The Cracker Barrel: A civics test

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Given the bubbling cauldron of dysfunction and disagreement currently called American politics, I thought it might be interesting to examine some of the civics questions immigrants are asked when taking the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalization test.

The test contains 100 possible questions. The USCIS officer will ask an applicant up to 10 of the 100 questions, and to pass the test, the applicant must answer at least six correctly.

The test includes questions about both the American government as well as American history. I’ve chosen the following questions at random, and list them as numbered on the current naturalization test. For a complete list of all questions and their approved answers, see .

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1. What is the supreme law of the land?


2. What does the Constitution do?

3. The idea of self-government is in the first three words of the Constitution. What are these words?

5. What do we call the first ten amendments to the Constitution?

6. What is one right or freedom from the First Amendment?

7. How many amendments does the Constitution have?

12. What is the “rule of law”?

16. Who makes federal laws?

21. The House of Representatives has how many voting members?


25. Why do some states have more Representatives than other states?

35. What does the President’s Cabinet do?

36. What are two Cabinet-level positions?

37. What does the judicial branch do?

39. How many justices are on the Supreme Court?

48. There are four amendments to the Constitution about who can vote. Describe one of them.

54. How old do citizens have to be to vote for President?

58. What is one reason colonists came to America?


61. Why did the colonists fight the British?

63. When was the Declaration of Independence adopted?

64. There were 13 original states. Name three.

66. When was the Constitution written?

71. What territory did the United States buy from France in 1803?

72. Name one war fought by the United States in the 1800s.

76. What did the Emancipation Proclamation do?

77. What did Susan B. Anthony do?


78. Name one war fought by the United States in the 1900s.

83. During the Cold War, what was the main concern of the United States?

86. What major event happened on September 11, 2001, in 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.

91. Name one U.S. territory.

95. Where is the Statue of Liberty?

96. Why does the flag have 13 stripes?


97. Why does the flag have 50 stars?

100. Name two national U.S. holidays.

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Craig Nagel, Columnist

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