A number of conservative scholars and legislators think it’s time for the American people to get serious about the Constitution.
Dr. Richard Brake of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute has been conducting a civic literacy program for several years. That national initiative is designed to assess the level of civic learning on today’s college campuses. His findings raise serious red flags. The ISI gave a basic multiple-choice civics test to 14,000 freshmen and 14,000 seniors from over 80 schools. Combined with that test and testing of the nation’s adult population, Brake says there is serious epidemic of civic ignorance, particularly when it comes to topics like the U.S. Constitution.
Surveyed college seniors/graduates received a failing grade when attempting to answer multiple choice questions on the following constitutional topics: federalism (44 percent), judicial review (42 percent), congressional powers (29 percent), women’s suffrage (58 percent), representative democracy (58 percent), the establishment clause (48 percent), The Federalist Papers (50 percent), and the Anti-Federalists (44 percent). And they only earned a “D” on these fundamental issues: the three branches of government (64 percent), the war power (62 percent), and federal foreign policymaking (68 percent).
So how good is your basic knowledge of the Constitution? Every American should take a few minutes and take the ten-question “What’s Your Constitution IQ” quiz at ConstitutionFacts.com. Or if you are really brave, try the fifty-question expert quiz.
The odds are most Off the Grid readers will soon realize they could use a refresher course on the document most of us consider essential to the future of this country. To help educate Americans, Hillsdale College is offering a free ten-week course to anyone who wants to get to know our founding document better.
The online course is called “Constitution 101: The Meaning and History of the Constitution.” Featuring an expanded format from the “Introduction to the Constitution” lecture series with Hillsdale College President Dr. Larry Arnn, Constitution 101 follows closely the one-semester course required of all Hillsdale College undergraduate students.
In this course, you can:
- watch lectures from the same Hillsdale faculty who teach on campus
- study the same readings taught in the college course
- submit questions for weekly Q&A sessions with the faculty
- access a course study guide
- test your knowledge through weekly quizzes
- upon completion of the course, receive a certificate from Hillsdale College
February 20 – Introduction: The American Mind (Larry P. Arnn)
February 27 – The Declaration of Independence (Thomas G. West)
March 5 – The Problem of Majority Tyranny (David Bobb)
March 12 – Separation of Powers: Preventing Tyranny (Kevin Portteus)
March 19 – Separation of Powers: Ensuring Good Government (Will Morrisey)
March 26 – Religion, Morality, and Property (David Bobb)
April 2 – Crisis of Constitutional Government (Will Morrisey)
April 9 – Abraham Lincoln and the Constitution (Kevin Portteus)
April 16 – The Progressive Rejection of the Founding (Ronald J. Pestritto)
April 23 – The Recovery of the Constitution (Larry P. Arnn)
“The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government – lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.” – Patrick Henry
“The liberties of our country, the freedoms of our civil Constitution are worth defending at all hazards; it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors. They purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood. It will bring a mark of everlasting infamy on the present generation – enlightened as it is – if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or to be cheated out of them by the artifices of designing men.” – Samuel Adams
“From Watergate we learned what generations before us have known; our Constitution works. And during Watergate years it was interpreted again so as to reaffirm that no one – absolutely no one – is above the law.” – Leon Jaworski
©2012 Off the Grid News