What's your Constitution I.Q.?

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Hillsdale College has a quiz to test how well you know the U.S. Constitution. The short 8-question test is designed by Dr. Larry Arnn.
After you’ve taken the test, you must register in order to get the results. So I reproduced the test here.
Please take the test BEFORE you scroll down to see the answers. No cheating!!! LOL
If you’d rather take the quiz on the Hillsdale College website, go here.

U.S. Constitution Quiz

For each question, pick one of four possible answers.

1. “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a ___________, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…”

a) Perfect union
b) More perfect Union
c) Confederation
d) League of States
2. Which branch of government has the power to make laws?

a) The Executive
b) The Judiciary
c) The Legislative
d) None of the above
3. Abraham Lincoln called the Constitution the “frame of silver” framed around an “apple of gold.” What is the “apple of gold”?

a) The Declaration of Independence
b) The Northwest Ordinance
c) The Articles of Confederation
d) The Bill of Rights
4. Which of the following is not a branch of government outlined in the Constitution?

a) The Legislative
b) The Executive
c) The Judiciary
d) Administrative Bureaucracy
5. According to Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, “The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed or elective,” is _________.

a) Nature
b) Liberty
c) Tyranny
d) Security
6. _________ is the division of power between the federal government and the states, wherein the federal government is limited to the powers enumerated in the Constitution.

a) Checks and balances
b) Representation
c) Federalism
d) Separation of powers
7. Who determines the meaning of the Constitution?

a) Congress
b) The President
c) The Supreme Court
d) No one branch has the final say
  1. In 1787, Delegates from the Constitutional Convention held their final meeting with the sole purpose of signing the Constitution. Once they signed it, they sent copies to state legislatures for ratification. We commemorate this event annually in the United States as Constitution Day, which is:
a) July 4
b) January 20
c) September 17
d) May 31

I wonder how he would do on this quiz?

The correct answers are:

1(b): More perfect union
2(c): The Legislative
3(a): The Declaration of Independence
4(d): Administrative Bureaucracy
5(c): Tyranny
6(c): Federalism
7(d): No one branch has the final say
8(c): September 17

How did you do?
My score was 7/8.
I got question no. 7 wrong. Doesn’t the Constitution assign to the Supreme Court the job of interpreting the Constitution? — a role not assigned to the Executive or Legislative branches. If no branch or no one “has the final say,” who does?

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0 responses to “What's your Constitution I.Q.?

  1. Same here. Got em all correct except for #7. Having 50 states instead of just 13 REALLY makes us right, from a practical standpoint. But, we should answer theoretically, darnit.

  2. Same as Eowyn 🙂

  3. Eowyn,
    I bet you wouldn’t say that if there four “Obamas” and a Saul Alinsky on the Supreme Court.
    The correct answer to 7 is: No. One. Branch. Has. The final. Say.
    That is the most important question in the whole quiz.

    • Good point, Richard!
      But I still have a problem with Question no. 7, which seems to de-emphasize the Constitution-assigned role of the Supreme Court. The Judicial Branch’s role is to interpret the Constitution — a role not assigned to the other two branches.

      • Actually, while that may be one role of the Judiciary, the Constitution does not assign that role. It simply says it, the Consitution itself, is “the Supreme Law of the Land.” The Supreme Court arrogated that power by holding in a ruling that the power was somehow implicitly assigned to them by the Constitution. The other branches acquiesced, and a precedent was established which is today seen by many to be so strong that it is tantamount to a constitutionally assigned power. But we must recognize the reality: the Constitution is silent on whose job it is to interpret the meaning of the Constitution. I agree with Hillsdale’s interpretation. The role should be de-emphasized; lest we fall into the trap of ‘We are all equal, but some are more equal than others.’ Actually, that philosophy is what leads to the Soviet and Chinese Communist Party Central Committees, sitting over all others and with the final, unqualified power to say what is, what is not, what will be, and what words mean, and essentially with the power to unilaterally amend their country’s constitution at will.

        • Richard is correct. The only mention in the US Constitution of the Supreme Court is in Article III (https://constitutionus.com/):
          Section 1
          The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services, a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.
          Section 2
          1: The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;–to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;–to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;–to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;–to Controversies between two or more States;–between a State and Citizens of another State;10 –between Citizens of different States, –between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.
          2: In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellateJurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

          As we can all see, there is NO mention at all in the Constitution that the Supreme Court’s role is to interpret the Constitution.

          • I’m glad you posted that, because it brings up an important point that I neglected. Namely, that the Judiciary certainly does have the power to review actions for constitutionality. But it is not the sole arbiter of constitutionality, nor the final one.
            Originally, when two branches had a difference of opinion about the constitutionality of an act of Congress or an executive order (or even a judicial ruling), I believe that it was envisioned that the third branch should weigh in, and if that didn’t break the logjam, then they had to negotiate. But that all started winding down with that case (I think it was Marbury?) in which the Supreme Court declared that it alone had the power to strike down acts of the other two branches if it found them in violation of the Constitution.
            I think the main problem is that this concept of “strike down” was taken to an extreme and became construed as a plenary power, and when you do that, you end up with the textbook definition of Communism. People just don’t take this kind of stuff seriously enough, and I think there’s a tendency to assume that things will take of themselves, and the system will self-regulate or God will take of it. God does take care of a lot of things when we drop the ball, doesn’t He? But He didn’t take care of this, and too many human beings dropped the ball.

  4. As envisioned, the Supremes were referee’s …
    as practiced they constitute an oligarchy

  5. 7/8 here, too… Judiciary interprets the Constitution.

  6. Eo, I see you changed your statement a little. My answer to your question “who does” is: They just gotta “work it out” as best they can! 🙂
    That is what it means for the three branches to be “co-equal”. (Though that term also is not in the Constitution, but the concept was well established by the time the Constitution was drafted.)

  7. Wow, I missed #7 also…that was one I thought I was sure about! That’s how they act, anyway…I also missed #6, after changing my answer twice. If I’d changed it once more it would’ve been right, haha…

  8. I agree Louise, that is how they act BECAUSE it is so dang hard now with 50 states to overturn a SCOTUS decision with a Constitutional amendment. It’s like bringing a knife to break up a fight, and both sides have automatic weapons…


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