SB1070 (Arizona) has focused attention again on a need for a thoughtful comprehensive immigration bill. So I thought it would be fun to see how you would do on a citizenship test if you were in the position to take such a test in 2010. I wonder if any of this stuff is taught in civics classes anymore or if we even have civics classes in our schools. I think too often we ASS-sume our kids know the fundamentals. Like putting on a condom. How hard (pardon the pun) can it be and yet there are directions on the condom package. The test is fun and no one but you will know how you did unless you choose to reply and let us all know. I’m not sure what the cut-off grade would be, but I’m sure all true Americans can answer these questions. The newer test is a bit more involved but I know you can do it, you were born here and that should count for something. 700,000 people a year become citizens of this country because they want to, have followed the rules and have passed the citizenship test. I wonder if they don’t also know a little more than we the 14th-Amendment-guaranteed-citizens-by-birth do about the history and the politics of this country. That’s just a speculation. Do you have a little free time and want to take up the challenge? Go for it!
Current USCIS Test Questions
(Click on the question to see the answer.)
A. Principles of American Democracy
B. System of Government
C: Rights and Responsibilities
A: Colonial Period and Independence
C: Recent American History and Other Important Historical Information
So….how did you do? Can we swear you in now?
1. What is the supreme law of the land?
2. What does the Constitution do?
A: sets up the government
A: defines the government
A: protects basic rights of Americans
4. What is an Amendment?
A: a change (to the Constitution)
A: an addition (to the Constitution)
6. What is one right or freedom from the First Amendment?
A: petition the government
7. How many amendments does the Constitution have?
A: twenty-seven (27)
8. What did the Declaration of Independence do?
A: announced our independence (from Great Britain)
A: declared our independence (from Great Britain)
A: said that the United States is free (from Great Britain)
9. What are two rights in the Declaration of Independence?
A: pursuit of happiness
10. What is freedom of religion?
A: You can practice any religion, or not practice a religion.
11. What is the economic system in the United States?
A: capitalist economy
A: market economy
12. What is the “rule of law”?
A: Everyone must follow the law.
A: Leaders must obey the law.
A: Government must obey the law.
A: No one is above the law.
18. How many U.S. Senators are there?
A: one hundred (100)
19. We elect a U.S. Senator for how many years?
A: six (6)
20. Who is one of your state’s U.S. Senators?
A: Answers will vary. [For District of Columbia residents and residents of U.S. territories, the answer is that D.C. (or the territory where the applicant lives) has no U.S. Senators.]
21. The House of Representatives has how many voting members?
A: four hundred thirty-five (435)
22. We elect a U.S. Representative for how many years?
A: two (2)
23. Name your U.S. Representative
A: Answers will vary. [Residents of territories with nonvoting Delegates or resident Commissioners may provide the name of that Delegate or Commissioner. Also acceptable is any statement that the territory has no (voting) Representatives in Congress.]
24. Who does a U.S. Senator represent?
A: all people of the state
25. Why do some states have more Representatives than other states?
A: (because of) the state’s population
A: (because) they have more people
A: (because) some states have more people
26. We elect a President for how many years?
A: four (4)
27. In what month do we vote for President?
28. What is the name of the President of the United States now?
A: Barack Obama
29. What is the name of the Vice-President of the United States now?
A: Joe Biden
30. If the President can no longer serve, who becomes President?
A: the Vice President
32. Who is the Commander in Chief of the military?
A: the President
33. Who signs bills to become laws?
A: the President
34. Who vetoes bills?
A: the President
35. What does the President’s Cabinet do?
A: advises the President
36. What are two Cabinet-level positions?
A: Secretary of Agriculture
A: Secretary of Commerce
A: Secretary of Defense
A: Secretary of Education
A: Secretary of Energy
A: Secretary of Health and Human Services
A: Secretary of Homeland Security
A: Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
A: Secretary of Interior
A: Secretary of State
A: Secretary of Transportation
A: Secretary of Treasury
A: Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs
A: Secretary of Labor
A: Attorney General
37. What does the judicial branch do?
A: reviews laws
A: explains laws
A: resolves disputes (disagreements)
A: decides if a law goes against the Constitution
39. How many justices are on the Supreme Court?
A: nine (9)
41. Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the federal government. What is one power of the federal government?
A: to print money
A: to declare war
A: to create an army
A: to make treaties
42. Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the states. What is one power of the states?
A: provide schooling and education
A: provide protection (police)
A: provide safety (fire departments)
A: give a driver’s license
A: approve zoning and land use
43. Who is the Governor of your state?
A: Answers will vary. [Residents of the District of Columbia and U.S. territories without a Governor should say “we don’t have a Governor.”]
44. What is the capital of your state?
A: Answers will vary. [District of Columbia residents should answer that D.C. is not a state and does not have a capital. Residents of U.S. territories should name the capital of the territory.]
45. What are the two major political parties in the United States?
A: Democratic and Republican
46. What is the political party of the President now?
47. What is the name of the Speaker of the House of Representatives now?
A: (Nancy) Pelosi
48. There are four amendments to the Constitution about who can vote. Describe one of them.
A: Citizens eighteen (18) and older (can vote).
A: You don’t have to pay (a poll tax) to vote.
A: Any citizen can vote. (Women and men can vote.)
A: A male citizen of any race (can vote).
49. What is one responsibility that is only for United States citizens?
A: serve on a jury
50. What are two rights only for United States citizens?
A: apply for a federal job
A: run for office
A: carry a U.S. passport
51. What are two rights of everyone living in the United States?
A: freedom of expression
A: freedom of speech
A: freedom of assembly
A: freedom to petition the government
A: freedom of worship
A: the right to bear arms
52. What do we show loyalty to when we say the Pledge of Allegiance?
A: the United States
A: the flag
53. What is one promise you make when you become a United States citizen?
A: give up loyalty to other countries
A: defend the Constitution and laws of the United States
A: obey the laws of the United States
A: serve in the U.S. military (if needed)
A: serve (do important work for) the nation (if needed)
A: be loyal to the United States
54. How old do citizens have to be to vote for President?
A: eighteen (18) and older
55. What are two ways that Americans can participate in their democracy?
A: join a political party
A: help with a campaign
A: join a civic group
A: join a community group
A: give an elected official your opinion on an issue
A: call Senators and Representatives
A: publicly support or oppose an issue or policy
A: run for office
A: write to a newspaper
57. When must all men register for the Selective Service?
A: at age eighteen (18)
A: between eighteen (18) and twenty-six (26)
58. What is one reason colonists came to America?
A: political liberty
A: religious freedom
A: economic opportunity
A: practice their religion
A: escape persecution
59. Who lived in America before the Europeans arrived?
A: Native Americans
A: American Indians
60. What group of people was taken to America and sold as slaves?
A: people from Africa
61. Why did the colonists fight the British?
A: because of high taxes (taxation without representation)
A: because the British army stayed in their houses (boarding, quartering)
A: because they didn’t have self-government
62. Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?
A: (Thomas) Jefferson
63. When was the Declaration of Independence adopted?
A: July 4, 1776
64. There were 13 original states. Name three.
A: New Hampshire
A: Rhode Island
A: New York
A: New Jersey
A: North Carolina
A: South Carolina
66. When was the Constitution written?
67. The Federalist Papers supported the passage of the U.S. Constitution. Name one of the writers.
A: (James) Madison
A: (Alexander) Hamilton
A: (John) Jay
68. What is one thing Benjamin Franklin is famous for?
A: U.S. diplomat
A: oldest member of the Constitutional Convention
A: first Postmaster General of the United States
A: writer of “Poor Richard’s Almanac”
A: started the first free libraries
71. What territory did the United States buy from France in 1803?
A: the Louisiana Territory
72. Name one war fought by the United States in the 1800s.
A: War of 1812
A: Mexican-American War
A: Civil War
A: Spanish-American War
73. Name the U.S. war between the North and the South.
A: the Civil War
A: the War between the States
74. Name one problem that led to the Civil War
A: economic reasons
A: states’ rights
75. What was one important thing that Abraham Lincoln did?
A: freed the slaves (Emancipation Proclamation)
A: saved (or preserved) the Union
A: led the United States during the Civil War
76. What did the Emancipation Proclamation do?
A: freed the slaves
A: freed slaves in the Confederacy
A: freed slaves in the Confederate states
A: freed slaves in most Southern states
77. What did Susan B. Anthony do?
A: fought for women’s rights
A: fought for civil rights
78. Name one war fought by the United States in the 1900s.
A: World War I
A: World War II
A: Korean War
A: Vietnam War
A: (Persian) Gulf War
79. Who was President during World War I?
A: (Woodrow) Wilson
80. Who was President during the Great Depression and World War II?
A: (Franklin) Roosevelt
81. Who did the United States fight in World War II?
A: Japan, Germany and Italy
82. Before he was President, Eisenhower was a general. What war was he in?
A: World War II
84. What movement tried to end racial discrimination?
A: civil rights (movement).
85. What did Martin Luther King, Jr. do?
A: fought for civil rights
A: worked for equality for all Americans
86. What major event happened on September 11, 2001 in the United States?
A: Terrorists attacked the United States.
87. Name one American Indian tribe in the United States.
88. Name one of the two longest rivers in the United States.
A: Missouri (River)
A: Mississippi (River)
89. What ocean is on the West Coast of the United States?
A: Pacific (Ocean)
90. What ocean is on the East Coast of the United States?
A: Atlantic (Ocean)
91. Name one U.S. territory.
A: Puerto Rico
A: U.S. Virgin Islands
A: American Samoa
A: Northern Mariana Islands
92. Name one state that borders Canada.
A: New Hampshire
A: New York
A: North Dakota
93. Name one state that borders Mexico.
A: New Mexico
94. What is the capital of the United States?
A: Washington, D.C.
95. Where is the Statue of Liberty?
A: New York (Harbor)
A: Liberty Island
[Also acceptable are New Jersey, near New York City, and on the Hudson (River).]
96. Why does the flag have 13 stripes?
A: because there were 13 original colonies
A: because the stripes represent the original colonies
97. Why does the flag have 50 stars?
A: because there is one star for each state
A: because each star represents a state
A: because there are 50 states
98. What is the name of the national anthem?
A: The Star-Spangled Banner
99. When do we celebrate Independence Day?
A: July 4
100. Name two national U.S. holidays.
A: New Year’s Day
A: Martin Luther King, Jr., Day
A: Presidents’ Day
A: Memorial Day
A: Independence Day
A: Labor Day
A: Columbus Day
A: Veterans Day