Oh my! Did you have a stroke while taking this quiz? Nobody should score this low. Please take a little time to learn about US history.

If you got between 5 and 8 correct answers: Sorry but if this was a 5th grade history test you would have failed. Please take some time to learn about US history.

If you got between 9 and 11 correct answers: Ouch! You got over half but you could stand to learn a little more US history.

If you got 12 correct answers: Very good. These history questions can be difficult but you did well.

If you got between 13 and 14 correct answers: Excellent! You did amazingly well, Congratulations.



Jo Miller from Tennessee on April 26, 2018:

Great job, Jeff. Loved taking the quizzes.

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