Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The First Amendment

The McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum recently published the findings of a disturbing survey showing a general lack of knowledge among Americans regarding the five basic protections of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Only one out of every 1,000 people surveyed could name all five freedoms, whereas 22% of Americans could name all five Simpsons.

This information is quite shocking, especially during a time when so many Americans worry about losing basic constitutional rights and protections. Ironically, I’ve heard people from both sides of the political divide accuse the other of undermining American values, and yet I wonder, if so few people can actually name our basic freedoms (about 0.1%), how much of the national debate is based on a reasoned interpretation of the United States Constitution, and how much is based on emotion?

By the way, as a social studies teacher and a Simpson’s fan, I am one of a few Americans who can name all five Simpsons AND the five freedoms guaranteed in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

For review, I present the First Amendment in its entirety:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

The McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum operates a website and offers an interesting First Amendment quiz. Check it out by clicking below:
For more information on the study click below:

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