In 2019, over 35,000 Americans from every state in the Union took a 50-question quiz about the U.S. Constitution. Unfortunately, most of them failed to answer basic and fundamental questions about that founding document and supreme law of the land, according to ConstitutionFacts.com.
Here are five questions from the quiz most Americans (over 60%) couldn’t answer:
Question No. 34: “Which Article of the Constitution lists the primary powers of Congress?”
Answer: The correct answer is “Article I,” which describes the Legislative Branch, including both houses of Congress and all of their powers.
Question No. 9: “What kind of laws can Congress make?”
Answer: “Any laws that are necessary and proper for executing the powers of the federal government.” (Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution)
Question No. 32: “What is the so-called ‘supremacy clause’ of the Constitution, which establishes the superiority of federal laws over conflicting state or local laws?”
Answer: The Supremacy Clause is the common name given to Article VI, Section 2, of the U.S. Constitution. It declares that the “Constitution, and the Laws of the United States … shall be the supreme Law of the Land.”
Question No. 39: “How many Supreme Court justices are required by the Constitution?”
Answer: The Constitution does not establish the number of Supreme Court justices. Instead, the Constitution gives Congress the power to determine the number of justices.
Question No. 50: “How many votes are required to pass a Constitutional Amendment?”
Answer: Three quarters of the states must approve a Constitutional Amendment. Three quarters of 50 states is 37.5, so 37 states cannot approve an Amendment, but 38 can.
The above poll and answers remind us why it’s so critical to appoint freedom-loving, law-abiding, Constitution-obeying U.S. representatives. It also reminds us why it’s so important that every American and their posterity be educated in the U.S. Constitution in order to hold Congress’ feet to the fire to obey it and not exceed the powers delegated to them.
If you’re looking for a place to start your family’s education about the U.S. Constitution, this very week holds a historical gem to share with them about its very origin and creation. Actually, 234 years ago this week, we saw the genesis of the United States Constitution.
On May 25, 1787, just four years after the U.S. obtained its independence from England by the signing of the Treaty of Paris, 55 state delegates from every state except Rhode Island convened in Philadelphia to compose a new U.S. Constitution. The delegates included George Washington, James Madison and Benjamin Franklin, to name a few. This gathering is what is known as the Constitutional Convention, which met in the Pennsylvania State House, now known as Independence Hall.
History.com summarizes well the backstory to the Constitutional Convention:
The Articles of Confederation, ratified several months before the British surrender at Yorktown in 1781, provided for a loose confederation of U.S. states, which were sovereign in most of their affairs. On paper, Congress – the central authority – had the power to govern foreign affairs, conduct war, and regulate currency, but in practice these powers were sharply limited because Congress was given no authority to enforce its requests to the states for money or troops. By 1786, it was apparent that the Union would soon break up if the Articles of Confederation were not amended or replaced. Five states met in Annapolis, Maryland, to discuss the issue, and all the states were invited to send delegates to a new constitutional convention to be held in Philadelphia.
During three months of debate, the delegates devised a brilliant federal system characterized by an intricate system of checks and balances. The convention was divided over the issue of state representation in Congress, as more populated states sought proportional legislation, and smaller states wanted equal representation. The problem was resolved by the Connecticut Compromise, which proposed a bicameral legislature with proportional representation in the lower house (House of Representatives) and equal representation of the states in the upper house (Senate).
On Sept. 17, 1787, 38 of the 41 delegates present at the conclusion of the convention signed the new Constitution of the United States of America. It would take a few months to obtain its needed ratification by nine of the 13 states. On Sept. 25, 1789, the first Congress of the United States adopted 12 amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Ten of them – known as the Bill of Rights – were ratified by the states in 1791.
On May 29, 1790, Rhode Island became the last of the original 13 colonies to join the United States by only two votes.
Dr. Richard R. Beeman, Ph.D., professor of history and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, said that Benjamin Franklin, “ever the optimist even at the age of 81, said at the end of the Convention that he believed that the Constitution they had just drafted, “with all its faults,” was better than any alternative that was likely to emerge.
Franklin was right. The U.S. Constitution remains today the oldest written national constitution in operation in any country in the world. That’s just not genius but providential.
But how can our U.S. Constitution remain No. 1 or even alive if most Americans fail at reiterating its tenets? What priority will it have if more and more citizens become constitutionally illiterate? How can our children and children’s children elevate that supreme law of the land if progressive and leftist public education avoids teaching about that founding document and simultaneously raises the value of socialism and even communism over capitalism and a republican government?
Professor Beeman hit the nail on the proverbial head: “If there is a lesson in all of this it is that our Constitution is neither a self-actuating nor a self-correcting document. It requires the constant attention and devotion of all citizens. There is a story, often told, that upon exiting the Constitutional Convention Benjamin Franklin was approached by a group of citizens asking what sort of government the delegates had created. His answer was: ‘A republic, if you can keep it.’ The brevity of that response should not cause us to under-value its essential meaning: democratic republics are not merely founded upon the consent of the people; they are also absolutely dependent upon the active and informed involvement of the people for their continued good health.”
(For further help and education on the U.S. Constitution, I highly recommend your family obtain the resources and training materials of former Texas legislator Rick Green, America’s Constitutional Coach and the founder of the Patriot Academy and the co-host of Wall Builders Live national radio/Internet programs with historian David Barton.)
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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.