Americans ‘Ignorant’ of Constitution ‘Wanting to Turn to Violence’

A new survey shows huge swaths of the American public don’t know the most basic tenets of their government, and a Hillsdale College politics professor says the lack of knowledge is playing a huge role in the politics of outrage and violence, since the perpetrators have no idea how the United States is supposed to work.

Earlier this month, the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania released a survey showing a dismal comprehension of constitutional basics. A third of Americans could not name a single branch of government. Another 27 percent could only name one. Only 26 percent could list the legislative, executive and judicial branches.

When asked to name one of the freedoms enshrined in the First Amendment to the Constitution, 37 percent could not name any. Forty-eight percent did come up with freedom of speech, but when asked to name another, only 15 percent could name freedom of religion, 14 percent cited freedom of the press, 10 percent knew of the right to assembly and just 3 percent were aware of their right to petition the government to address their grievances.

Hillsdale College Politics Professor Adam Carrington says these numbers are consistent with what he’s seen in recent years.

“Polls have shown this consistently. This is not an anomaly. This is a consistent lack of knowledge of that by which we are supposed to govern ourselves. So it’s a fundamental and massive problem,” said Carrington. (Read more from “Americans ‘Ignorant’ of Constitution ‘Wanting to Turn to Violence'” HERE)

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