NORTH SMITHFIELD, R.I. - Should U.S. high school students know at least as much about the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Federalist papers as immigrants passing an American citizenship test?

In a growing number of states, having such a basic knowledge is now a high school graduation requirement.

Kentucky last week became the latest state to require the high school social studies curriculum to teach the same material used in the 100 civics questions on the naturalization test.

Other civics education boosters say such a mandate is too simplistic. They say it's better to have a full course delving into the founding U.S. documents.

Rhode Island and Minnesota are among the states where lawmakers are considering requiring a course on American government and civics. It's been a bipartisan cause.

Can you pass the test? Try it for yourself:


1. What does the Constitution do?

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

3. What is an amendment?

4. What do we call the first 10 amendments to the Constitution?

5. How many amendments does the Constitution have?

6. What are two rights in the Declaration of Independence?

7. Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the federal government. What is one power of the federal government?

8. The Federalist Papers supported the passage of the Constitution. Name one of the writers.

9. There are four amendments to the Constitution about who can vote. Describe one of them.

10. What is one right or freedom from the First Amendment?


1. Sets up the government, defines the government and protects basic rights of Americans

2. We the People

3. A change or an addition to the Constitution

4. The Bill of Rights

5. 27

6. Life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness

7. To print money, to declare war, to create an army or to make treaties

8. James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay (under the collective pseudonym Publius)

9. Citizens 18 and older can vote; you don't have to pay to vote; any citizen can vote, a male citizen of any race can vote

10. Speech, religion, assembly, press, petition the government

Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services