Less than half of Americans can name the three branches of the federal government — executive, legislative and judicial — according to an annual survey of civics knowledge conducted for Saturday’s Constitution Day holiday.
Respondents to the Annenberg Public Policy Center’s survey also had little understanding of the impact of a Supreme Court ruling and few could enumerate the freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment.
“My impression is that even in prestigious universities, maybe 30% of all students could pass the civics test required of incoming immigrants,” said Joseph Ellis, a Pulitzer Prize-winning constitutional historian.
Mr. Ellis, who taught history for 45 years, told The Washington Times that the study confirms his experience that today’s college graduates “don’t know anything that happened before they were born.”
“The ignorance of American history is one of the reasons this generation is so vulnerable to conspiracy theories from both the right and the left,” he said.
Only 47% of the 1,113 adults surveyed by telephone from Aug. 2-13 could name the three branches of the federal government.
That’s down from 56% who could identify…