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7/1: Independence Day — Seventeen Seventy When?

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7/1: Independence Day — Seventeen Seventy When?

Just in time for the July 4th weekend, the Marist Poll has asked Americans in which year the United States declared its independence.  And, the result is many Americans need to brush up on their American history.

declaration of independence

©istockphoto.com/oersin

Click Here for Complete July 1, 2011 USA Poll Release and Tables

Only 58% of residents know that the United States declared its independence in 1776.  26% are unsure, and 16% mentioned another date.

There are age differences on this question.  Younger Americans are the least likely to know the correct answer.  Only 31% of adults younger than 30 say that 1776 is the year in which the United States broke away from Great Britain.  59% of residents between 30 and 44 report the same.  Americans 45 to 59 — 75% — are the age group most likely to have the correct answer.  Among those 60 and older, 60% report that 1776 is the year in which the United States declared its independence.

When it comes to gender, men — 65% — are more likely to respond with 1776 than are women — 52%.

And, for the second year, about one in four Americans doesn’t know from which country the United States declared its independence.  While 76% correctly cite Great Britain, 19% are unsure, and 5% mention another country.

A comparable proportion of Americans were similarly informed at this time last year.  At that time, 74% thought the United States declared its independence from Great Britain, 20% were unsure, and 6% mentioned another country.

80% of those 60 and older, 77% of those 45 to 59, and 77% of those between 30 and 44 report the nation’s founding fathers revolted against Great Britain.  This compares with 67% of those under the age of 30 who say the same.

Men — 83% — are more likely than women — 68% — to know that the United States declared its independence from Great Britain.

Table: Year in which the U.S. Declared Its Independence

Table: Country from which U.S. Declared Its Independence

Marist Poll Methodology

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105 Comments

105 Comments

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  47. Jon

    August 25, 2011 at 10:31 AM

    Not knowing the true independance day has more to do with the state of education than anything else.

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  50. Clark

    July 11, 2011 at 11:12 PM

    Agreed. We should never have gottten into the conflicts we’ve been in since WWII without the consent of Congress; the Constitution requires it; and if more U.S. Americans (remember Miss Teen S.C.?) realized that, and were willing to get off their backsides and holler about it, backed by the knowledge of how things are SUPPOSED to work in this country, we wouldn’t have gotten into most, if not all of them in the first place, instead of wasting blood, treasure, time and effort trying to figure out how to win them decisively, or how to get out of them without leaving things more screwed up than they were when we went in.

    This gets right back to what’s between the lines of the article on which we’re supposedly commenting. This goes a lot farther and deeper than just knowing about Independence Day. This is about the lack of knowledge and understanding among the population of civics, history, geography, and more. It’s about the lack of patience or desire (take your pick) of people to pay attention and learn these things, and care about them; it’s about the self-involvement of a people who have gotten so used to the ideas of instant gratification, and that they’re entitled and have rights, that they’ve forgotten about the responsibilities and obligations that go with those rights; and they don’t realize that they’re ENTITLED to absolutely NOTHING; that whatever you have needs to be EARNED, and not handed out to you on a silver platter. THAT’S what makes something yours; earning it. And what scares me is that we’re not EARNING the title of Citizen anymore. We just expect it while we fiddle with our electronic gadgets and watch Jackass, and listen to “music” that is angry and complaining and selfish and sometimes downright mean in it’s lyrics. What the hell happened to “Ask not what your country can do for you…”

    One of my favorite quotes, and from an avowed socialist no less, is from George Bernard Shaw: “Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.” Truth is truth, wherever you find it, eh?

    Okay; deep breath….calm down,…that’ll do for now…

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