In 2008, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute found that 71 percent of Americans from varied educational backgrounds failed an American history and institutes test.
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Ridenour encouraged citizens to know their history and stay abreast of current events in the government.
“My favorite (Thomas) Jefferson quote is, ‘Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty,’” said Ridenour, who taught American History for 30 years.
He explained that Jefferson was not necessarily referring to foreign threats to American liberty, but also to internal threats.
“(Jefferson) was saying you have to be vigilant in all areas of society,” he said, “That quote is as good a reason as any to pay attention to what’s going on.”
In our informal poll on American civics and history, participants were asked the following questions:
1. Can you name five of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence?
2. What is the Bill of Rights? Can you name one of the first 10 amendments?
3. The Constitution was drafted to replace what document?
4. Name the branches of the federal government?
5. What form of government did the Constitution establish?
6. Can you name your state delegate? State senator?
1. Find the entire list of 56 signers at www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html
2. For a list of the Bill of Rights, go to http://topics.law.cornell.edu/constitution/billofrights
3. The Articles of Confederation
4. Executive, Legislative, Judicial
5. A constitutional republic
6. Readers can find their legislators here:
• For Maryland, go to www.msa.md.gov/msa/mdmanual/06hse/html/hse.html
• For Pennsylavania, go to www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/member_information/representatives_alpha.cfm?papowerPNavCtr=
• For West Virginia, go to www.legis.state.wv.us/districts/maps/hse_dist.cfm