The Rushmore Report: How Many Americans Can Name the Three Branches of Government?


I’ve long been convinced that an under-explored element of our deteriorating national discourse and paralyzing partisan tribalism is a creeping public ignorance about fundamental civics. How can we keep this republic if a rising percentage of its citizenry is unfamiliar with the core functions and structures of said republic? Yet, recent surveys confirm an amazing ignorance on the part of the American people.

A recent public opinion survey shows that 37 percent could not name a single component of the First Amendment. “Free speech” seems like it would be a layup, but only half knew it was a part of the First Amendment. Fewer than half knew the Amendment covered the freedom of religion and press.

Only 26 percent can name the three branches of government (executive, judicial, and legislative). For the record, conservatives are much more likely to know the branches of government than liberals.

Amazingly, there are more Americans who can name none of the three branches than those who can name all three.

America, we have a problem.

About the Author

Guy Benson writes for TownHall.


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