America the Baffled: One in Four Americans Doesn’t Know The Country From Which We Broke Free

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An Independence Day parade in Atlanta.

Why are we celebrating again? Turns out that’s a question many Americans can’t answer.

Put away your books and take out a sheet of paper. We’re going to have a quick history quiz.

  • From which nation did the U.S. declare independence?
  • In what year did we declare our independence?

Easy questions, right? Not for some Americans. A Marist Poll points out that, as we celebrate the Fourth of July with fireworks and barbecues, some Americans may be blindly taking part in the festivities. The poll shows that only 76% of Americans know that the U.S. declared its independence from Great Britain. And an even smaller number knows when. Only 58% could point out that the year of our nation’s freedom was announced in 1776.

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Older Americans were more likely to give correct answers, as were men when compared to women. A paltry 31% of adults under 30 correctly identified 1776 as the year of our independence. As for declaring our independence from Great Britain, as a population we scored slightly better, but only 67% of those under 30 gave the correct answer. And who were the 5% who mentioned another country? What could they possibly have guessed?

As we ridicule politicians for their history gaffes, an unfathomable number of the rest of us, according to Marist, doesn’t even know the basic facts about our nation. School may be out for summer, but it appears many Americans could benefit from a bit more time in history class.

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