Laurel Leader

How would you do on the naturalization civics test? [Commentary]

With a shrill chorus of voices weighing in on the issue of immigration, I thought it would be instructive to step away from the heat long enough to gain some perspective.

In order to become a naturalized American citizen, applicants must display their knowledge of history and government. Did you know that the actual civics test is not multiple choice, but is given orally? I didn't. During the naturalization interview, Americans-in-waiting are asked up to 10 questions from a list of 100 questions. They are required to get at least six of 10 questions right to pass the civics part of the exam.


What's that? You can proudly trace your ancestry back to the Mayflower. Wonderful! Now here's your chance to put your patriotism to the test. Here are 10 actual questions; the answers are made up by me: (click on the American flags to the right to take the quiz)

1. Who lived in America before the Europeans arrived?


a. Floridians

b. No one

c. American Indians

2. Name one branch, or part, of the U.S. government

a. United Nations

b. Legislative

c. Parliament

3. Under the Constitution, some powers belong to the federal government. Name one.


a. To print money

b. To issue driver's permits

c. To provide police departments

4. Who was president during the Depression and World War II?

a. Harry Truman

b. Franklin Roosevelt


c. Herbert Hoover

5. Name one right only for U.S. citizens.

a. Freedom of speech

b. Freedom of religion

c. Freedom to run for federal office

6. What is one responsibility that's only for U.S. citizens?


a. Serve on a jury

b. Be respectful of others

c. Pay taxes

7. What is one thing Ben Franklin is famous for?

a. Third president

b. U.S. diplomat


c. Inventor of the airplane

8. Name one of the two longest rivers

a. Rio Grande

b. Colorado

c. Mississippi

9. Name two national holidays


a. Citizenship Day and Columbus Day

b. Labor Day and Thanksgiving

c. Valentine's Day and Presidents Day

10. Who is the chief justice of the U.S.?

a. Anthony Kennedy

b. Joe Biden


c. John Roberts

Bonus question: What state was Washington, D.C. carved from?

a. Delaware

b. Maryland

c. Virginia

We hold these truths to be self-evident: I nailed all of them, including the bonus, which was Maryland. Virginia gave some choice parcels, but wound up taking its part back.


And I'm only second-generation.

This story has been updated.