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									The American Revolution.
Who Cares?
Americans are yearning to learn, failing to know.
About The American Revolution Center




T    he American Revolution Center (ARC), a non-partisan, not-for-
     profit organization, will establish The Museum of the American
Revolution—the first national museum to commemorate the entire
story of the American Revolution—in historic Philadelphia. The
Museum will also serve as a living memorial to the Revolutionary
generation and will tell, through its exhibitions and education center,
the story of those who served and sacrificed to establish the liberties
enshrined in our Founding documents. The Museum will showcase
the Center’s distinguished collection of Revolution-era objects,
artifacts, and manuscripts.




            www.AmericanRevolutionCenter.org
The American
Revolution.
Who Cares?
Americans are yearning to learn, failing to know.




About the Survey
In July 2009, The American Revolution Center                                                  student knowledge in various subjects, including
commissioned a survey of adult knowledge of the                                               U.S. history. The survey also included a question
American Revolution and the Founding of the                                                   on Constitutional rights that has been asked of
United States. The survey determined how much                                                 American adults and tracked for the last 10 years
Americans value knowledge of the American                                                     in other national surveys. In general, the Survey
Revolution and their interest in learning more about                                          questions varied in difficulty, but most were
the subject. Respondents were asked to give them-                                             designed to assess basic knowledge of the American
selves a “letter grade” based on their understanding                                          Revolution and its enduring legacy.
of the history and ideals of the American Revolution.
They were then given a test of 27 multiple-choice                                             At the end of the survey, several contemporary
questions to gauge their actual knowledge of key                                              questions were asked in an attempt to understand
documents, events, people, and ideas from the                                                 the magnitude of difference between knowledge
Founding period.                                                                              of popular culture and knowledge of our nation’s
                                                                                              Founding history and principles.
The survey was developed under the guidance
of several distinguished scholars and notable                                                 The survey was conducted using telephone
authorities on the American Revolution. (For                                                  interviews of a random sample of 1,001 U.S. general
information on these experts, see the inside back                                             population respondents. These included adults aged
cover). A few of the interview questions were taken                                           18 and older, male and female, and from all regions
from the National Assessment of Educational                                                   of the United States. Survey respondents spanned
Progress (NAEP), a test administered by the U.S.                                              various income levels, education, and political
Department of Education to students in grades 4,                                              affiliations. The survey considered all methodological
8, and 12. NAEP was last conducted in 2006 and                                                requirements and resulted in a sampling error
is the only nationally representative assessment of                                           estimated at +/- four percent.


3 •   The American Revolution. Who Cares? Americans are yearning to learn, failing to know.
                                                                                              This survey provides stark evidence that American
                                                                                              citizens of the 21st century are increasingly—
                                                                                              sadly, deplorably—ignorant of their legacy, their
                                                                                              political and constitutional birthright of the l8th
                                                                                              century. It is the mission of the American Revolu-
                                                                                              tion Center to remind, engage, educate, and finally,
                                                                                              inspire succeeding generations through the priceless
                                                                                              legacy bequeathed to them by our forefathers. The
                                                                                              American Revolution Center is the most exciting
                                                                                              and most promising national initiative on behalf of
                                                                                              educating citizens about the Founding and founda-
                                                                                              tion of our nation, and about the revolution itself,
                                                                                              in a generation.

                                                                                              Josiah Bunting
                                                                                              Chairman, National Civic Literacy Board




                                                                                              The crucial period surrounding the American
                                                                                              Revolution set the stage for the creation of the
                                                                                              institutions that form our nationhood. Yet as this
                                                                                              survey reveals, too few people know all they should
                                                                                              know in order to fully understand and appreciate
                                                                                              the contributions of the men and women of that
                                                                                              period. The American Revolution Center will bring
                                                                                              the Founding generation alive in a way that today’s
                                                                                              citizens and visitors, especially young people, will
                                                                                              find accessible and dynamic, in order to address
                                                                                              this crisis of knowledge. The museum will be a
                                                                                              great addition to our history and our heritage.


                                                                                              Cokie Roberts
                                                                                              Author of Founding Mothers and Ladies of Liberty




                                                                                              With change accelerating all around, more and
                                                                                              more we need understanding and appreciation
                                                                                              of those principles upon which the republic was
                                                                                              founded. What were those ‘self-evident’ truths that
                                                                                              so many risked all for, fought for, suffered and died
                                                                                              for? What was the source of their courage? I don’t
“George Washington”: Sculpted by                                                              think we can ever know enough about them.
Philadelphian William Rush in 1817,
this bust was thought to be ‘the most
perfect likeness’ of our first president.
                                                                                              David McCullough
From the Collection of The American
                                                                                              Founder, American Revolution Center Board of Scholars
Revolution Center.


4 •   The American Revolution. Who Cares? Americans are yearning to learn, failing to know.
Preface
The American Revolution. Who cares?                                                           And yet, because democracy needs to be learned
                                                                                              by each generation, we are in danger of losing the
This nationwide survey of American adults                                                     precious gift of self-governance that our Founding
revealed that nearly every one of us cares about                                              generation bequeathed to us. As careful students of
the American Revolution. More than nine in 10                                                 history, our nation’s Founders knew that republics
Americans agreed that it is important for us to                                               were fragile and that government “of the people, by
know the history of and principles forged during                                              the people, and for the people” would not endure
America’s War for Independence. This belief is                                                without an informed citizenry. “If a nation expects
shared by Americans across all demographic cat-                                               to be ignorant and free,” Thomas Jefferson warned,
egories and political affiliations. Yet when tested                                           “it expects what never was and never will be.”
on basic knowledge of the American Revolution and
our Founding documents, 83 percent of Americans                                               Today, perhaps more than ever, understanding the
scored an average of 44 percent. We are failing our                                           Founding values and principles born of the Ameri-
Founders.                                                                                     can Revolution is critical to defending our liberties
                                                                                              and preserving our system of self-government. Our
The struggles and sacrifices of the Revolutionary                                             society, our very existence as a free people, rests on
generation gave birth to the United States and to                                             our success in ensuring that all Americans under-
an enduring form of representative government                                                 stand our history, rights, and responsibilities, and
that ushered in the modern world. Even as our                                                 pass this knowledge on to rising generations.
fellow citizens recognize the American Revolution’s
vital role in shaping our national character and                                              The American Revolution Center is doing its part to
government, this survey revealed an alarming dis-                                             meet this challenge by establishing the Museum of
parity between our desire to know and our failure                                             the American Revolution, the first national museum
to understand. Sixty percent of Americans could                                               to commemorate the entire story of the American
correctly identify the number of children in reality-                                         Revolution. The Museum will be built in the
TV show couple Jon and Kate Gosselin’s household                                              historic cradle of liberty, Philadelphia, just steps
(eight), but more than one-third did not know the                                             from Independence Hall. It will house and exhibit
century in which the American Revolution took                                                 a distinguished collection of Revolution-era objects,
place. Many more Americans knew that entertainer                                              artifacts, and manuscripts. The American Revolu-
Michael Jackson sang “Beat It” and “Billie Jean”                                              tion Center is continuing to develop educational
than knew that the Bill of Rights is part of the                                              programs for students, teachers, and the general
United States Constitution.                                                                   public through its website and is collaborating with
                                                                                              other cultural institutions to develop special exhibi-
We are a nation united not by blood, land, or reli-                                           tions and educational programming.
gion, but rather by the great Founding principles
expressed in the Declaration of Independence and                                               The Revolutionary generation pledged their lives,
in the Constitution of the United States. These                                               fortunes, and sacred honor to make possible the
ideals—what Abraham Lincoln called our “ancient                                               freedoms we enjoy today. We honor their sacrifices
faith”—have inspired our greatest moments and                                                 by keeping their story alive.
sustained us through our darkest days. Looking
back on the Declaration of Independence in 1857,
Lincoln observed: “The assertion that ‘all men
are created equal’ was of no practical use in ef-
fecting our separation from Great Britain; and it
was placed in the Declaration, not for that but for
future use.” The radical idea of equality and self-
governance, embodied in our Founding documents,
changed the world forever. Across the globe, people                                           Dr. Bruce Cole
and nations struggling for freedom continue to                                                President and CEO
invoke this powerful idea.                                                                    The American Revolution Center


5 •   The American Revolution. Who Cares? Americans are yearning to learn, failing to know.
Table of Contents
Preface ...................................................................................... 5
Executive Summary ................................................................. 7
The Report Card....................................................................... 9
Summary of Learning Gaps .................................................... 10
Why Know About The American Revolution Today? ............. 11
Conclusion and Recommendations ......................................... 12
Appendix .................................................................................. 13
The Importance of Knowing .................................................... 14
Knowledge of Subject-Specific Questions ............................... 22
Acknowledgements .................................................................. 39




                                                                                              Continental Currency: Issued by the
                                                                                              Continental Congress in 1776, the Latin
                                                                                              motto on this bill reminded Americans
                                                                                              that ‘The Outcome is in Doubt.’ From the
                                                                                              Collection of The American Revolution
                                                                                              Center.




6 •   The American Revolution. Who Cares? Americans are yearning to learn, failing to know.
Executive Summary
Most Americans today, regardless                                                              Revolutionary period and its history. Most failed to
of region or background, believe that                                                         answer even the most basic questions correctly.
it is critically important to understand                                                      l   On the 27-question test within the survey, a
our nation’s Founding principles                                                                  national sample of American adults scored an
and have basic knowledge of the                                                                   average of only 44 percent correct.
American Revolution.                                                                          l   Nearly 83 percent received a failing grade.
When their knowledge was put to the                                                           l   Only four of the 27 questions were answered
test, however, most Americans failed.                                                             correctly by 70 percent or more of respondents.
As Americans, we are united by the ideals upon                                                l   Half did not have even a basic understanding of
which our nation was founded. Rising generations                                                  historical chronology, believing that either the
cannot secure the “blessings of liberty” that the                                                 Civil War, Emancipation Proclamation, or War of
Constitution describes without being educated                                                     1812 occurred before the American Revolution.
about our precious birthrights. The survival of
our Republic relies on an informed and engaged                                                l   Many more Americans knew that Michael
citizenry. As George Washington observed, “The                                                    Jackson authored “Beat It” and “Billie Jean” than
preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the                                               knew that James Madison was the Father of the
destiny of the republican government, are justly                                                  Constitution, or that Alexander Hamilton was the
considered as deeply, perhaps as finally stacked,                                                 first Treasury Secretary.
on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the                                               l Only   11 percent of Americans could identify John
American people.”                                                                                 Jay as the first Chief Justice of the United States
The American Revolution Center commissioned                                                       Supreme Court. Compare that to the 60 percent
this survey to determine the importance Ameri-                                                    who knew the number of children of Jon and Kate
cans place on having knowledge of the American                                                    Gosselin, a reality-TV show couple.
Revolution, how much they think they know about                                               l   More than 50 percent of Americans wrongly
the subject, and most importantly, how much they                                                  attributed the quote “From each according to his
actually do know. As findings from this survey                                                    ability, to each according to his needs” to either
revealed, Americans are not sufficiently informed                                                 George Washington, Thomas Paine, or President
about the fundamental democratic principles, ideas,                                               Barack Obama, when it is in fact a quote from
       and institutions that we have inherited from                                               Karl Marx, author of The Communist Manifesto.
        the Revolution and that sustain us as a na-
              tion. While most Americans believed                                             l   One-third did not know that the right to a jury
                     that the principles and history                                              trial is covered in the Bill of Rights, while 40
                        of the American Revolution                                                percent mistakenly thought that the right to
                           are still critically impor-                                            vote is.
                            tant today, when put to                                           l   From a list of major battles, two-thirds of
                             the test they demon-                                                 Americans could not correctly name Yorktown
                              strated a serious lack                                              as the last major military action of the American
                               of knowledge of the                                                Revolution.
                                                                                              But Americans think they know more than
                                                    Colonel Isaac Sidman:
                                                     Artist Charles Willson
                                                                                              they really do know. When asked to give
                                                    Peale painted this Penn-                  themselves a grade on their knowledge of
                                                    sylvania militia officer                  American Revolution history before taking
                                                    during the American                       the test, 89 percent gave themselves a passing
                                                    Revolution. From the
                                                    Collection of The                         grade, while only 3 percent gave themselves
                                                    American Revolution                       an F, and 8 percent gave themselves a D.
                                                    Center.


7 •   The American Revolution. Who Cares? Americans are yearning to learn, failing to know.
Major Findings                                                                                The survey included 27 specific questions about the
                                                                                              American Revolution, focusing on key documents,
                                                                                              events, people, and ideas of the period. Of the 27
Major Finding 1:                                                                              questions asked, the average American was able to
                                                                                              answer only 12 of them correctly. That’s an ac-
The vast majority of Americans thought that
                                                                                              curacy rate of 44 percent, well below the “B” or “C”
knowledge of the history and principles of
                                                                                              grade that Americans believed was a reflection of
the American Revolution was very important.
                                                                                              their knowledge before answering the actual ques-
Most also said that it is very important for
                                                                                              tions. In fact, 829 of the 1001 respondents—82.8
schools to teach this subject.
                                                                                              percent of them—scored 16 or fewer correct
Over 90 percent thought it is important for                                                   answers on the test; in other words, getting at best
Americans to know the history and principles of the                                           only 60 percent of the answers right. That means
American Revolution. Similarly, over 90 percent                                               82.8 percent of Americans failed the test. In terms
said it is important that the history and principles                                          of the individual questions, there were only four
be taught in schools. These feelings were universal,                                          questions out of the 27 that 70 percent or more
cutting across all major demographic groups—                                                  Americans could answer correctly.
gender, region, socioeconomic status, and education
                                                                                              On a positive note, Americans were eager to learn
level. (In the appendix of this report, you can see
                                                                                              more about the history of the American Revolution
the breakout of how each subgroup answered the
                                                                                              and our nation’s Founding principles. Despite their
individual questions). Other surveys tend not to ask
                                                                                              low level of knowledge of the American Revolution,
these types of attitudinal questions, which makes
                                                                                              about 70 percent said they were interested in learn-
the strength of this finding not only compelling
                                                                                              ing more about this topic.
but significant—particularly in light of what was
revealed next.                                                                                Major Finding 4:
Major Finding 2:                                                                              Based on what they know about the American
                                                                                              Revolution and the Founding, most Americans
Most Americans gave themselves high marks
                                                                                              said that freedom and liberty, freedom
on their knowledge of the American Revolu-
                                                                                              of speech, and freedom of religion were the
tion and our Founding documents.
                                                                                              most important values upon which America
When asked to assign a grade to their own knowl-                                              was founded.
edge of the American Revolution, Americans were
                                                                                              In an open-ended question, more than 50 percent
confident. Three of 4 gave themselves a “B” or “C,”
                                                                                              of Americans ascribed these core values to the
and another 11 percent gave themselves an “A.”
                                                                                              American Revolution. It appears that, for many
Only 3 percent gave themselves an “F.” Eighty-nine
                                                                                              Americans, the story of the American Revolution
percent assigned themselves a passing grade. This
                                                                                              can be defined as the story of the fight for freedom.
was before they were asked specific questions about
the American Revolution.

Major Finding 3:
On a 27-question test, a national sample of
American adults scored an average of only 44
percent correct. Nearly 83 percent received a
failing grade, meaning that they could not an-
swer more than 16 of the 27 questions correctly.




8 •   The American Revolution. Who Cares? Americans are yearning to learn, failing to know.
The Report Card

                                                                                              Major Finding 1:
                                                                                              The vast majority of Americans thought that
                                                                                              knowledge of the history and principles of
                                                                                              the American Revolution is very important.
                                                                                              Most also said that it is very important for
                                                                                              schools to teach this subject.

                                                                                              Major Finding 2:
                                                                                              Most Americans gave themselves high
                                                                                              marks on their knowledge of the American
                                                                                              Revolution and our Founding documents.

                                                                                              Major Finding 3:
                                                                                              On a 27-question test, a national sample
                                                                                              of American adults scored an average of
                                                                                              only 44 percent correct. Nearly 83 percent
                                                                                              received a failing grade, meaning that they
                                                                                              could not answer more than 16 of the 27
                                                                                              questions correctly.

                                                                                              Major Finding 4:
                                                                                              Based on what they knew about the
                                                                                              American Revolution and the Founding,
                                                                                              most Americans said that freedom and
                                                                                              liberty, freedom of speech, and freedom of
                                                                                              religion were the most important values
                                                                                              upon which America was founded.




9 •   The American Revolution. Who Cares? Americans are yearning to learn, failing to know.
Summary of Learning Gaps
Among the 15 questions that the average American                                               A 2009 survey by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute
answered incorrectly, a few stand out as particu-                                              (ISI) measuring civic literacy over a lifetime showed
larly striking illustrations of our failure to instill                                         participants performing only slightly better than
basic knowledge of our Founding era and principles                                             the respondents of the American Revolution Center
in our citizenry.                                                                              Survey—71 percent of them failed the ISI test.
More than a third of American adults could not                                                 It is interesting to compare the difference in re-
place the American Revolution in the correct cen-                                              sponses to the “ten-year question” about the rights
tury.                                                                                          of Americans. The table below shows all responses
                                                                                               from the American Revolution Center Survey
In spite of pledging allegiance “to the republic for
                                                                                               compared to the survey on “The First Amendment
which it stands,” equal numbers of Americans mis-
                                                                                               and the Media in the Court of Public Opinion” con-
takenly believe that the Constitution established a
                                                                                               ducted in 1999. While the prioritization of rights
direct democracy as correctly identify our form of
                                                                                               remained the same, there were some differences
national government as a democratic republic. This
                                                                                               in opinions about individual rights. The right to
basic fact is included on the naturalization exam
                                                                                               own firearms appeared to be far more important to
for immigrants to qualify for U.S. citizenship, and
                                                                                               people today than it was in 1999, as was the right
yet more than half of Americans do not know it.
                                                                                               to assemble.
Less than half of Americans were able to identify the
Second Continental Congress as the body that de-
clared American independence from Great Britain; 20
                                                                                               Is it essential that Americans have the right to [INSERT NAME OF
percent thought it was the British House of Commons.                                           SPECIFIC RIGHT BELOW], important but not essential, or not that
At a time when thousands of Americans around                                                   important?
the nation participate in “tea parties” to express                                                         Essential             Important, but not essential              Not that important
political dissent, it is striking that less than half
                                                                                                           the right to a fair trial
of Americans understood the context and conse-
                                                                                                     All                                                                    84                 14           1
quences of the original Boston Tea Party of 1773.
                                                                                                Previous
Rather than repealing the tax on tea (which most                                                                                                                                86              14

                                                                                                           the right to practice the religion of your choice
Americans mistakenly believed to be its conse-
                                                                                                     All                                                                   80                  18       2
quence), the original Tea Party prompted passage
                                                                                                Previous
of the so-called Coercive or Intolerable Acts. This in                                                                                                                     81                  18           1

                                                                                                           the right to privacy
turn led to the calling of the First Continental Con-
                                                                                                     All
gress, and ultimately the outbreak of the War of                                                                                                                      76                       22       2


Independence. Given the significance of this iconic                                             Previous                                                               78                      21           1

                                                                                                           the right to speak freely about whatever you want
event in today’s highly charged political climate,
                                                                                                     All                                                        70                             28       2
it is striking that a far greater percentage—70
percent—of Americans knew that Michael Phelps                                                   Previous                                                         72                            27           1

made Olympic history with his eight gold medals.                                                           the right to practice no religion
                                                                                                     All                                                  66                     23            10

Link to Previous Surveys                                                                        Previous                                                  66                         24         9

                                                                                                           the right to assemble, march, protest, or petition the government
The American Revolution Center Survey dem-
                                                                                                     All                                                  65                              29        6
onstrates that most Americans are largely unin-
formed about our country’s Founding principles                                                  Previous                                           56                                36             7


and history. Would the results have been any                                                               the right to not have your property searched or seized
                                                                                                     All
different had the respondents been younger, with                                                                                                     59                              32        6


fresher learning experiences? Other research                                                    Previous                                             60                               33            6

studies suggest not, including the NAEP student                                                            the right to own firearms

assessments and surveys of young Americans                                                           All                                  45                               35                  19


conducted by the National Constitution Center,                                                  Previous                          33                      31                               33

which resulted in similarly poor performance.                                                  Source: Kenneth Dautrich and David Yalof, “The First Amendment and the Media in the
                                                                                               Court of Public Opinion” (New York: Cambridge University Press), 2002.



10 •   The American Revolution. Who Cares? Americans are yearning to learn, failing to know.
Why Know About The American Revolution Today?
In the survey, a majority of Americans knew that                                               Understand the historical global context.
the reality-TV Gosselin family has eight children.
A majority also thought that the Civil War, the                                                A revealing finding from the survey was the fact
Emancipation Proclamation, or the War of 1812                                                  that 73 percent of Americans knew that France
occurred before the Declaration of Independence.                                               played an important role in helping the colonies
Similarly, more Americans knew the accomplish-                                                 defeat the British in the American Revolution. To
ments of Michael Phelps and Michael Jackson than                                               understand contemporary world affairs, it helps to
knew what our Constitution was meant to achieve.                                               have an appreciation of the shifting sands of world
One-third of Americans, for example, did not know                                              history and the interconnectedness of nations.
that the Bill of Rights includes the right to a jury                                           Embrace principled debate.
trial. If Americans do not understand even the most
basic events and ideals that underpin our nation’s                                             Many Americans today lament the divisive and
constitutional system of government, how can we                                                polarized state of political opinion and debate in our
expect to “secure the blessings of liberty?”                                                   nation. Members of the Revolutionary generation
                                                                                               were no less divided over issues fundamental to
It is clear that Americans need to know more about                                             the creation of the American Republic. The clash-
basic historical facts and have a better understanding                                         ing of ideas and principles in the Revolutionary
of the history and principles of the American Revolu-                                          era gave rise to an enduring form of constitutional
tion. Americans were adamant that this knowledge is                                            government that has been remarkably successful
important. Perhaps at some level, they recognized that                                         in accommodating change and deep differences of
deep knowledge of our nation’s Founding principles                                             opinion from one generation to the next.
enables them to do the following:
                                                                                               Commit to the quest for freedom and equal
Participate wisely in self-government.                                                         rights.
Our Founding generation established a democratic
                                                                                               In the United States and around the world, people
republic that relies on the participation of informed,
                                                                                               still struggle for freedom and equality of opportuni-
civic-minded citizens. The Founding principles
                                                                                               ty. In that sense, the work of the American Revolu-
embodied in the Declaration of Independence, the
                                                                                               tion is still ongoing and requires the determination
Constitution, and the Bill of Rights are the bedrock
                                                                                               and commitment of those who remain dedicated to
upon which our centuries-long experiment in self-
                                                                                               its ideals.
government rests.
This system of government relies on citizens who
are united not by a common race, religion, or coun-
try of birth, but rather by belief in a set of ideals
expressed in our Founding documents. For more
than two centuries, the history of our Founding era
and the principles that inspired and grew out of the
American Revolution have sustained us through
our darkest days and inspired our brightest mo-
ments as a nation.
Appreciate that freedom is not free,
nor certain.
The history of the American Revolution reveals that
the outcome of the struggle for American Indepen-
dence was uncertain, and the sacrifices were great.
The freedoms that we enjoy today must be defended
and preserved—but first they must be understood.


11 •   The American Revolution. Who Cares? Americans are yearning to learn, failing to know.
Conclusion and Recommendations
American independence was won through struggle                                                 And opportunities for ongoing learning about the
and sacrifice in what remains the second longest                                               American Revolution outside the classroom remain
military conflict in our nation’s history. The Ameri-                                          underutilized.
can Revolution created our country and our system
                                                                                               While Americans highly valued knowledge of our
of representative government that is still admired
                                                                                               nation’s Founding period and principles, they vastly
and emulated across the globe. After more than two
                                                                                               overrated their own knowledge. When asked specif-
hundred years, Americans remain united by the
                                                                                               ics about the American Revolution, our Founding
ideals and principles upon which our democratic
                                                                                               documents, constitutional principles, and important
republic was formed. Knowledge of these principles
                                                                                               people and places, they failed.
is essential for our nation to survive. Americans
recognized this fact even as they acknowledged                                                 Without constant reinforcement, knowledge erodes.
that, for the most part, learning about our nation’s                                           Therefore it is not hard to understand why many
Founding ends the day most people leave school.                                                adult Americans knew far less about the American
                                                                                               Revolution than they thought they did—or thought
Many high schools now forego teaching about the
                                                                                               they ought to.
American Revolution in favor of global studies. The
trade-off is that, for many of us, learning about the                                          The results of this survey suggest that there needs
American Revolution ends after grade school. Even                                              to be a renewed effort to educate Americans about
in college, many students never receive additional                                             the important principles upon which this nation
in-depth education about the Founding of our na-                                               was built and by which it thrives. The survey
tion. Today, according to a survey by the American                                             provides a strong case for making resources for
Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA), not one of                                              continued learning about the Founding period more
the nation’s top 50-ranked universities and liberal                                            accessible, through museums and other places
arts colleges, as defined by U.S. News & World Re-                                             where we can imagine, experience, and appreciate
port in 2002, requires a course in American history.                                           the very heart of what it means to be an American. n




William B. T. Trego’s 1883 painting “The March to Valley Forge” evokes the suffering and perseverance of General Washington’s
army at one of the many low points of the American Revolution. From the Collection of The American Revolution Center.

12 •   The American Revolution. Who Cares? Americans are yearning to learn, failing to know.
                                                       Appendix




13 •   The American Revolution. Who Cares? Americans are yearning to learn, failing to know.
The Importance of Knowing
                                                              To begin, how important is it for American schools to teach students about the history and principles
Over 90 percent overall thought                               of begin, how Revolution?
                                                              To the American important is it for American schools to teach students about the history
it is important for Americans to                              and principles of the American Revolution?
know the history and principles
of the American Revolution.                                      2                1          2     2        2        3      2      1                                                                              1
                                                                           4                                                              3      4                         3                 3         3
Additionally, over 90 percent                                   13               17        12              13       13      15     16     9              13        8      13        13                 10         13
                                                                           7                       11                                           14                                          15
said it is important that the                                           49                                                                47
                                                                                                                                                                  36
                                                                                                                                                         44                         43                 39
history and principles be taught                                45                         47      43      47       44
                                                                                                                            48     40
                                                                                                                                                                          46                                      49
                                                                                 43                                                             48                                          47
in schools. These feelings were
universal, cutting across all
major demographic groups.
This view is held most strongly
                                                                                                                                                                  55
by those who make more than                                                                                                                                                                            49
$100,000 a year; over half of                                                                      43                              43                    43                         44
                                                                                                                    42                    42
whom said it is extremely impor-                                40      40       39       39
                                                                                                           38
                                                                                                                                                                          39
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  37
tant that schools teach students                                                                                            35                  34                                          35

about the American Revolution.
Additionally, over half of this
income bracket believed that,
in general, it is extremely im-
portant for Americans to have
knowledge on the subject.
                                                               All

                                                                       st

                                                                                th

                                                                                          t

                                                                                                     t

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                                                                                                                           4

                                                                                                                                  9

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                                                                                                                                               <50K

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                                                                                                                          18-3

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                                                                                                         Mal




                                                                                                                                                                >100
                                                                      thea

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                                                                                                                 Fem




                                                                                                                                                      50K-




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                                                                                                                                                                                         Dem
                                                                     Nor




                                                                                                                                                                                                Rep

                                                                                                                                                                                                           Inde
                                                                                                                                                                    Non
                                                              How important it it that Americans know the history and principles of the American
                                                              How important is is that Americans know aboutabout the history and principles of the Revolution?
                                                              American Revolution?
                                                                 2         1      1        2       2                1                     2      2                            2      1          2        1          1
                                                                                                            1                      1
                                                                14      17       16       11       11      13       14      13     16     13    14       16        9      14         14        15        10       14

                                                                                                                                                                  40                                     41
                                                                                          50       45                                     43
                                                                43                                         43       43      47                  44       43               44         41        44                 47
                                                                        38       40                                                39




                                                                                                                                                                  51
                                                                                                                                                                                                         48
                                                                42     44        43                43      42       42             43     43                                         44
                                                                                                                            39                  40       41               41
                                                                                          37                                                                                                   39                 38




       Extremely Important
       Very Important
                                                               All

                                                                       st

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                                                                                                                           4

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                                                                                                                                                                                                         a
                                                                                                                                                                      >100
                                                                     thea




       Somewhat Important
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       Not Important
                                                                     Nor




                                                                                                                                                                                                     u
                                                                                                                                                                                                 Rep

                                                                                                                                                                                                           Inde
                                                                                                                                                                Non




14 •   The American Revolution. Who Cares? Americans are yearning to learn, failing to know.
                                                               The American War for Independence and the founding of the United States occurred more than 200 years ag
Pervasive Principles                                           How much do War for that the principles for which the Revolution was States occurred more
                                                              The Americanyou think Independence and the founding of the Unitedfought apply to American society
                                                               today - a great ago. How a little, or not.
                                                              than 200 years deal, some,much do you think that the principles for which the Revolution
Two hundred years after                                       was fought apply to American society today - a great deal, some, a little, or not at all?
the Revolution, 80 percent of
Americans believed that the                                       2                         2             1     2              1            2          2      2         2                                1
                                                                                  3                                                  3
principles fought for during the                                  6
                                                                            7
                                                                                            6      7      7     6       9      4                       4
                                                                                                                                                              7         7
                                                                                                                                                                                    4         4          6           6
                                                                                  7                                                  7      9                                                 5
American Revolution apply to                                     12      16
                                                                                         13        7     13     12
                                                                                                                              13                   13                               9
                                                                                                                                                                                                         13
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   16
                                                                                 14                                     8           16                       35         14                    7
American society some or a                                                                        38
                                                                                                                                           14
                                                                                                                                                                                34
great deal today. Over half of                                                                                         43     34                                                           43
                                                                 34                      33                     34                                 34                                                    31        30
                                                                         26                              34                                                             33
Americans in the Northeast                                                       35                                                 26     33
and those who make more than
$100,000 annually believed the
principles fought for during the                                                                                                                             56
American Revolution apply a                                              52                                                                                                     52
                                                                                                  48                          48    48             47                                                    49        49
great deal today. Throughout the                                 46                      46              45     46
                                                                                                                                                                        44
                                                                                 41                                                        42
survey, Northeasterners tended                                                                                         40                                                                  40
to have a slightly stronger
connection to and knowledge
about the American Revolution.

       A Great Deal
       Some
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                                                                                                                                                                                        Dem
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                                                                      Nor




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                                                                                                                                                                                                          Inde
                                                                Based on what you know about the American Revolution and the founding of the American nation,




                                                                                                                                                                  Non
       Don’t know
                                                                what would you say are the one or two most important principles or values upon which America
                                                                was founded?
Across audiences, Americans                                   Based on what you know about the American Revolution
believed that freedom and liberty                             and the founding of the American nation, what would you
                                                                                                                                                             6
are the most important values                                 say are the one or two most important principles or values
upon which America was found-                                 upon which America was founded?                                                                7
                                                                                                                                                             9
ed. This belief was highest among
                                                                                                  11                                                                            5                   10
the $100,000+ income audience,                                                                                                                               9                  6
                                                                                                  2                                                8
and lowest among those over 50                                                                    8
                                                                                                                       8      5
                                                                                                                                                   5                                                 8
                                                                  5         5                            7                    4                              12                 9
years of age or who make less                                                                                   4      5      3                    6                                                 4
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 2
                                                                  5         6               4     13     7      3                                                       5                                        5
than $50,000 a year. More than                                                    3         3                          12     9     4              8
                                                                                                                                                                                7
                                                                                                                                                                                           4        16
                                                                  7         7               3            5      9                                                       4                                        8
50 percent of Americans said that                                                 6                                                 5      4
                                                                                                                                                                        6      16          2
                                                                  9                         6            7                    12    6      4                                              10
freedom and liberty, freedom of                                             7     9               13            11     8                          15         18
                                                                                                                                                                     10
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 6
                                                                                         11                                                7
speech, and freedom of religion                                  10      11                              9             9
                                                                                                                                    10                                                    5         11           8
                                                                                  9                             11            18          10                 49                14
were the top values upon which                                                           14
                                                                                                  9
                                                                                                                                                  13
                                                                                                                                                                        8                 10                    12
                                                                 11      14                              13            6            10                                                              12
America was founded.                                                              8
                                                                                                  38            9                          7                         10
                                                                                                                       35                                                                 10
                                                                                  8                                                 9                                          34                               33
                                                                 30                                      31                   31           8      32                                                30
                                                                                         30
   Freedom/Liberty                                                       27                                     28                                                   28                   26
                                                                                 25                                                 24    23
   Freedom of speech
   Freedom of religion
   Religion/The Bible/Christian values
   Equality/All men are created equal
                                                                All

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                                                                                                                                                           >100
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   The Constitution/Bill of Rights
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   Independence/Declaration of
                                                                                                                                                                                              Rep

                                                                                                                                                                                                         Inde
                                                                                                                                                              Non




   Independence/Freedom from tyranny


15 •    The American Revolution. Who Cares? Americans are yearning to learn, failing to know.
                                                                        Is it essential that Americans have [INSERT RIGHT], important
                                                                        but not essential, or not that important?

When asked to rate the importance                                        Essential       Important, but not essential      Not but important
                                                                   Is it essential that Americans have [INSERT RIGHT], importantthat not essential,
of certain rights embodied in our                                  or not that important?
nation’s Founding documents, it
is striking that from 20 percent                                               the right to a fair trial
                                                                         All                                                                                   84                  14 1
to more than half of Americans                                     Northeast                                                                                                 92        8
                                                                       South                                                                        77                             21 2
considered many of these rights to                                  Midwest                                                                                          88            10
be less than essential. The great-                                     West
                                                                       Male                                                                                    84
                                                                                                                                                                    87             11 2
                                                                                                                                                                                   14 2
est proportion of Americans (80                                      Female                                                                                     85                  14

percent) cited the right to a fair                                             the right to practice the religion of your choice
trial and the right to practice the                                      All
                                                                   Northeast                                                                   74
                                                                                                                                                         80                         18 2
                                                                                                                                                                                   23 4
religion of your choice as essential.                                  South                                                                    75                                 22 3
                                                                    Midwest                                                                                          88              11
The strongest support for the right                                    West                                                                                   83                    15 1
to a fair trial came from the North-                                   Male
                                                                     Female
                                                                                                                                                   75
                                                                                                                                                              84
                                                                                                                                                                                  21 3
                                                                                                                                                                                     15 1
east (90 percent), while religious
                                                                               the right to privacy
freedom was most highly valued in                                        All                                                                     76                                22 2
the Midwest (nearly 90 percent).                                   Northeast
                                                                       South
                                                                                                                                                  77                                22 1
                                                                                                                                                75                                 23 2
College-educated Americans valued                                   Midwest                                                                     75                                 23 2
                                                                       West                                                                         79                              20 2
every right—with the exception                                         Male                                                                   73                                   25 2
of the right to bear arms—more                                       Female                                                                         79                             19 1

highly than any other group.                                                   the right to speak freely about whatever you want
                                                                         All                                                             70                                       28 2
                                                                   Northeast                                                              71                                        28 1
                                                                       South                                                            69                                        28 3
                                                                    Midwest                                                                    74                                  24 1
                                                                       West                                                        66                                             31 3
                                                                       Male                                                              70                                       27 3
                                                                     Female                                                             69                                        28 2

                                                                               the right to practice no religion
                                                                         All                                                       66                                   23     10
                                                                   Northeast                                                        67                             19           14
                                                                       South                                              60                                       26         12
                                                                    Midwest                                                             69                              22        9
                                                                       West                                                                   73                           21    6
                                                                       Male                                                        65                                23        11
                                                                     Female                                                          67                                23       10

                                                                               the right to assemble, march, protest, or petition
                                                                               the government
                                                                         All                                                       65                                        29      6
                                                                   Northeast                                                            68                                 25      6
                                                                       South                                              60                                              31      7
                                                                    Midwest                                                     66                                        25    6
                                                                       West                                                        68                                           30 6
                                                                       Male                                                     65                                            30 4
                                                                     Female                                                    64                                         27     7

                                                                               the right to not have your property searched or seized
                                                                         All                                             59                                               32           6
                                                                   Northeast                                                  62                                           30     1
                                                                       South                                             59                                        27             10
                                                                    Midwest                                              59                                                  34     7
                                                                       West                                              59                                                     37 3
                                                                       Male                                              59                                                   35   5
                                                                     Female                                               60                                            29       7

                                                                               the right to own firearms
                                                                         All                                  45                                         35                          19
                                                                   Northeast                             42                                         35                              21
                                                                       South                                   47                                        34                         18
                                                                    Midwest                                    47                                   30                              22
                                                                       West                              43                                                     43                   13
       Essential                                                       Male                                         53                                         32                     15
                                                                     Female                         38                                             38                              22
       Important, but not essential
       Not that important



16 •   The American Revolution. Who Cares? Americans are yearning to learn, failing to know.
    Is it essential that Americans have [INSERT RIGHT], important
    but not essential, or not that important?

           Essential            Important, but not essential                                                         Not that important

           the right to a fair trial                                                                                                                     the right to a fair trial
     All                                                                                       84                    14 1                          All                                                                                   84                      14 1
   18-34                                                                                      83                     15 2                 Non-College                                                                                   83                       15 1
   35-49                                                                                             88                12                     College                                                                                         88                  12
     50+                                                                                      83                     15 2                   Democrat                                                                               81                           16 2
   <50K                                                                                      82                      16 1                  Republican                                                                                         87                 11 1
50K-99K                                                                                         85                     15
  >100K                                                                                                                                   Independent                                                                                   84                         16
                                                                                                           92          6 2

           the right to practice the religion of your choice                                                                                             the right to practice the religion of your choice
     All                                                                                80                        18 2                             All                                                                             80                            18 2
   18-34                                                                                 81                         19                    Non-College                                                                         78                              20 2
   35-49                                                                                           86             12 2                        College                                                                                        86               12 2
     50+                                                                      74                                22 3                        Democrat                                                                71                                      24 5
   <50K                                                                            78                             20 2
                                                                                                                                           Republican                                                                                    85                    15
50K-99K                                                                             79                          17 3
  >100K                                                                                              88             12 1                  Independent                                                                               83                               17       1


           the right to privacy                                                                                                                          the right to privacy
     All                                                                          76                               22 2                            All                                                                   76                                      22 2
   18-34                                                                             80                           18 2                    Non-College                                                                     76                                     22 2
   35-49                                                                           78                                22 1                     College                                                                      77                                    21 2
     50+                                                                     73                                    25 2                     Democrat                                                                     75                                       24 1
   <50K                                                                            77                               22 1
                                                                                                                                           Republican                                                                    75                                     21 3 2
50K-99K                                                                       74                                    25
  >100K                                                                                79                       16     6                  Independent                                                                    76                                          23 1


           the right to speak freely about whatever you want                                                                                             the right to speak freely about whatever you want
     All                                                               70                                         28 2                             All                                                          70                                               28 2
   18-34                                                                     73                                     26 2                  Non-College                                                          68                                                30 2
   35-49                                                         66                                               31 3                        College                                                                    75                                      22 2
     50+                                                                70                                        27 2                      Democrat                                                  63                                                        33 4
   <50K                                                                 70                                        27 3
                                                                                                                                           Republican                                                               71                                            27 2
50K-99K                                                      64                                                      36 1
                                                                                        80                       16 4                     Independent                                                                 74                                           25 1
  >100K

           the right to practice no religion                                                                                                             the right to practice no religion
     All                                                         66                                   23        10                                 All                                                    66                                      23             14
   18-34                                                                71                           17          12                       Non-College                                                 64                                      24                 11
   35-49                                                         66                                         27     7                          College                                                               72                                  21               7
     50+                                                    63                                      24           12                         Democrat                                           57                                       26                       15
   <50K                                                    61                                  23                15
                                                                                                                                           Republican                                                           70                                     21             8
50K-99K                                                               70                                      25 4
  >100K                                                                                                                                   Independent                                                           70                                     22                 9
                                                                                   78                         17 5

           the right to assemble, march, protest, or petition                                                                                            the right to assemble, march, protest, or petition
           the government                                                                                                                                the government
     All                                                         65                                            29    6                             All                                                    65                                             29              6
   18-34                                                   62                                                   33 4                      Non-College                                                61                                                31            6
   35-49                                                              69                                        26 4                          College                                                                      77                                   20 3
     50+                                                    63                                            27      8                         Democrat                                            59                                                30        8
   <50K                                                    62                                               30     7
                                                                                                                                           Republican                                                          69                                          28 3
50K-99K                                                            68                                          27 3
  >100K                                                                                                                                   Independent                                                 64                                                30    6
                                                                 66                                          28     6

           the right to not have your property searched or seized                                                                                        the right to not have your property searched or seized
     All                                              59                                                  32     6                                 All                                          59                                                 32            6
   18-34                                             57                                                   33     7                        Non-College                                          57                                                 32             7
   35-49                                                    63                                                32 3                            College                                                      68                                                    30 2
     50+                                              58                                                 31     7                                                                               59                                                29        6
                                                                                                                                            Democrat
   <50K                                              57                                                  32     8
                                                                                                                                           Republican                                            60                                                      34              6
50K-99K                                               58                                                    34 4
  >100K                                                                    72                                  25 3                       Independent                                           59                                                     33 4


           the right to own firearms                                                                                                                     the right to own firearms
     All                                  45                                            35                            19                           All                               45                                         35                               19
   18-34                            40                                                        43                       17                 Non-College                                     48                                      34                             17
   35-49                                   46                                      31                                21                       College                        36                                          40                                       23
     50+                                        49                                           33                        18                   Democrat                   27                                      41                                                30
   <50K                                   46                                           32                             21
                                                                                                                                           Republican                                                62                                                30                8
50K-99K                                   46                                                         42                12
  >100K                              41                                            36                                 23                  Independent                                     49                                        34                                17




           Essential
           Important, but not essential
           Not that important



   17 •       The American Revolution. Who Cares? Americans are yearning to learn, failing to know.
                                                               From which of the following sources have you learned most of what you know about the
                                                               American Revolution?
Learning, Interrupted                                         From which of the following sources have you learned most of what you know about
                                                              the American Revolution? Ranked by all
Over half of Americans across
                                                                                               1
most subgroups said they                                                         3                                              1              3                               1         2
                                                                 5         5           7       6     4      5      5       6    4      5       1             5       3         2         3
learned much of what they know                                                   1                   3                                               8               2                             8
                                                                           1           3       2                                1      2       4             1
                                                                 1         6     6                                 9       3    5                    1                         8         8
about the American Revolution                                    6                     4       9     5      7                          7                     6       7                             2
                                                                                12                                         5                  12     8                                             3
                                                                                                                                16
from classes in school. Only 20                                 12
                                                                       14              14            12     13     7      13          14                     14      8      15           7        13
                                                                                              11                                                     9
percent, mostly those at higher                                                 24                                 18                         20                    29                   22
                                                                                                     24
income levels, reported that they                               20     17              19     18            17            19    23    17             30      17             17                    21
have augmented their learning
with books or articles they read                                                                                   61                         60
                                                                       57                                   57                                                                           58
on their own. Others continued                                  54              54     54     54                          54          55                     56             56
                                                                                                     52                                                                                           52
to learn from television, film, and                                                                                             50                                  50
museums. But the majority of                                                                                                                         43
Americans stop learning about
the American Revolution when
they leave the classroom.

       Classes in school
       Books or articles you have read on your own
       Television or films
                                                               All

                                                                       st

                                                                                th

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                                                                                                t

                                                                                                    e

                                                                                                           ale

                                                                                                                  4

                                                                                                                         9

                                                                                                                               50+

                                                                                                                                     <50K

                                                                                                                                             99K

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                                                                                                                                                           lege

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                                                                                                                                                                           t

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                                                                                                                                                                                               t
                                                                                      wes

                                                                                            Wes




                                                                                                                                                                          ocra



                                                                                                                                                                                              den
                                                                                                                 18-3

                                                                                                                        35-4
                                                                                                    Mal




                                                                                                                                                   >100
                                                                     thea

                                                                               Sou




                                                                                                          Fem




                                                                                                                                            50K-




                                                                                                                                                                  Coll



                                                                                                                                                                                    ubli
       Museums or historic sites




                                                                                                                                                          -Col




                                                                                                                                                                                              pen
                                                                                     Mid




                                                                                                                                                                         Dem
                                                                     Nor




                                                                                                                                                                                   Rep

                                                                                                                                                                                           Inde
                                                                                                                                                      Non
       Internet
       Other
       Don’t know/refused




                     George Washington Toby Jug:
                     1896 design patented by Arthur S. Higgons at
                     the height of the so-called Colonial Revival.
                     From the Collection of The American
                     Revolution Center.

18 •   The American Revolution. Who Cares? Americans are yearning to learn, failing to know.
                                                                                                          Philadelphia Theater Program:
                                                                                                          Patriotic song lyrics issued by Philadelphia
                                                                                                          printer Thomas Bradford, 1784. From the
                                                                                                          Collection of The American Revolution
                                                                                                          Center.




Yearning to Learn More                                         How interested are you in learning more about the American Revolution?
                                                               How interested are you in learning more about the American Revolution?
Given the appreciation Americans
have for values such as indepen-
                                                                                             29                     30                 35             27               29                           34
dence, freedom, and patriotism,                                 31              34   33
                                                                                                    30      31             28                                   32                      26
                                                                         27                                                      34            28                               32
and the importance they place on
knowing about the Revolution,
it only makes sense that they
would embrace the idea of learn-                                                                                           71                         73               72               73
                                                                         69                  71                     70
ing more about the American                                     68                   66             67      67                         65      67               66                                  66
                                                                                64                                                                                              64
Revolution. In fact, after having                                                                                                61
taken the test, 70 percent of
Americans said they are interested
in increasing their knowledge of
the American Revolution.
Interest in learning more about
the American Revolution is lower
among older Americans, who may
have felt that they already know
a sufficient amount. (See the
next finding.)
                                                               All

                                                                       east

                                                                                     th

                                                                                       t

                                                                                               t

                                                                                                   e

                                                                                                            ale

                                                                                                                   4

                                                                                                                          9

                                                                                                                                50+

                                                                                                                                      <50K

                                                                                                                                              99K

                                                                                                                                                     K

                                                                                                                                                            ge

                                                                                                                                                                      ege

                                                                                                                                                                               t

                                                                                                                                                                                       can

                                                                                                                                                                                                t
                                                                                   wes

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                                                                                                                                                                                               den
                                                                                                                  18-3

                                                                                                                         35-4
                                                                                                   Mal




                                                                                                                                                    >100
                                                                              Sou




                                                                                                                                                           olle
                                                                                                         Fem




                                                                                                                                             50K-




                                                                                                                                                                     Coll



                                                                                                                                                                                      ubli
                                                                         th




                                                                                                                                                                                              pen
                                                                               Mid




                                                                                                                                                                            Dem
                                                                     Nor




                                                                                                                                                           -C




                                                                                                                                                                                  Rep

                                                                                                                                                                                             Inde
                                                                                                                                                       Non




   Interested
   Not Interested



19 •   The American Revolution. Who Cares? Americans are yearning to learn, failing to know.
Misplaced Confidence
When asked to assign a grade
to their own knowledge and
familiarity with the American
Revolution, Americans expressed
confidence. Three of 4 gave them-
selves a “B” or “C,” and another
11 percent graded themselves
with an “A.” This was before they
were asked specific questions
about the Revolution.                                              What letter grade would you give yourself regarding your own knowledge and familiarity
                                                                   with letter grade would you give yourself
                                                                  Whatthe American Revolution – A, B, C, D or F? regarding your own knowledge and familiar-
Americans aged 50+ were equally                                   ity with the American Revolution - A, B, C, D or F?
as confident as others. Americans                                                                            1      1
                                                                     1         1     2                                                 2                              1        1               1
in the Northeast, those aged 18-                                     3         3     3
                                                                                               2
                                                                                                     4       2      4     8            2
                                                                                                                                              2
                                                                                                                                              3       5               4        2
                                                                                                                                                                                        2              5
                                                                                               8             4                   8                          10                                 8
34, and those making $100,000+,                                      8         4
                                                                                    12               6             12                  7
                                                                                                                                              8       7               8        7       10
                                                                                                                                                                                                       8
                                                                           40                               39            38     11
gave themselves the highest                                         40
                                                                                           49
                                                                                                     32                                42            45     36                32       40
                                                                                                                                                                                               36
                                                                                                                                             38                       42                               45
letter grade when it comes to                                                       39                             41
                                                                                                                                 39
knowledge and familiarity with
the American Revolution. People
aged 35-49 had the highest pro-
pensity to give themselves an “F.”                                                                   44                                                                       43
                                                                                                            41            40                                                                   47
(As it turns out, they were the                                            38                                                                               36
                                                                    37                                                                 36    37                                        34
most realistic.)                                                                    33                                                               38               35
                                                                                           35                      34            36                                                                    32




                                                                                                                                                            17
       A                                                                   14                        13     13            14                                                  14       14
                                                                    11              11                                                 12    12
       B                                                                                                           9                                                  10                       8       10
                                                                                           7                                     6                    5
       C
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                                                                                                                                                          >100




       D
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       F
                                                                         Nor




                                                                                                                                                                 -C




                                                                                                                                                                                         Rep

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                                                                                                                                                             Non




       Don’t know




20 •       The American Revolution. Who Cares? Americans are yearning to learn, failing to know.
Poor Performance
The survey included 27 specific questions about the American
Revolution, focusing on key documents, events, people, and ideas of
the period. Of the 27 questions asked, the average American was able
to answer only 12 of them correctly. That’s an accuracy rate of 44
percent, well below the “B” or “C” grade that Americans believed was
a reflection of their knowledge before answering the actual questions.
Republicans tested above average and outperformed Democrats.
Men performed slightly better than the average, as did people on
the East and West Coasts. The only groups, however, that scored
over 50 percent on basic knowledge of the American Revolution
were college-educated Americans and those who earn over
$100,000 annually.
                 Showing Mean scores based on 27 questions relating to American Revolution

                          Showing Mean scores based on 27 questions relating to the American Revolution
                                                                                                                                                                                   54
                                                                                                                                                                                                           52

                                              46                                   46          46                                                                      46                                                           47
                                  44                                                                                   45          44          44                                                                                               45
                                                          43          42                                   42                                                                                                           42
                                                                                                                                                           40                                  41




                                                                                                                                                                            14.6                    14.1
                           11.9        12.5        11.5        11.4         12.4        12.5        11.3        12.1        11.8        11.8                    12.5                                                         12.7        12.1
                                                                                                                                                    10.7                                11.2                     11.3
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   Mean Score
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Rep

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                                                                                                                                                                               Non




   % Correct




21 •   The American Revolution. Who Cares? Americans are yearning to learn, failing to know.
Knowledge of Subject-Specific Questions
The following section considers
                                                               Is the Bill of Rights part of:
subject-specific questions asked
of Americans and explores their                               Is the Bill of Rights part of:
responses by subgroup.                                                                                                         1                                                                    4
                                                                 6        3       6                 7      4                                6       6       5         7       2          8                    4
                                                                                             9                   8       6     7     9                                                              8
A red star H indicates the correct                                        7                                8                                                                   8                              5
                                                                 7                5                 8                                                       7
                                                                          3                10                     6      8     6      7     6       9                 7                 10          1         5
answer to each question.                                                          4                       3                                                                    3
                                                                  4      32                         3             4      1                  5       3      18         4                            23
                                                                                  25                      31                   23     3                                       19                              31
                                                                 26                          5     27                   33                                                               5
                                                                                                                                                                     29
Questions about Documents of                                                               23
                                                                                                                 22                  24     29      26
                                                                                                                                                                                        24
the American Revolution                                                                                                                                    70
                                                                                                                                                                              67                   66
Across the board, the majority of                                                                                              62
                                                                                  60                             59
Americans knew that the Bill of                                  57
                                                                         55                54
                                                                                                   56
                                                                                                          54
                                                                                                                                     57             56                                                        55
                                                                                                                                            53                       53                 54
Rights is part of the U.S. Consti-                                                                                      51
tution, with 70 percent of adults
at the higher income level answer-
ing correctly.

   U.S. Constitution H
   Declaration of Independence
   Gettysburg Address
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   Articles of Confederation
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                                                                                                                                                         >100
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                                                                                                                                                                                   Dem
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                                                                                                                                                                                             Rep

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                                                                                                                                                            Non
As earlier noted, only 12 percent                              The most important consequence of the Boston Tea party was
of Americans answered this                                    The most important consequence of the Boston Tea Party was:
question correctly. Even the
majority of college-educated and                                 9          9     8        7       10            8      9
                                                                                                                               5     11    10       9      4         9        7         7          12         5
                                                                                                          9
people at the higher income levels                                                                                             13                          22
                                                                                                                                                                             16      13                       11
                                                                                  9        13                    10     13                         12               11
mistakenly believed that the                                    12       14                        15     14                         11     9                                                      14
Boston Tea Party resulted in the                                                 17                              17            22
                                                                                                                                           16                                        17
                                                                                                                                                                                                              16
                                                                17                         20                                        14            19               17
repeal of the tax on tea. Rather, it                                     15
                                                                                                   16
                                                                                                          18            17                                                   18
                                                                                                                                                                                                   21
                                                                                                                                                           20
provoked Parliament to enact the                                                                                                                                                                              12
Coercive Acts, which prompted                                   10      10
                                                                                  9                              10
                                                                                                                               12
                                                                                                                                     11    12                       11               13
                                                                                           15             10            8                          11                         8
the strengthening of American                                                    56
                                                                                                   8
                                                                                                                                                            3
                                                                                                                 55                                                                                6          56
resistance and the calling of the                               52      52                         51                   53           53    53
                                                                                                                                                   50      51       52       51      51
                                                                                                          49                   49                                                                  48
First Continental Congress.                                                               45




   Repeal of the tax on tea
   Failure of the other colonies to
   support Boston’s action
   Opening negotiations between
   Britain and Massachusetts
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22 •   The American Revolution. Who Cares? Americans are yearning to learn, failing to know.
The majority of Americans                                    Which document outlines the division of powers between the states
                                                              Which document outlines the division of powers between the states and the federal government?
knew that the U.S. Constitution                              and the federal government?
outlines the division of power                                                                                                                                                2
                                                                                           4                           3                          4      3         7                    3
between the states and the fed-                                 5        6       6
                                                                                           7
                                                                                                 5      4      6
                                                                                                                      11
                                                                                                                             5     8      7
                                                                                                                                                  5      7                    2                   8        6
                                                                         2                       7      5                    6                                               83         7                  5
eral government, with more than                                 6                8                             8                    3     7
                                                                                                                                                 67      82
                                                                                                                                                                   8
                                                                                                                                                                                                  8
                                                                        57             59               63                   69    55                                                 57
80 percent of college-educated                                  60
                                                                                58
                                                                                                 67
                                                                                                               58     58                 50                       53
                                                                                                                                                                                                           61
                                                                                                                                                                                                  64
and higher-income Americans
answering correctly.




                                                                                                                                          4
                                                                           5            2                                          4                               4                   3
                                                                4                                              4                         32
                                                                        29       4     29               4             6            30                             29                  29                   6
                                                                24                                             24                                 6
                                                                                23               5      23            22     3                                                                    3        22
                                                                                                                             17                  18                                               17
   Declaration of Independence                                                                   16                                                                           4
                                                                                                                                                         2
   Marshall Plan                                                                                                                                         7                    9

   U.S. Constitution H
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   Homestead Act
                                                                                                             Fem




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                                                                                                                                                                                            Rep

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Inde
                                                                                                                                                          Non
                                                              The last major military action of the American Revolution was at:
Questions about Events in the                                The last major military action of the American Revolution was at:
American Revolution
                                                                                15     19        15     13     18     17     11    17     15      20                   15               12          18        16
                                                                15      10                                                                                7                   16
Only about a third of all Ameri-
cans correctly identifed Yorktown,                                                                                                                        47
                                                                        43                                                   34                                                         31
                                                                                                        36                                                             31
Virginia as the last major military                             33              38               22            30     28           36
                                                                                                                                          29
                                                                                                                                                                              40                              31
                                                                                       30                                                         34                                                33
action of the American Revolution.
Those in the Northeast and higher
income Americans were most                                                                       20
likely to correctly identify this                                                                                                         16                                            14
                                                                                                                      16     16                                        16
important event.                                                15                     15               15
                                                                                                               15                                                                                             13
                                                                                                                                                                                                    20
                                                                        12      13                                                 13             14      11                  12        12
                                                                                                 12
                                                                                                                      14      9           10                           10                                     11
                                                                10                     10               10     10
                                                                        11       8                                                  9             11      10
                                                                                                 31                          31           30                                  10        31            8
                                                                27                                             28                                                      29                                     29
                                                                                26     26               26            26           25
                                                                        24                                                                        22      24
                                                                                                                                                                              21                    21



   Bunker Hill
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   Saratoga
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                                                                     Nor




                                                                                                                                                                  -C




                                                                                                                                                                                            Rep

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                                                                                                                                                              Non




   Yorktown H
   Don’t know




23 •   The American Revolution. Who Cares? Americans are yearning to learn, failing to know.
The first ten amendments to                                    Which of the following rights is not protected by the Bill of Rights?
                                                                Which of the following rights is not protected by the Bill of Rights?
our Constitution are known as
the Bill of Rights, which spells
                                                                                                                          2     5                          2                2
out the immunities of individual                                  7         8     9         6     4      6       7                    12     9       5
                                                                                                                                                           44        8                5         7        7
                                                                                                                         43     34                  49                     54
citizens and protects them from                                  39     44
                                                                                         32       47     38      39                                                                33           42       40
                                                                                 35                                                         31                      34
the kind of tyranny and violation                                                                                                     39
that incited the Revolutionary
War. But this question caused
some confusion among Ameri-
cans. Although nearly 40 percent                                                         14                                     15          23                                     28
answered correctly that the                                      17              23                      20                                                11       18
                                                                                                                                                                                                         10
                                                                                                                 15      15
Bill of Rights does not protect                                         20               42       9                                   20
                                                                                                                                                                                                14
                                                                                                                                42                  10
the right to vote, more than 30                                                                                                                            39              13                            39
                                                                                                  35             32      32
percent thought it is trial by jury                              32
                                                                                                         31                                 30      32              32                          35
that is not protected. The Bill of                                               26                                                                                        29      25
                                                                        24                                                            23
Rights does indeed protect the
right to a fair trial.

   Freedom of speech                                              6               7      6                        7      7            6      7       5               7                8
                                                                            4                     5       5                     5                          5                2                   2        5
   Trial by jury
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                                                                                                                                                         >100
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   The right to bear arms
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   Right to vote H




                                                                                                                                                                                          Rep

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Inde
                                                                                                                                                            Non
   Don’t know

                                                                Which of the following events most directly encouraged the states to send
The vast majority of Americans                                               following events most directly encouraged the
                                                               Which of thethe Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787?states to send delegates to
                                                                delegates to
could not correctly identify the                               the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787?
event that most directly influenced
the Constitutional Convention of                                 29     22       32      27       32     23      35      27     23    36    25      38     25
                                                                                                                                                                    29     31      26           33       28
1787. Many mistakenly chose the
Boston Massacre, which occurred
in 1770, and nearly one third
                                                                        25                                                      16
would not venture a guess.                                                               15
                                                                                                         16
                                                                                                                         20                 13             24                      19
                                                                                                                                                                    14                                   12
Fewer than 1 in 4 Americans                                      15
                                                                                  7               18
                                                                                                                                                                           17
                                                                                                                 13                                                                             15
correctly picked Shays’ Rebellion,                                                                                              12    9
                                                                                                         9                                   9      12
                                                                                 13         8                                                                                                            8
the 1786-87 armed uprising in                                                                                                                                       10
                                                                  9                                                                   8                                            12
                                                                            8                                    9       9                  40                              8                   6        38
western Massachusetts that                                                       37
                                                                                         38       5      36
                                                                                                                                37                  10     6
                                                                                                                                                                    36
                                                                 35                                                                   36                                   34
encouraged states to send                                               27                        36             35      33                                31                      33           33
                                                                                                                                                    29
delegates to the Constitutional
Convention. As with many other
questions, Americans from the
Northeast and from higher income                                        18
                                                                                                         15                                                                                              14
levels performed the best on                                     12
                                                                                 10
                                                                                         12                              11
                                                                                                                                13    11    12      11
                                                                                                                                                           13       12     11      10
                                                                                                                                                                                                12
                                                                                                  9               9
this question.
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       The Whiskey Rebellion
                                                                      thea

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       The Boston Massacre
                                                                      Nor




                                                                                                                                                                                          Rep

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Inde
                                                                                                                                                            Non




       Bacon’s Rebellion
       Shays’ Rebellion H
       Don’t know


24 •    The American Revolution. Who Cares? Americans are yearning to learn, failing to know.
                                                              Which of the following was responsible for declaring America's independence from
The Second Continental Congress                                     of the
                                                             WhichBritain? following was responsible for declaring America’s independence
                                                              Great
convened in Philadelphia in                                  from Great Britain?
1775, following armed clashes
between British and American                                    19     10       20     24
                                                                                              19     14     24     11     20    24    16      23     21        20     16      20           15       21
forces in Massachusetts. It
                                                                       53
declared American independence                                                                       52
                                                                                                                   46
                                                                                                                                                                                           57
                                                                                                                                      39                              57
from Great Britain the following                                44              43
                                                                                              42
                                                                                                                          41                                   40             40                    43
                                                                                                                                                     60
year. Only a little more than                                                          42
                                                                                                            38                  46            46
40 percent of Americans could
correctly identify the Congress as
the body that declared American
Independence, and remarkably,
more than 20 percent ascribed                                                                                      26
                                                                                                                                      28
                                                                                              22                                                               23             30
this act to the British House                                   22
                                                                       23       20                   21
                                                                                                            23            20
                                                                                                                                                                                                    22
                                                                                       24
of Commons.                                                                                                                     20            18                                           12
                                                                                                                                                                      18

                                                                                              12                          15                         8                                     13
                                                                                16                          12     14                 12                       13
                                                                11         9                         11                                                                                             12
   The Albany Congress                                                                                                                        10     10                7         9
                                                                                       6                                        6
   The Stamp Act Congress                                       3          6     1     3      6       3     4      3      4     3      5       2     1         4       3         2         4        3
   The House of Commons
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                                                                                     Mid




                                                                                                                                                                           Dem
                                                                     Nor




                                                                                                                                                                                     Rep
   Don’t know




                                                                                                                                                                                             Inde
                                                                                                                                                      Non
                                                              Which of the following conflicts most directly led to the Stamp Act?

This question revealed striking    Which of the following conflicts most directly led to the Stamp Act?
evidence of Americans’ failure
to understand basic historical      26  19    26   36 22    21   31   19 23     34   25    33
                                                                                                18  27                                                                24      25           32       22
chronology. The 1765 Stamp Act,
enacted by the British Parliament
following the French and Indian         30                  28
                                                                      38                        39
                                                       34                  20
War, provoked the first wide-       26        24                                     25             24
                                                                                                                                                                      32      23                    23
spread intercolonial resistance to                               23                        20                                                                                              32
                                                   16                           21
British authority. Only a quarter
of Americans answered correctly.                                            7
                                                                                                                                                                              13                    7
More recently schooled adults           16    6             11             46                       10
                                     9              7                                 8    11
                                                                  7                                                                                                                                 41
under 34 tended to fare better                39
                                                   39
                                                        9              9
                                                                                 9
                                                                                     37          7
                                                                                                                                                                       6
                                    36                      35                                      36
when asked this question,                              31
                                                                 36
                                                                                33         35                                                                         34      34           3
                                        33                            29                        32
as did Americans at higher                                                                                                                                                                 31
income levels.

   The War of the Roses
                                                                4          2     6     3      5       5     3      5      4     3      5       2     3         4       4         5         2        6
   The War of 1812
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   The Mexican-American War
                                                                                      wes

                                                                                            Wes




                                                                                                                                                                            ocra



                                                                                                                                                                                                den
                                                                                                                 18-3

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                                                                                                    Mal




                                                                                                                                                   >100
                                                                     thea

                                                                               Sou




                                                                                                                                                          olle
                                                                                                          Fem




                                                                                                                                            50K-




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                                                                                                                                                                                      ubli

                                                                                                                                                                                                pen




   The French and Indian War (aka The 7 Years War) H
                                                                                     Mid




                                                                                                                                                                           Dem
                                                                     Nor




                                                                                                                                                          -C




                                                                                                                                                                                     Rep

                                                                                                                                                                                             Inde
                                                                                                                                                      Non




   Don’t know




25 •   The American Revolution. Who Cares? Americans are yearning to learn, failing to know.
                                                               Benjamin Franklin epitomized which movement in colonial America?

Questions about People of the                                 Benjamin Franklin epitomized which movement in colonial America?
Revolutionary War Period                                                                                                                                                        22         12        26
                                                                22         20     24        21       21           21         23        14        21        29        26                                       12         20        21          23
In spite of the deep influence
that ideas from the eighteenth-                                                                                                                                                            20                 14
                                                                                                                                       18
century Enlightenment exerted
                                                                17         18               22       17           18                             21                             16                                       18        10
on the Founders, only about                                                       13                                         16
                                                                                                                                                                     17                              18       15
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               20
25 percent of Americans overall                                                                                                        13
                                                                                                                                                           13                              13                                      19
could correctly associate                                                         18                    9                    13                                                 18                                       13
                                                                15      15                                        19
Benjamin Franklin with this                                                                 19                                         19
                                                                                                                                                 14        19        15                    16        16       23                               17
                                                                                                     22
vital body of thought. As with                                                                                                                                                                                           22        23
                                                                                                                             21
many questions on the survey,                                   20         19     21
                                                                                                                 18                              21                  19
                                                                                                                                                                                23
                                                                                                                                                                                           40        19                                        14
college educated and higher                                                                 16                                         36
                                                                                                                                                           19
                                                                                                                                                                                                              36
income adults demonstrated a                                                                         31
higher level of understanding.                                  26      27
                                                                                  24                              24
                                                                                                                             27                                                                                          27        27          26
                                                                                                                                                 22                  23         22                   22
                                                                                            21                                                             20


   The Enlightenment H
   The Great Awakening
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                                                                                                                                  18-3

                                                                                                                                            35-4
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                                                                                                                                                                                         >100
                                                                      thea

                                                                                Sou




                                                                                                                       Fem

   The Loyalist Movement




                                                                                                                                                                           50K-




                                                                                                                                                                                                            Coll



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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         pen
                                                                                       Mid




                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Dem
                                                                     Nor




                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Rep
   The Glorious Revolution




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Inde
                                                                                                                                                                                            Non
   Don’t know




Roughly half of all Americans                                  Who wrote the influential pamphlet called “Common Sense” which advocated
                                                              Who wrote the influential pamphlet called “Common Sense” which advocated independence from Britain?
could correctly credit Thomas                                 independence from Britain?
Paine as the author of “Common
Sense,” the Revolutionary pam-                                  13
                                                                           7     14
                                                                                        16         12        11         14        7         15        16        14     12         10        13         11      10
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            18      9
phlet that inspired many patriots                                      50                                                         54
                                                                                                                                                                                  60                                                62
                                                                                                             50                                                                                        61      40
to support the movement for                                     50               51                45                   50                  50        47        43     57
                                                                                                                                                                                            46
                                                                                        54                                                                                                                                  52
American Independence.
College-educated and higher
income Americans, as well as
political Independents, performed
slightly better on this question.
                                                                                                                                                                                                               16
                                                                       14                          14                                                           14
                                                                                                             10                   13                                                        11
                                                                                  6                                                                   8
                                                                9                                                       9                   9                              3                                      7
                                                                                  8                                                                   6                              5                 4                    6
                                                                7      11                   7      6         8                                                  9          7                    8                                   7
                                                                                                                        7         7         9                                        4                         26           6
                                                                                         5                                                            24                                               6
                                                                                 22                22        21                                                        21         21        21                                      8
                                                                20                                                      20        19                            20                                                          19
                                                                       18               17                                                  17                                                         18
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    14


   Patrick Henry
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                                                                                                                                            9

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                                                                                                                                                                                          lege

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                               den




   Edmund Burke
                                                                                                                              18-3

                                                                                                                                       35-4
                                                                                                            Mal




                                                                                                                                                                               >100
                                                                     thea

                                                                                Sou




                                                                                                                  Fem




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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ubli
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                                                                                      Mid




                                                                                                                                                                                                            Dem




   Paul Revere
                                                                     Nor




                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Rep

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Inde
                                                                                                                                                                                     Non




   Thomas Paine H
   Don’t know



26 •   The American Revolution. Who Cares? Americans are yearning to learn, failing to know.
                                                               Who took detailed notes at the Constitutional Convention and is widely regarded
Only slightly more than half                                 Who took detailed notes at the Constitutional Convention and is widely regarded as the
                                                              as the “Father of the Constitution?”
of Americans could correctly                                 “Father of the Constitution?”
identify James Madison as the                                                                            2                                                              2
                                                                 5         4     6      5        3                                                              6                            3       4
“Father of the Constitution” from                                                                21     23
                                                                                                               7      18     5     8      6       5     20             22         7
                                                                                                                                                                                            21
                                                                23     22              31                                                                                                            27
a list of historical figures that                                               20                             23            29    23    26      20             24             21
included Abraham Lincoln and
                                                                                                                      7
Britain’s World War II leader                                                                    5
                                                                                                                                                        5               2
                                                                                                         4                                       3                                          7
Winston Churchill. Madison                                       6         7     7                                    59                                66             70         6                  2
                                                                                                 60     57     7                   4             67             7
was the principal author of the                                 54     53       50         4                                 7     54
                                                                                                                                          7
                                                                                                                                                                               53
                                                                                                                                                                                            57
                                                                                                                                                                                                     54
Constitution, and his meticulous                                                       53
                                                                                                               51
                                                                                                                                         42
                                                                                                                                                                48
                                                                                                                             47
notes remain the most detailed
account we have of the debates
and discussions that produced
the framework of our national
government.

                                                                                17                                                       19
                                                                       14                                             16                                        15
                                                                13                                      14     12                                                              13           12       13
   Abraham Lincoln                                                                               11                          11    11
                                                                                       7                                                                8               5
   James Madison H                                                                                                                                4
   Winston Churchill
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                                                                                                                                                      >100
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                                                                                                             Fem



   George Washington




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                                                                                                                                                                                              Inde
                                                                                                                                                         Non




                                                                                                       Bicentennial Teacup:
                                                                                                       1976 commemorative teacup produced by an English
                                                                                                       manufacturer established in 1775. From the Collection of
                                                                                                       The American Revolution Center.




27 •   The American Revolution. Who Cares? Americans are yearning to learn, failing to know.
                                                               Who was the first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court?
Only 11 percent of all Americans                              Who was the first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court?
knew that John Jay was the first
Supreme Court Justice. People in                                       22
                                                                                                                    8                                                           8
                                                                                                     12
the Northeast performed twice as                                11           10
                                                                                                             11                  16
                                                                                                                                        9             14
                                                                                                                                                              9
                                                                                                                                                                     19
                                                                                              8                     9      9                                                    9         14       11
well as the average American in                                                         8
                                                                                                                                        6
                                                                                                                                               14

recognizing the New York-                                        7
                                                                              8
                                                                                        6     11     7
                                                                                                                    37                                        8
                                                                                                                                                                             26
                                                                       3                                     8             8           29             6
born justice.                                                                33                      25                          6             10                     5                   7
                                                                                                                                                                                                   7
                                                                27     15           25                                                                27      27
                                                                                                             28            28                                                                      27
                                                                                              27                                 17                                  24
                                                                                                                                                                                          27
                                                                                                                                               23
                                                                       47
                                                                                                                                                                             42
                                                                                                                                 40
                                                                                    37               38                                38
                                                                35                                                                                    34      35     34
                                                                                              31             32     32     32                                                                      32
                                                                             30                                                                30                                         29




   Alexander Hamilton
   John Marshall
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                                                                                                                                                    >100
                                                                     thea

                                                                            Sou




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   Charles Evans Hughes




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   John Jay H




                                                                                                          French Gorget:
                                                                                                          Worn around the neck of European officers as a sign
                                                                                                          of rank, this officer’s gorget displays the royal arms
                                                                                                          of France. From the Collection of The American
                                                                                                          Revolution Center.


28 •   The American Revolution. Who Cares? Americans are yearning to learn, failing to know.
                                                               Which of the following are the inalienable rights stated in the Declaration of Independence?
Questions about Ideas from                                    Which of the following are the inalienable rights stated in the
                                                              Declaration of Independence?
the Revolutionary Period
                                                                          1                          1      1                 3             3                               4                                3                    2         3
More than 80 percent knew the                                     4                          5                        6                            5          4                       3            4                   5
                                                                         79       6                 80     82                              84                              84                               83                   88        85
                                                                 81                         92                               78                   81         76                      93           81
inalienable rights stated in the                                                  76                               80                                                                                                 72
Declaration of Independence:
life, liberty, and the pursuit
of happiness. 90 percent of
Midwesterners and people at
higher income levels answered
this question correctly, and
Republicans and Independents
outperformed Democrats.



                                                                                                                                                                                                                       9
                                                                         11                         8                        10                                  9
                                                                  6               6                        6                                          4
                                                                                                                      7                     6                              5                      6         7                              4
                                                                                                    8      7                                                     9                                                    11         4
                                                                  6         7     7                                              7                    6                    4                      7         4                    1         7
                                                                                                                      5                     5                                            1
       Life, liberty and property                                 3         1     4      21         3      4          2          2          2         4          2         4         2            2         4          2         5         2
       Honor, liberty and peace
                                                                All

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                                                                                                                                                                                >100
                                                                       thea

                                                                                Sou




       Life, respect and equal protection
                                                                                                                Fem




                                                                                                                                                                     50K-




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                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Dem
                                                                      Nor




       Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness H




                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Rep

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Inde
                                                                                                                                                                                         Non
       Don’t know




While Americans repeatedly                                    The U.S. Constitution establishes which of the following forms of government in the
                                                               The US Constitution establishes which of the following forms of government in the
                                                               United States?
                                                              United States?
pledge allegiance to the flag
and to “the Republic for which                                                                                                                                                  1
                                                                            4                                               3                                                                           3                    2        4
it stands,” only 40 percent of                                    5               5         5      6       5      5                    4          6         6          5        93            5                   7          1
                                                                            1     2                                         3                     1                              6           1          3                             2
Americans overall knew that the                                   1
                                                                            6               7      2      8       2
                                                                                                                            16
                                                                                                                                       6
                                                                                                                                                  4
                                                                                                                                                           76         1
                                                                                                                                                                                51                      3         2         6
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      7
                                                                  8              11                               9                                                   44                     10                             49
U.S. Constitution established                                           40               40        7
                                                                                                          49                           42        45
                                                                                                                                                           13                                          48        11
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      44
                                                                 42
a republic, and just as many                                                     41
                                                                                                   47             35                                                                         40
                                                                                                                                                           38                                                    35
incorrectly thought it established                                                                                          39
a direct democracy.



                                                                        49               49                       48                   47                             49
                                                                 43                                                                              44                                                    43        45
                                                                                                                                                                                42           43                             42        43
                                                                                 41                                         39                             41
                                                                                                   37     38




       A Direct Democracy
       A Republic H
                                                                All

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                                                                                           t

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                                                                                                                           4

                                                                                                                                      9

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 den
                                                                                                                          18-3

                                                                                                                                     35-4
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                                                                                                                                                                            >100




       A Confederacy
                                                                      thea

                                                                                Sou




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                                                                                                                                                                                                                       ubli
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                                                                                      Mid




                                                                                                                                                                                                            Dem




       An Oligarchy
                                                                      Nor




                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Rep

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Inde
                                                                                                                                                                                 Non




       Don’t know


29 •    The American Revolution. Who Cares? Americans are yearning to learn, failing to know.
John Locke’s concept of the “con-                              John Locke developed the concept of “consent of the governed, ” an important
                                                              John Lockedeveloped the concept of the the “consent of the governed,” an important
                                                               principle underlying the War for Independence, in a theory known as:
sent of the governed” is a funda-                             principle underlying the War for Independence, in a theory known as:
mental underpinning of America’s
constitutional system. The framers                              17     16       18       22      10
                                                                                                        12     22     14     14    22    16             14        18     13      15           19       15
                                                                                                                                                 20
of both the Declaration of Inde-
pendence and the Constitution                                                                    13     16
                                                                                                                      10     16                         12               18      18
                                                                                                                                         15                                                            12
drew on this tenet of Natural Law                               14     19
                                                                                15                                                                                13                          13
                                                                                                                                   16            15
philosophy to justify separation                                                           9     52            12     51                                51
                                                                                                        52                                                                                             55
from Britain and create a system                                47                       52                                  45          46                       48     44      44           45
                                                                                43                             43
of government “of the people.”                                         44
                                                                                                                                   46
                                                                                                                                                 47
Yet only 17 percent of Americans
could correctly associate Locke’s
idea with this influential body of
philosophy. Adults under 35 were
slightly more likely to answer
                                                                                                                      3                                                   1
correctly, but most Americans                                    5
                                                                                                 3
                                                                                                               6             6
                                                                                                                                          7
                                                                                                                                                         1
                                                                                                                                                                         24
                                                                                                                                                                                    4         5
                                                                        2        7               21     4             22                                23        6
chose the incorrect answer of Great                             17     18                4              17     17            19    4
                                                                                                                                                  2                              20           18
                                                                                                                                                                                                        4
                                                                                16                                                       16      15               15
Britain’s Common Law.                                                                   13                                         12
                                                                                                                                                                                                       14


       Natural Law H
                                                               All

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                                                                                                                     4

                                                                                                                            9

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                                                                                                                    18-3

                                                                                                                           35-4
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                                                                                                                                                      >100
       Law of Relativity
                                                                     thea

                                                                               Sou




                                                                                                             Fem




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                                                                                                                                                                       Coll



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                                                                                     Mid




                                                                                                                                                                              Dem
       Common Law
                                                                     Nor




                                                                                                                                                                                        Rep

                                                                                                                                                                                                Inde
                                                                                                                                                         Non
       Statutory Law
       Don’t know




More than 70 percent of Americans                              Which the following nations played an important role in helping the colonies defeat
                                                              Which of the following nations played an important role in helping the colonies
knew that France helped to secure                              defeat the in the American Revolution?
                                                              the British British in the American Revolution?
American independence and defeat
Great Britain. An even higher                                    6
                                                                           3     6       10      4      5      7      3                   6             4         7
                                                                                                                                                                          2
                                                                                                                                                                                    5         8        4
                                                                                                                             6     8              7                      82
number of college-educated Amer-                                       74       72               76     79            78
                                                                                                                                         71             79                       73                    74
                                                                73                                             68            73                  73               70                          76
icans—80 percent—were aware of                                                           72                                        69
this international dimension of the
American Revolution.




                                                                        2                                      7                   2
                                                                        3        6                                                        7                       6              3
                                                                 5                               7                    7       7    5              4     1                        4            1        9
                                                                       18        6       5              3      6                                                  6       4
                                                                 5                                                                 15     5       6     7                                     6
                                                                                         4              5                     3                                           4      14                    7
                                                                                11               8             12     7                  11                       11
       Canada                                                   10                       9                                   10                   9     9                 8                   10
                                                                                                 5       8            5                                                                                6
       Mexico
                                                               All

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                                                                                                                     4

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                                                                                                                                                                                                   den
                                                                                                                    18-3

                                                                                                                           35-4




       Denmark
                                                                                                       Mal




                                                                                                                                                      >100
                                                                     thea

                                                                               Sou




                                                                                                                                                             olle
                                                                                         w




                                                                                                             Fem




                                                                                                                                               50K-




                                                                                                                                                                       Coll



                                                                                                                                                                                         ubli

                                                                                                                                                                                                   pen
                                                                                     Mid




                                                                                                                                                                              Dem




       France H
                                                                     Nor




                                                                                                                                                             -C




                                                                                                                                                                                        Rep

                                                                                                                                                                                                Inde
                                                                                                                                                         Non




       Don’t know

30 •   The American Revolution. Who Cares? Americans are yearning to learn, failing to know.
                                                                Which of the following phrases are the opening words to the US Constitution?
Nearly 80 percent knew that                                    Which of the following phrases are the opening words to the U.S. Constitution?
the U.S. Constitution begins                                                            10                                       6
                                                                  6                                      5       7                           6             4        7      2
with the words “We the People.”                                   3
                                                                            3     6     1         2
                                                                                                         6       1       8       1    8
                                                                                                                                             6
                                                                                                                                                     7
                                                                                                                                                            2       4      5       5           2        4
                                                                            5     4     7         9                              5    2              5
Republicans and Independents                                     10                                      10      9              84          14             77      11     86        4          9        7
                                                                        10       12     81                               9            14            85
surpassed the Democrats on the                                                                    80
                                                                                                                 78                                                                12          82       82
                                                                 77
correct answer to this question.                                        76       75
                                                                                                         77              78
                                                                                                                                      72
                                                                                                                                                                   75
                                                                                                                                            74
                                                                                                                                                                                   68




                                                                                                                                                           18
       When in the course of human events                                               11                        9                                                                  9
                                                                  8                               9                      6      9     8              6             8       7                   7        7
                                                                            6     5                       6                                  5
       We the People H
       Fourscore and seven years ago
                                                                All

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                                                                                                                       18-3

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                                                                                                                                                         >100
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                                                                                                                                                                                          ubli
       I have a dream




                                                                                                                                                                -Col




                                                                                                                                                                                                    pen
                                                                                      Mid




                                                                                                                                                                               Dem
                                                                      Nor




                                                                                                                                                                                         Rep

                                                                                                                                                                                                 Inde
                                                                                                                                                            Non
       Don’t know



                                                                Which of the following events came BEFORE the Declaration of Independence?

Less than half of Americans could                              Which of the following events came BEFORE the Declaration of Independence?
correctly place the Declaration of
                                                                                                          3               3                                                                    4        3
Independence in a basic chronol-                                  7         5     8         8      5
                                                                                                         15
                                                                                                                 10
                                                                                                                         24
                                                                                                                                6     10     7       8     5
                                                                                                                                                                   7       4       11
                                                                                                  11                                                       5               8                   14       9
ogy of historical events stretching                              14     13       20     11                                      9           20       9             16
                                                                                                                 14                   11                    8
from the 17th century founding of                                                                                               19                         2
                                                                                                                                                                          14       18                   22
                                                                                                  17     22                                         24
Jamestown, Virginia through the                                  18
                                                                        19              23
                                                                                                                                      15                   80
                                                                                                                                                                                               19
American Civil War of 1861-65.                                                   16
                                                                                                                 14      22                 18
                                                                                                                                                                   19      3
                                                                                                                                                                          70       13
Nearly one-third of Americans                                                                     10                            13                                                                      15
                                                                                                                                      12
believed that the Emancipation                                   12     16                               10      14
                                                                                                                                                     8
                                                                                                                                                                                               9
                                                                                            8                                                                                      11
Proclamation or the Civil War                                                    13               57
                                                                                                                                            17
                                                                                                                                                                   15
                                                                                                                                                                                               54
                                                                                                         51              11     53    52            52                                                  51
occurred before the Declaration.                                 49                     51
                                                                                                                 48                                                                47
                                                                        46
College-educated and higher                                                      44
                                                                                                                         41                                        42
income Americans were most                                                                                                                  38
likely to answer correctly.
                                                                All

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                                                                                 th

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                                                                                                                 ale

                                                                                                                        4

                                                                                                                               9

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                                                                                                                       18-3

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                                                                                                                                                         >100
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       Founding of Jamestown, VA H
                                                                                                                                                                -Col




                                                                                                                                                                                                    pen
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                                                                                                                                                                               Dem
                                                                      Nor




                                                                                                                                                                                         Rep

                                                                                                                                                                                                 Inde




       The Civil War
                                                                                                                                                            Non




       The Emancipation Proclamation
       The War of 1812
       Don’t know



31 •    The American Revolution. Who Cares? Americans are yearning to learn, failing to know.
                                                                  How many states were there after the United States won its independence from
                                                                  Britain?
After the United States won its                                  How many states were there after the United States won its independence from Britain?
independence from Great Britain,                                                                                                                            1                                      4       1
there were 13 states—a fact that                                     4      1        4
                                                                                               6
                                                                                                     3       3
                                                                                                                   5
                                                                                                                           3      2
                                                                                                                                       6      6
                                                                                                                                                      2     1
                                                                                                                                                            2
                                                                                                                                                                      5       2
                                                                                                                                                                              4         6          3
                                                                           11                        5      10            8      11                   5                                                    12
80 percent of Americans knew.                                        9               7
                                                                                           13         3            7                    7             3     94        10      3
                                                                                                                                                                                     12
                                                                                                                                                                                                   2
                                                                                                                          3                  13                              89                   88
Americans in the Midwest,                                            4         5
                                                                                    4                88      3     5      84     6     3             86                4                                    3
                                                                                    79                      80
Democrats, and those with                                           80
                                                                           79               2                      80
                                                                                                                                 76
                                                                                                                                       80     4                       77                5                  81
incomes lower than $50,000                                                                 73                                                72                                      73
annually performed slightly
less well on this question.




       7
                                                                     4         3     6     5         1       5     3      3      5     4      5       3     2         5       2         4         4        3
       13 H
                                                                   All

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                                                                                                                        18-3

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                                                                                                           Mal




                                                                                                                                                          >100
                                                                         thea

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                                                                                                                                                   50K-




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                                                                                                                                                                                             ubli
                                                                                                                                                                 -Col




                                                                                                                                                                                                       pen
       21
                                                                                         Mid




                                                                                                                                                                                  Dem
                                                                         Nor




                                                                                                                                                                                            Rep

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Inde
                                                                                                                                                             Non
       Don’t know




                                                                   Who said the following: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his
More than half of Americans                                      Who said the following: “From each according to his ability, to each according
                                                                  needs”?
incorrectly attributed this cen-                                 to his needs”?
tral tenet of Communist political
                                                                    26              25     26        28     20     31     25                 27                              20      27           23       22
philosophy to George Washing-                                              23                                                    23    28            27     17        27
ton, Thomas Paine, or President
Barack Obama. Fewer than 20
                                                                                                                                                            29
percent could correctly identify                                           23
                                                                                                            21                                                               25                   23       28
                                                                                    17                                    12     27
the author as Karl Marx.                                            21                     29
                                                                                                     17                                22
                                                                                                                                             17      23               19             14
                                                                                                                   21
Those from the West Coast were
                                                                                                                          21
slightly more likely to answer                                                      18                      25                                                                       18
                                                                                                                                             15
the question correctly.                                             19     12                        28
                                                                                                                                                            30        17     26                   20
                                                                                                                   14            19    18            22                                                    21
                                                                                           17                             21
                                                                           23       18                                                       19                                      21
                                                                                                                   19                                                 17                          12
                                                                    15                                      10
                                                                                                                                       12
                                                                                                                                 13                                           9                            13
                                                                                               8     12                                              13
                                                                                                            24            22                                5                                     23
                                                                                    22     20                                                22
                                                                    19     19                                                          19                   18        19     20      20
                                                                                                                   15            17                                                                        16
                                                                                                     15                                              14



       George Washington
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                                                                                                                        18-3

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                                                                                                                                                          >100
                                                                         thea

                                                                                   Sou




                                                                                                                                                                 olle
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                                                                                                                                                   50K-




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                                                                                                                                                                                             ubli




       Barack Obama
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                                                                                         Mid




                                                                                                                                                                                  Dem
                                                                         Nor




                                                                                                                                                                 -C




                                                                                                                                                                                            Rep

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Inde
                                                                                                                                                             Non




       Karl Marx H
       Thomas Paine
       Don’t know


32 •       The American Revolution. Who Cares? Americans are yearning to learn, failing to know.
                                                                What river did George Washington cross on Christmas Eve in 1776 in a surprise
Only 65 percent of Americans                                   What river did George Washington cross on Christmas Eve in 1776 in a surprise attack
                                                                attack on the Hessian troops?
correctly identified the Delaware                              on the Hessian troops?
River as the site of General                                                                                                      2             3                                                  1
                                                                  3         3     4      3     4       2      5     6      2            4             3       3                            5       3
Washington’s Christmas 1776                                       3         1     2      3     8
                                                                                                      3
                                                                                                              3            6
                                                                                                                                  1
                                                                                                                                        5       3
                                                                                                                                                      58      4       5         5
                                                                                                                                                                                          1
                                                                                                                    4            72                                   2         5                  6
crossing—although the army’s                                     65     77       64     61            69
                                                                                                             60            55          68
                                                                                                                                               62
                                                                                                                                                              68     55                   60
                                                                                               59                   65                                                       69
victory thereafter reinvigorated
the failing spirit of the Continental
Army and became a decisive
turning point in the Revolutionary
War. On this question, Democrats
and Independents edged out
Republicans.
                                                                                                                                                      39
                                                                                                                           35                                        37
                                                                                        33                   30                                32                                         34
                                                                 28              29            29                                                                                                  29
                                                                                                      25            23           25    22                     24
                                                                                                                                                                             19
                                                                        16

       Rhine
                                                                  1         2     1            1             2      2      1            2       1             1                 2                  1
       Potomac
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                                                                                                                                                                                               den
       Delaware H
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                                                                                                                                                    >100
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                                                                                                                                                                          Dem
       Michigan
                                                                      Nor




                                                                                                                                                                                    Rep

                                                                                                                                                                                            Inde
                                                                                                                                                       Non
       Don’t know




                                                                                                     French and British Swords:
                                                                                                     Rare French presentation sword, possibly awarded
                                                                                                     for bravery, and English military officer’s sword of
                                                                                                     the type used 1775-83. From the Collection of The
                                                                                                     American Revolution Center.




33 •    The American Revolution. Who Cares? Americans are yearning to learn, failing to know.
                                                               Who was the first Secretary of the Treasury?

In spite of his status as a key   Who was the first Secretary of the Treasury?
Founder of America’s financial
system, only slightly more than    13  7    16   19   6     8   17     9  12   16                                                        13      15      9        13      11        15         12         12
half of Americans recognized           4               6    6          5                                                                                 3
                                                       2                  5                                                                                               5          3         5
Alexander Hamilton as the first     5
                                    2
                                       60
                                             6
                                                            1
                                                                 4
                                                                       5
                                                                                6
                                                                                                                                          6
                                                                                                                                                 5      69         5
                                                                                                                                                                                     2         2
                                                                                                                                                                                                          7
                                                  4   60                                                                                  3                        2
Secretary of the Treasury. Perhaps 56       1     2        57    2    49  59
                                                                                                                                                                  53
                                                                                                                                                                          65
                                                                                                                                                                                    60         50         59
                                                                               60                                                        52      56
unsurprisingly, people who earn             55   51             50
more than $100,000 a year were
most likely to know this fact.




                                                                                                                     32                                                                        31
                                                                        28                             27
                                                                                         24     25                                       26                       26
                                                                24                                                          24                   23                                                       22
                                                                                 22                           21
                                                                                                                                  18                    18                18        20



       James Monroe
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                                                                                                                                                                                                     den
       Alexander Hamilton H
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                                                                                                                                                      >100
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                                                                                                                                                                                                    pen
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                                                                                                                                                                               Dem
       Larry Summers
                                                                     Nor




                                                                                                                                                                                         Rep

                                                                                                                                                                                                   Inde
                                                                                                                                                            Non
       John Seward
       Don’t know




                                                              In what state did the Valley Forge winter encampment occur?

Only slightly more than 40                                   In what state did the Valley Forge winter encampment occur?
percent of Americans knew that
                                                                        3                                                                                                 4
Valley Forge, the iconic site of                                8
                                                                       59
                                                                                 9       13     6      3
                                                                                                              12
                                                                                                                     6
                                                                                                                            8     10     8       9      7         9                 9          6          8
the Continental Army’s winter                                                                   37     53            48                                 53               48
                                                                44                                                          38    45    40      47                               45            52
                                                                                45                                                                                43                                      37
encampment of 1777-78, is                                                                38                   36
located in Pennsylvania. North-
easterners fared better than
other groups on this question.
Not even 60 percent of them,
                                                                                                4
however, answered correctly.                                                                                   1            1
                                                                                                                                         3
                                                                                                                                                                                                          2
                                                                                          2     36                          42                                    2       2                               41
                                                                 2              1                             40     1
                                                                                         37                                        4    40       1                                  3
                                                                35              37                     3             34                                  1        35     35                    1
                                                                       2                               29                         31            31                               33
                                                                       28                                                                               26                                     31




                                                                                                17
                                                                                                                                                        14
                                                                11                       10            11            12           11            12                11     11      10                       11
                                                                           9     8                            10            10           9                                                     9
   New York
                                                              All

                                                                       st

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                                                                                                                           9

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   Delaware
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                                                                                                                   18-3

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                                                                                                                                                      >100
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                                                                                                                                                                                                    pen




   Ohio
                                                                                     Mid




                                                                                                                                                                              Dem
                                                                     Nor




                                                                                                                                                                                        Rep

                                                                                                                                                                                                Inde
                                                                                                                                                         Non




   Pennsylvania H
   Don’t know



34 •   The American Revolution. Who Cares? Americans are yearning to learn, failing to know.
                                                               When did the American Revolution begin? Was it in the . . .

In another striking illustration of                           When did the American Revolution begin? Was it in the . . .
Americans’ failure to possess even
                                                                                         3                               4     2                                           3                              3
a basic chronology of historical                                 6         5    11               2      3        8                   10     7       7
                                                                                                                                                           13      7
                                                                                                                                                                          13
                                                                                                                                                                                     8         5
                                                                                        18       26     20              29     21                                                                       22
events, only 65 percent of                                      22      29
                                                                                                                23                          27      17             24             21           20
Americans could place the                                                       17                                                   16                    3               1
                                                                                                                                                                           2
beginning of the American                                                                  3
                                                                                                         2                      2                   2      83             82
                                                                                                                                1    1              2                                          2          2
Revolution in the correct decade                                 2               2         7
                                                                                                 3       6                           6                                               3         3          5
                                                                 5       1       6                               2             74                  73              3
and century. Those 35-49 and                                             2              69       5      68       5      4                   3                                        7         69       68
                                                                65              65                                                   66                            7
those college-educated performed                                        63                       63             62
                                                                                                                        10                  8                                     61
                                                                                                                                                                   59
better than the norm.                                                                                                                       55
                                                                                                                        54




       1770s H
                                                               All

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                                                                                                                              9

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                                                                                      wes

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                                                                                                                      18-3

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                                                                                                                                                         >100
                                                                      thea

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                                                                                                             Fem




                                                                                                                                                 50K-




                                                                                                                                                                        Coll



                                                                                                                                                                                          ubli
                                                                                                                                                                -Col




                                                                                                                                                                                                    pen
       1490s
                                                                                     Mid




                                                                                                                                                                               Dem
                                                                     Nor




                                                                                                                                                                                         Rep

                                                                                                                                                                                                 Inde
                                                                                                                                                            Non
       1800s
       Don’t know




                                                               Which side of the American War of Independence did American Indians support?

Only 20 percent of Americans                                  Which side of the American War of Independence did American Indians support?
correctly understood that both                                                                                                                             2               2
                                                                           5                                             3                                                                     4        3
British and American forces                                      6               8         6     4      3       9              8     7      7       7
                                                                                                                                                           62
                                                                                                                                                                   7
                                                                                                                                                                          49
                                                                                                                                                                                     9
                                                                        44                              45              43                                                                     58       44
received support from various                                   47              40      48       57
                                                                                                                48             55    43    43      44              46             43
American Indian nations. Males
and Southerners performed
slightly better on this question,
but on the whole, most Americans
appeared to be unaware that
American Indians were involved                                                                                          18
                                                                        24      25                                                                                                                      20
in the American Revolution.                                     20
                                                                                                        25                           23    20      23              19     22      20
                                                                                        15
                                                                                                                15
                                                                                                 14                            18                                                              14
                                                                                                                        25                                 14
                                                                                        17                                                 17                                                           18
                                                                16      17                                      17                                                 17             17
                                                                                16                      15                           13                                   15
                                                                                                 14                                                13                                          15
                                                                                                                                                           17
                                                                                                                               11
                                                                                        14                                           14    13                                                           14
                                                                11      11      11                      11      12      11                         12              11     12      11
                                                                                                 10                                                                                            9
   British                                                                                                                     8
                                                                                                                                                           5
   American
                                                               All

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                                                                                                   t

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                                                                                                                ale

                                                                                                                       4

                                                                                                                              9

                                                                                                                                    50+

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                                                                                                                                                  99K

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                                                                                                                                                                 lege

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                                                                                                                                                                                                     t
                                                                                      wes

                                                                                               Wes




                                                                                                                                                                                ocra



                                                                                                                                                                                                    den
                                                                                                                      18-3

                                                                                                                             35-4
                                                                                                       Mal




                                                                                                                                                         >100




   Both H
                                                                     thea

                                                                               Sou




                                                                                                             Fem




                                                                                                                                                 50K-




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                                                                                                                                                                                          ubli
                                                                                                                                                                -Col




                                                                                                                                                                                                    pen
                                                                                     Mid




                                                                                                                                                                               Dem




   Neither
                                                                     Nor




                                                                                                                                                                                         Rep

                                                                                                                                                                                                 Inde
                                                                                                                                                            Non




   Don’t know


35 •   The American Revolution. Who Cares? Americans are yearning to learn, failing to know.
                                                               The westernmost city where military action of the American Revolution took place at:

Only 20 percent of Americans                                  The westernmost city where military action of the American Revolution took place at:
correctly chose St. Louis as the                                                                                                                         1
                                                                                                                             4     11                                                                5
location of the westernmost battle                               8         6     6         7     12     8      8      8                   9       8     15      8       6         9         10
                                                                                                                             15
of the American Revolution. The                                 16       16     20     14               16     16     17                         16             16     16       16
                                                                                                                                                                                                     19
                                                                                                                                   16    16                                                 12
greatest number of Americans                                                                     11
                                                                                                                                                        48
chose Virginia’s capitol of Rich-                                                      54
                                                                                                                             48
                                                                         52                             45     47                                                      48                   46
mond, which is located far to the                               46
                                                                                42
                                                                                                 40                   44           46    44
                                                                                                                                                 48             45              46                   47
east of the hotly contested lands of
Kentucky and the Ohio Valley. As
the performance on this and other
questions revealed, Americans
were woefully unaware of the
most basic facts about the scale,                                                                13                                                     19
                                                                                                        13                   13
chronology, people, and ideals of                               11               8                             9      9            10
                                                                                                                                          8                     10
                                                                                                                                                                                11
                                                                                                                                                                                            9
                                                                                                                                                                                                     12
                                                                         15                                                                      12                    13
the American Revolution.                                                        23         9     24                                                                                         23
                                                                20                                             21     22                 22                     21
                                                                                                        19                   20    18                                           19
                                                                                       16                                                        16     17             16                            17
                                                                         11
                                                               All

                                                                        st

                                                                                th

                                                                                       t

                                                                                                   t

                                                                                                       e

                                                                                                              ale

                                                                                                                     4

                                                                                                                            9

                                                                                                                                  50+

                                                                                                                                        <50K

                                                                                                                                                99K

                                                                                                                                                       K
                                                                                                                                                              lege

                                                                                                                                                                      ege

                                                                                                                                                                               t

                                                                                                                                                                                        can

                                                                                                                                                                                                  t
                                                                                      wes

                                                                                               Wes




                                                                                                                                                                             ocra



                                                                                                                                                                                                 den
                                                                                                                    18-3

                                                                                                                           35-4
                                                                                                       Mal




                                                                                                                                                      >100
                                                                      thea

                                                                               Sou




                                                                                                             Fem




                                                                                                                                               50K-




                                                                                                                                                                     Coll



                                                                                                                                                                                       ubli
                                                                                                                                                             -Col




                                                                                                                                                                                                 pen
                                                                                     Mid




                                                                                                                                                                            Dem
                                                                     Nor




   St. Louis H




                                                                                                                                                                                      Rep

                                                                                                                                                                                              Inde
                                                                                                                                                         Non
   Austin
   Richmond
   Atlanta
   Don’t know


                                                               Who famously implored her husband to “remember the ladies” in drafting laws for the newly
                                                               independent United States of America?
One of the most eloquent advocates Who famously implored her husband to “remember the ladies” in drafting laws for the
of women’s rights during the         newly independent United States of America?
Revolutionary era, Abigail Adams,     12   7   13  15 11     10  14   10 10    14 11 16    6   12   11   13   14    7
                                                                                          2
famously implored her husband,             3             1    4            1              3                          4
                                       2   6                           5           3            2    2    2
Massachusetts delegate and states-     6
                                                3   3    6    8
                                                                  1        6   1      1   72    7    6
                                                                                                              1      4
                                                8   5             5    6        7  8  5                   7         59
man John Adams, to “remember          55
                                           61           62       55
                                                                          51
                                                                                                    61
                                                                                                               9
                                                   56        55       60             57        52        51
the ladies” in drafting laws for the           45                              53 48                          54
soon-to-be independent United
States. Only slightly more than half
(55 percent) of Americans could
correctly associate Adams with her
early plea for women’s rights. It is
interesting to note that men and
women performed equally well on                31                         32
                                                                                  29
this question.                        25                     24  25            24
                                                                                               27        27
                                                                                                                    25
                                                                         22            22                                                        22                                         21
                                                                                                 20                   19                                               19
                                                                                                                                                        17
   Martha Washington
   Abigail Adams H
                                                               All

                                                                       east

                                                                                th

                                                                                       t

                                                                                                   t

                                                                                                       e

                                                                                                              ale

                                                                                                                     4

                                                                                                                            9

                                                                                                                                  50+

                                                                                                                                        <50K

                                                                                                                                                99K

                                                                                                                                                       K
                                                                                                                                                              lege

                                                                                                                                                                      ege

                                                                                                                                                                              crat

                                                                                                                                                                                        can

                                                                                                                                                                                                  t




   Molly Pitcher
                                                                                      wes

                                                                                               Wes




                                                                                                                                                                                                 den
                                                                                                                    18-3

                                                                                                                           35-4
                                                                                                       Mal




                                                                                                                                                      >100
                                                                               Sou




                                                                                                             Fem




                                                                                                                                               50K-




                                                                                                                                                                     Coll



                                                                                                                                                                                       ubli
                                                                                                                                                                                o
                                                                         th




                                                                                                                                                             -Col




                                                                                                                                                                                                 pen
                                                                                     Mid




   Phyllis Wheatley
                                                                                                                                                                            Dem
                                                                     Nor




                                                                                                                                                                                      Rep

                                                                                                                                                                                              Inde
                                                                                                                                                         Non




   Don’t know


36 •   The American Revolution. Who Cares? Americans are yearning to learn, failing to know.
Mementos of Revolutionary War Veterans: These relics from the 1770s-1830s descended in the Massachusetts family of father
and son soldiers Nicholas Dike Sr. and Jr. From the Collection of The American Revolution Center.


                                                              How many children do celebrities “Jon and Kate” have?

Pop Culture Questions                                        How many children do celebrities “Jon and Kate” have?

Sixty percent of Americans could                                25     18       29     27        21     31     19     13     21    36    30      21     15        24     26   26   22   21
correctly identify the number
of children of parents “Jon and                                            1
                                                                                                                       4
                                                                                                                                                        6
Kate,” a reality-TV show couple.                                       54                         3
                                                                                                               3      69
                                                                                                                                                  4
                                                                                                                             6                          74                         4    5
More than 70 percent at the                                     4
                                                                                           3     64
                                                                                                               68
                                                                                                                                                 65
                                                                                                                                                                  5           1
                                                                60               6                                           65           3                              62        67   63
higher income levels knew about                                                        67               4
                                                                                                                                   1
                                                                                                                                                                  59          55
                                                                                55                                                       53
the family.                                                                                             51
                                                                                                                                   48




                                                                           7
                                                                       20                                                                                                      2
                                                                                                         3                         4      4                                   15
                                                                4                4                                    6                                           4       3
                                                                                                 5      11     4             1           11       3                                     5
                                                                                                                                   10                   3                 8        2
                                                                8                7               6             6      8      6                    7               8
                                                                                           3                                                            2                          5    5
   4
                                                              All

                                                                       st

                                                                                th

                                                                                       t

                                                                                                   t

                                                                                                       e

                                                                                                              ale

                                                                                                                     4

                                                                                                                            9

                                                                                                                                  50+

                                                                                                                                        <50K

                                                                                                                                                99K

                                                                                                                                                       K

                                                                                                                                                              ge

                                                                                                                                                                                  ege

                                                                                                                                                                                    t

                                                                                                                                                                                  can

                                                                                                                                                                                     t
                                                                                      wes

                                                                                               Wes




                                                                                                                                                                               ocra



                                                                                                                                                                                 den
                                                                                                                    18-3

                                                                                                                           35-4
                                                                                                       Mal




                                                                                                                                                      >100
                                                                     thea

                                                                               Sou




                                                                                                                                                             olle
                                                                                                             Fem




   6
                                                                                                                                               50K-




                                                                                                                                                                       Coll



                                                                                                                                                                             ubli

                                                                                                                                                                             pen
                                                                                     Mid




                                                                                                                                                                           Dem
                                                                     Nor




                                                                                                                                                             -C




                                                                                                                                                                         Rep




   8H
                                                                                                                                                                        Inde
                                                                                                                                                         Non




   10
   Don’t know


37 •   The American Revolution. Who Cares? Americans are yearning to learn, failing to know.
                                                               Who was the first athlete to win a record 8 gold medals at a single Olympics?

Seventy percent knew that                                    Who was the first athlete to win a record 8 gold medals at a single Olympics?
Baltimore-born Michael Phelps
                                                                                                                                                                                 2
made Olympic history, although                                  11         9        14        10            7          7         14        9      9     13    11      15         91      11         8         8         14           9
Southerners, adults under 34,                                                                               77     75                                                                           83         74
                                                                          74                  70                                           64     76                                                                                74
and those who have not attended                                 71
                                                                                                                                 66                     71
                                                                                                                                                              63
                                                                                                                                                                      74
                                                                                                                                                                                         66                             69
                                                                                    64
college were slightly less aware
of his accomplishment.




                                                                                                                                           5                   3
                                                                                     3                                                     4                   4                          2
                                                                 2                             3                                 3                                                        3
                                                                           1         2         2             2      1                              2    1                                                   3                        4
                                                                 2                                                  4                      18                 19                         17                              3
                                                                          16        16                      4                    16                1    1                                                   3                        1
                                                                14                            15                                                                       2                                                14
                                                                                                            10     12                             12    13                       1                  3      12                       12
   Scott Hamilton                                                                                                                                                      9         7                  6
   Kobe Bryant
                                                              All

                                                                         st

                                                                                    th

                                                                                              t

                                                                                                              t

                                                                                                                  e

                                                                                                                                ale

                                                                                                                                          4

                                                                                                                                                 9

                                                                                                                                                       50+

                                                                                                                                                             <50K

                                                                                                                                                                     99K

                                                                                                                                                                                K
                                                                                                                                                                                       lege

                                                                                                                                                                                               ege

                                                                                                                                                                                                          t

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       can

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 t
   Shannon Miller
                                                                                             wes

                                                                                                          Wes




                                                                                                                                                                                                         ocra



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 den
                                                                                                                                         18-3

                                                                                                                                                35-4
                                                                                                                  Mal




                                                                                                                                                                               >100
                                                                        thea

                                                                                   Sou




                                                                                                                               Fem




                                                                                                                                                                    50K-




                                                                                                                                                                                              Coll



                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ubli
                                                                                                                                                                                      -Col




                                                                                                                                                                                                                              pen
                                                                                         Mid




   Michael Phelps H




                                                                                                                                                                                                        Dem
                                                                     Nor




                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Rep

                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Inde
                                                                                                                                                                                  Non
   Don’t know


                                                               Who famously sang the songs “Beat it” and “Billie Jean”?

Weeks after his death, 80 percent                            Who famously sang the songs “Beat It” and “Billie Jean”?
of Americans could identify the
                                                                13        16                                12     12                      3      6           17                                12                      15
signature songs of Michael Jackson,                                                 14        10                                 14                     26             7         10      13                13                       10
                                                                                                                                           94     92
with 94 percent of people aged                                                                84                                                                      87         87
                                                                                                            84     81                                                                           84                                  83
18-49 answering this question                                   81
                                                                          77
                                                                                    80                                           82                                                      80                81           80
                                                                                                                                                              76
correctly.
                                                                                                                                                        63




                                                                                                                                                        2
                                                                               2                      1                    2                            6      1                         1
                                                                    2                    2                   1                                                             2                                      1
                                                                                                  2                    4             1                         4                         4          2                       12       5
                                                               13        14         13        3            13      2            12         2     12     3      2     12         12       2      2         13            2        1
                                                              All

                                                                         st

                                                                                    th

                                                                                              t

                                                                                                              t

                                                                                                                  e

                                                                                                                                ale

                                                                                                                                          4

                                                                                                                                                 9

                                                                                                                                                       50+

                                                                                                                                                             <50K

                                                                                                                                                                     99K

                                                                                                                                                                                K
                                                                                                                                                                                       lege

                                                                                                                                                                                               ege

                                                                                                                                                                                                          t

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       can

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 t
                                                                                             wes

                                                                                                          Wes




                                                                                                                                                                                                         ocra



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 den
                                                                                                                                         18-3

                                                                                                                                                35-4
                                                                                                                  Mal




                                                                                                                                                                               >100
                                                                        thea

                                                                                   Sou




                                                                                                                               Fem




                                                                                                                                                                    50K-




                                                                                                                                                                                              Coll



                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ubli
                                                                                                                                                                                      -Col




                                                                                                                                                                                                                              pen
                                                                                         Mid




                                                                                                                                                                                                        Dem




   Elvis
                                                                     Nor




                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Rep

                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Inde
                                                                                                                                                                                  Non




   Bruce Springsteen
   *NSYNC
   Michael Jackson H
   Don’t know



38 •   The American Revolution. Who Cares? Americans are yearning to learn, failing to know.
Acknowledgements                                                                               Conducting The Survey
The American Revolution Center would                                                           The American Revolution Center
like to gratefully acknowledge the                                                             commissioned Dr. Ken Dautrich and
people who were critical to the success-                                                       Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates
ful completion of this survey and report.                                                      (PSB), a research-based communications
First and foremost, we extend thanks to                                                        firm, to conduct the field work and analyze
our donors for their generous financial                                                        the findings. Both are internationally
support, which enabled the Center to                                                           recognized for their work in public opinion
commission this survey: Richard Gilder                                                         research. Dr. Dautrich is the founder and
and the Gilder Foundation and the                                                              former director of the Center for Survey
Honorable Edward N. Ney, former U.S.                                                           Research and Analysis at the University
Ambassador to Canada.                                                                          of Connecticut. Penn, Schoen and Berland
The report would not have been possible                                                        (PSB) has 30 years of experience working
without the support of The American                                                            with Fortune 500 clients as well as many
Revolution Center Board of Directors,                                                          presidents and foreign dignitaries. Writers
most particularly its Chairman, H.F.                                                           and designers from the integrated market-
(Gerry) Lenfest, and members Harold                                                            ing team at PSB and Burson-Marsteller
Burson, Josiah Bunting, Martha Snider,                                                         helped prepare the survey report
and Margaret (Peggy) Pace Duckett.                                                             for publication.

Working under the leadership of Dr.
Bruce Cole, Center staff Mindy Berry,
ZeeAnn Mason, Scott Stephenson, and
Annie Hsiao were responsible for the
completion of this survey report. Several
others helped by contributing their
advice, insights, and guidance, includ-
ing our friends at The Miller Center,
Admiral Michael Ratliff and Michael
Deshaies; Blank Rome, Topper Ray; and
at the Bill of Rights Institute, Victoria
Hughes and Claire Griffin.




39 •   The American Revolution. Who Cares? Americans are yearning to learn, failing to know.
 The six-pointed stars you see on the front cover were
 inspired by the stars on one of the most significant
 surviving flags of the American Revolution, shown
 here. Known as the Commander-in-Chief’s Standard,
 it is traditionally identified as having been used to
 mark General Washington’s presence at headquarters
 and in the field. The 13-star Standard is one of the
 most important historical treasures in The American
 Revolution Center’s collection and is currently under-
 going conservation.




Washington D.C. Office:      Philadelphia, PA Office:
1101 17th Street, N.W.       The Bourse Building
Suite 610                    Suite 835
Washington, DC 20036         111 S. Independence Mall East
                             Philadelphia, PA 19106
         www.AmericanRevolutionCenter.org

								
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