John Fonte, a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, says he has no problem with the nuts-and-bolts questions about government, but he is disappointed that the INS does not ask more "substantial" questions about the meaning of being an American. He suggests that "What is the White House?" does not really get to the meat of our experiment in democracy.
Touche. INS officials believe there's room for improvement, and so they are developing a new, standardized test. "We would invite readers to give us ideas on this," said Rosenberg of the INS, who asks that ideas be mailed to the following address and not left on his home answering machine.
Suggestions may be sent to: Citizenship USA, 425 I St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20536.
INS examiners typically draw a dozen or so questions from this list of 100 when they interview aspiring citizens on America's history and government. For more information, click here.
1. What are the colors of the flag?
2. How many stars are there in our flag?
3. What color are the stars on our flag?
4. What do the stars on the flag mean?
5. How many stripes are there in the flag?
6. What color are the stripes?
7. What do the stripes on the flag mean?
8. How many states are there in the union (United States)?
9. What is the 4th of July?
10. What is the date of Independence Day?
11. Independence from whom?
12. What country did we fight during the Revolutionary War?
13. Who was the first president of the United States?
14. Who is the president of the United States today?
15. Who is the vice president of the United States?
16. Who elects the president of the United States?
17. Who becomes president of the United States if the president should die?
18. For how long do we elect the president?
19. What is the Constitution?
20. Can the Constitution be changed?
21. What do we call a change to the Constitution?
22. How many changes or amendments are there to the Constitution?
23. How many branches are there in our government?
24. What are the three branches of our government?
25. What is the legislative branch of our government?
26. Who makes the laws in the United States?
27. What is Congress?
28. What are the duties of Congress?
29. Who elects Congress?
30. How many senators are there in Congress?
31. Can you name the two senators from your state?
32. For how long do we elect each senator?
33. How many representatives are there in Congress?
34. For how long do we elect the representative?
35. What is the executive branch of our government?
36. What is the judicial branch of our government?
37. What are the duties of the Supreme Court?
38. What is the supreme law of the United States?
39. What is the Bill of Rights?
40. What is the capital of your state?
41. Who is the current governor of your state?
42. Who becomes president of the United States if the president and the vice president should die?
43. Who is the chief justice of the Supreme Court?
44. Can you name the 13 original states?
45. Who said, "Give me liberty or give me death"?
46. Which countries were our principal allies during World War II?
47. What is the 49th state of the Union (United States)?
48. How many terms can a president serve?
49. Who was Martin Luther King Jr.?
50. Who is the head of your local government?
51. According to the Constitution, a person must meet certain requirements in order to be eligible to become president. Name one of these requirements.
52. Why are there 100 senators in the Senate?
53. Who selects the Supreme Court justices?
54. How many Supreme Court justices are there?
55. Why did the Pilgrims come to America?
56. What is the head executive of a state government called?
57. What is the head executive of a city government called?
58. What holiday was celebrated for the first time by the American Colonists?
59. Who was the main writer of the Declaration of Independence?
60. When was the Declaration of Independence adopted?
61. What is the basic belief of the Declaration of Independence?
62. What is the national anthem of the United States?
63. Who wrote the Star-Spangled Banner?
64. Where does freedom of speech come from?
65. What is the minimum voting age in the United States?
66. Who signs bills into law?
67. What is the highest court in the United States?
68. Who was president during the Civil War?
69. What did the Emancipation Proclamation do?
70. What special group advises the president?
71. Which president is called the "father of our country"?
72. What is the 50th state of the Union (United States)?
73. Who helped the Pilgrims in America?
74. What is the name of the ship that brought the Pilgrims to America?
75. What were the 13 original states of the U.S. called?
76. Name three rights or freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.
77. Who has the power to declare war?
78. Name one amendment that guarantees or addresses voting rights.
79. Which president freed the slaves?
80. In what year was the Constitution written?
81. What are the first 10 amendments to the Constitution called?
82. Name one purpose of the United Nations.
83. Where does Congress meet?
84. Whose rights are guaranteed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights?
85. What is the introduction to the Constitution called?
86. Name one benefit of being a citizen of the United States.
87. What is the most important right granted to U.S. citizens?
88. What is the United States Capitol (building)?
89. What is the White House?
90. Where is the White House located?
91. What is the name of the president's official home?
92. Name one right guaranteed by the First Amendment.
93. Who is the commander in chief of the U.S. military?
94. Which president was the first commander in chief of the U.S. military?
95. In what month do we vote for the president?
96. In what month is the new president inaugurated?
97. How many times may be a senator be reelected?
98. How many times may a congressman be reelected?
99. What are the two major political parties in the United States today?
100. How many states are there in the United States?