One of the many things that is difficult to understand is Americans’ dumbness in American history. This has been a growing situation as America ages. It has reached the point that a new approach to teaching history should be considered. We don’t know the answer to unlock minds regarding American history.
Polls and surveys have given proof to the dumbness in regard to American history. A poll just out by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation showed that only one out of three Americans know enough of our nation’s history to pass a multiple choice test for citizenship. That means only 36 percent of Americans could pass the U.S. citizenship test.
Only 13 percent of Americans surveyed knew when the U.S. Constitution was ratified, with most of the people surveyed thinking it occurred in 1776. It was ratified in 1788.
ore than half of the respondents, 60 percent, didn’t know which countries the United States fought in World War II. The Supreme Court has been in the daily news lately. Yet only 57 percent knew that nine justices make up the court.
Only 24 percent knew the correct answer as to why the U.S. colonists fought the British. Twelve percent thought Gen. Dwight Eisenhower led troops in the Civil War, 6 percent thought he was a Vietnam War general, and while most knew the cause of the Cold War, 2 percent said climate change.
hat reminds this editor of when serving on our Congressional District interview team for service academy applicants and the question was asked, “Which famous generals came from Missouri?” One applicant said Harry Truman was one of them. The applicant was told Truman only reached the rank of captain. An applicant from Franklin County didn’t know who won World War II.
Woodrow Wilson Foundation President Arthur Levine said, “Unfortunately, this study found the average citizen to be woefully uninformed regarding America’s history and incapable of passing the U.S. Citizenship Test. It would be an error to view these findings as merely an embarrassment. Knowledge of the history of our country is fundamental to maintaining a democratic society, which is imperiled today.”
Levine added, “Americans need to understand the past in order to make sense of a chaotic present and inchoate future.”
The poll showed that Americans 65 and older scored the best. For those under the age of 45, only 19 percent passed the exam, with 81 percent scoring a 59 percent or lower. A score of 60 was the passing mark.
In early 2019, the foundation will announce a new program designed to change the way history is taught and learned.
Something has to be done!