In Honor of the Fourth of July, A Dispiriting Poll About Americans and Independence!

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Guess what percentage of United States residents (often called "Americans") can name the country we declared our independence from in 1776? One-hundred and ten percent, right?

Wrong! It is not, in fact, everyone. It's is 74% -- about three-fourths -- according to a new study by Marist, doubtlessly conceived in a conversation like this:

Grad student 1: People are really stupid, y'know? They're always answering questions wrong.

Grad student 2: Yeah, bro, and then it's always on the news.

Grad student 1: I wanna be on the news.

[Scene]

And so they commissioned a study, knowing full well that the results would be depressing. The more obvious the question, the more press coverage results and so they did it this way:

About three-quarters of residents -- 74% -- know the U.S. declared its independence from Great Britain in 1776. The bad news for the academic system -- 26% do not. This 26% includes one-fifth who are unsure and 6% who thought the U.S. separated from another nation. That begs the question, "From where do the latter think the U.S. achieved its independence?" Among the countries mentioned are France, China, Japan, Mexico, and Spain.

Happy Fourth of July, everyone! And remember, if it wasn't for our Founding Fathers, we could all still be eating sushi.


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