Can You Pass the United States Citizenship Test?
The official U.S. Citizenship test features ten civics questions from a list of 100 potential ones. See how you do at the 15 below. (Note: the official test is NOT multiple choice.)
1. What was one important thing that Abraham Lincoln did?
A: Purchased Alaska
B: Declared war on Great Britain
C: Established the United Nations
D: Saved the Union
Answer: D. Saved the Union
As United States president from 1861 to 1865, Abraham Lincoln led the country during the Civil War, when America was divided between the Northern states (the Union) and Southern states (the Confederacy). On January 1, 1863, President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which abolished slavery in the Southern states that had seceded from the Union. While it didn’t end slavery in the country—that wouldn’t happen until the 13th amendment was ratified on December 6, 1865—”it captured the hearts and imagination of millions of Americans and fundamentally transformed the character of the war,” per the National Archives. Significantly, it also allowed free African-Americans to enlist in the military for the first time, further strengthening the Union against a weak Confederacy.
2. What are two rights of every U.S. citizen?
A: Freedom of speech and freedom of religion
B: Freedom of religion and freedom to make treaties with other countries
C: Freedom to petition the government and freedom to disobey traffic laws
D: Freedom of speech and freedom to run for president
Answer: A. Freedom of speech and freedom of religion
While those with lead feet might wish the correct answer was “C,” it is in fact A. The rights to freedom of speech and freedom of religion are spelled out in the First Amendment, which states: “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.” Even though the government can’t deny your freedom of speech or religion, it does have the power to do these 14 bizarre things.
3. How many years is one presidential term?
A: 4 years
B: 2 years
C: 8 years
D: 3 years
Answer: A. 4 years
After President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected to four consecutive terms (he served as president from 1933 until his death in 1945), the 22nd Amendment that limits presidents to two terms (consecutive or not) was ratified in 1951. An election for president of the United States happens every four years on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. The next presidential election will be November 3, 2020. These presidential “facts” simply aren’t true.
4. Why does the flag have 50 stars?
A. Because there were 50 original colonies
B. Because there is one star for each president
C. Because there is one star for each state
D. Because there were 50 people who originally came to the United States
Answer: C. Because there is one star for each state
After initial independence from Great Britain, the United States had only 13 states. Today we have 50 states, so the flag has 50 stars. Check out some of the more surprising places you’ll find the American flag.
5. What did the Declaration of Independence do?
A: Gave women the right to vote
B: Declared our independence from Great Britain
C: Declared our independence from France
D: Freed the slaves
Answer: B. Declared our independence from Great Britain
The first sentence of the famed document explains its primary purpose: “to declare the causes which impel them to the separation.” A list of 27 complaints against King George III follows and serves as the proof of colonists’ right to rebellion.
6. Which state borders Canada?
B: South Dakota
C: Rhode Island
Answer: A. Maine
There are 13 states that border Canada: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Alaska. The U.S. border has not changed since 1846. Even natural-born American citizens get these U.S. state facts wrong.
7. Who did the U.S. fight in World War II?
A: The Soviet Union, Germany, and Italy
B: Japan, China, and Vietnam
C: Austria-Hungary, Japan, and Germany
D: Japan, Germany, and Italy
Answer: D. Japan, Germany, and Italy
The United States fought Germany, Italy, and Japan during World War II. The United States entered World War II after Japan bombed the United States at Pearl Harbor in 1941. Japan was an ally of Germany and Italy, which together formed the “Axis powers.”
8. We elect a U.S. Senator for how many years?
Answer: D. 6
We elect U.S. senators for six years, but, unlike the president, they can run for as many terms as they want. The Constitution says that the Senate should be comprised of two senators from each state and that a senator must be at least 30 years of age, have been a citizen of the United States for nine years, and, when elected, be a resident of the State from which he or she is chosen.
9. What did Susan B. Anthony do?
A: She was the first woman elected to the House of Representatives
B: She made the first flag of the United States
C: She fought for women’s rights
D: She founded the Red Cross
Answer: C. She fought for women’s rights
Susan B. Anthony was an important leader in the women’s rights movement and also advocated for the abolition of slavery. Susan B. Anthony died in 1906, not long enough to witness the 19th Amendment, which is named in her honor and gives women the right to vote, added to the Constitution in 1920. But just because she wasn’t alive when women could legally vote doesn’t mean she never did. Find out more about that along with 12 other facts you never knew about Susan B. Anthony.
10. When was the Declaration of Independence adopted?
A: March 4, 1789
B: July 4, 1789
C: July 4, 1776
D: December 7, 1787
Answer: C. July 4, 1776
Although the colonists adopted the Declaration of Independence, establishing the United States as an independent country, separate from Britain on that day, it was not actually fully signed by all the states’ representatives until August 2 of that year. That’s just one of 20 facts you probably never knew about the history of the Declaration of Independence.
11. How many amendments to the Constitution are there?
Answer: C. 27
There have been 27 amendments, which are changes or updates, made to the Constitution. Congress added the first ten amendments, known as the Bill of Rights, in 1791. The 27th Amendment, ratified in 1992, forbids Congress from giving themselves pay raises during their current term.
12: What is the name of the national anthem?
A: America the Beautiful
B: My Country Tis of Thee
C: The Star-Spangled Banner
D: God Bless America
Answer: C. The Star-Spangled Banner
The powerful anthem was written by Francis Scott Key during the War of 1812 when the United States was fighting the British. Key, a lawyer, was inspired to write the words after the British attacked Baltimore’s Fort McHenry. He witnessed the U.S. soldier raise the large flag and wrote to honor the “broad stripes and bright stars.”
13. Why did the colonists fight the British?
A: Because of high taxes
B: Because they didn’t have self-government
C: Because the British army stayed in their houses
D: All of the above
Answer: D. All of the above
The colonists rebelled against the British to get relief from unfair taxes; they craved independent rule, free from the British government; and they did not want to be forced to house and feed British soldiers (a stipulation that became part of the Third Amendment.) While you no doubt learned about the Declaration of Independence in school, your history teacher probably omitted these 15 other fascinating facts about America.
14. What do we call the first ten amendments to the Constitution?
A: The Declaration of Independence
B: The Articles of Confederation
C: The Bill of Rights
D: The Inalienable Rights
Answer: C. The Bill of Rights
The first ten amendments to the Constitution are called the Bill of Rights and were officially added in 1791, four years after members of the Constitutional Convention wrote the Constitution.
15: What are two Cabinet-level positions?
A: Secretary of Health and Human Services and Secretary of the Navy
B: Secretary of State and Secretary of Labor
C: Secretary of the Interior and Secretary of History
D: Secretary of Weather and Secretary of Energy
Answer: B. Secretary of State and Secretary of Labor
Daniel J. Macy/Shutterstock
The Cabinet, which has its Constitutional basis in Article 2, Section 2 of the Constitution, includes the positions of Secretary of State and the Secretary of Labor. The Secretary of State works with other countries around the world to manage the president’s foreign policies. The Secretary of Labor manages working conditions, wages, and unemployment benefits and advises the president on employment issues. Think you’re a pro now? Test your knowledge of the Declaration of Independence next.