Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Independence Day and a History Test

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Independence Day and a History Test

Article excerpt

I think one of the things we're all supposed to do each year on Independence Day is to contemplate.

We're supposed to reflect on the incredible struggle that resulted in our freedom and the creation of our republic.

One of the most incomprehensible elements of our nation's rise is the mindset that had to pervade most of colonial America to make the revolution not only possible, but attainable.

What set of circumstances would have to exist today that would make us take up arms and overthrow our government? Can we ever imagine things being so bad or so oppressive that we take to the streets and throw, not vote, the bums out.

What were the circumstances and conditions that led our forefathers to declare their independence from Great Britain?

I know about taxation without representation. I know about unfair duties on sorghum, molasses and rum. I also know about postage taxes, road taxes, taxes on commerce, imminent domain and conscripted military service.

We all do; it's a function of government, is it not?

But, those are the issues that led to the Revolutionary War and our freedom.

Our founding fathers desperately wanted to govern themselves. The Federalist Papers outlined the plan for establishing a separate nation of federated states.

The colonists were victorious, the United States of America was created and our nation endures.

But, do we have the same expectations as our ancestors or do we even know what it is we have?

This past week a quiz was given to college seniors at some of the most prestigious universities and colleges in America. Thirty-seven percent of the respondents knew that the Battle of the Bulge happened in World War II. Not too good.

They did not know about Marbury vs. Madison. They did not know about the Spanish-American War.

These same students, overwhelmingly, were not required to take U.S. history for their university degrees.

Each week, Jay Leno, of NBC's Tonight Show, does a walk around Hollywood and asks questions. Some of the questions are current events and some relate to history.

They are all hilarious, sad and quite telling.

Last week three adults were shown a picture of the Washington Monument and asked to identify it.

The answers were the peace memorial, the archway in St. …

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