This weekend, Americans celebrate the Fourth of July as the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Problem is, the actual anniversary is not July 4. Most signers penned their “John Hancock” to the Declaration on August 2, 1776. The real John Hancock commented when much of the signing was complete, “Gentlemen, we must now all hang together,” to which Ben Franklin answered, “Yes, we must indeed all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.”

Franklin’s wit underscored the courage it took for those men to sign that incendiary document in Philadelphia that fateful summer. Indeed, they were now committed to independence as their signatures on that document assured an unpleasant fate should the British prevail.

There have been multiple studies conducted and almost always natural born Americans perform poorly on the U.S. Citizenship test.  Xavier University conducted one of these studies and found that one in three native-born Americans fail the civics portion of the test compared to the 97.5 percent pass rate among immigrants applying for citizenship. In order to pass, 60 percent of the 100-question test must be answered correctly.

If the pass rate were 70 percent, 50 percent of all natural born citizens would fail the test.

Want to try? Here a 15-question sample from the 100-question test. Answers are below:

1. Who is in charge of the executive branch of government?

A. the president

B. chief justice of the Supreme Court

C. the president of the senate

2. How many U.S. Senators are there?

A. 50

B. 100

C. 150

3. The president is elected for a term of how many years?

A. 2 years

B. 4 years

C. 8 years

4. If the President is unable to complete his term, who becomes President?

A. The Vice President

B. Speaker of the House

C. Senate Majority Leader

5. Who vetoes bills?

A. The President

B. Congress

C. The Senate

6. Names the two major political parties in the U.S.?

A. Liberty and Justice

B. Law and Order

C. Democrats and Republicans

7. How old do Americans have to be to vote for President?

A. 16

B. 18

C. 21

8. What ocean is on the West Coast of the United States?

A. Pacific

B. Atlantic

C. Indian

9. What is the capitol of the United States?

A. New York City

B. Boston, MA

C. Washington, D.C.

10. The idea of self government is in the first three words of the Constitution. What are these words?

A. We The People

B. Be it Resolved

C. Make No Law

11. What is the economic system in the United States?

A. socialist

B. capitalist

C. communist

12.  We elect a U.S. Senator for how many years?

A. 2

B. 4

C. 6

13. How many justices serve on the U.S. Supreme Court?

A. 7

B. 8

C. 9

14. How many amendments does the Constitution have?

A. 21

B. 26

C. 27

15. Where was the first shot fired in the American Revolution?

A. Boston, MA

B. Lexington, MA

C. Fort Ticonderoga, NY

The answers are: 1.a 2.b 3.b 4.a 5.a 6.c 7.b 8.a 9.c 10.a 11.b 12.c 13.c 14.c 15.b

Congratulations if you answered 10 questions or more correctly. If not, don’t despair, America is the land of second chances.

Have a safe and fun Fourth of July.

Mike Scogin can be reached at

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