a charset="utf-8"/> Literacy Tests: A Modern Proposal

Literacy Tests: A Brief History and a Draft Proposal for a Test

11 July 2016

Throughout the late 1800's to the mid 1960's, America developed a system of ``Literacy Tests" for voting (See Appendix I). These tests were aimed at minority populations to prove that they were capable of having a basic knowledge and aptitude to vote for candidates in a General election. There were a few problems with this, however. The first problem was that these literacy tests were slightly complex. A person could easily do them if given enough time to figure out what the question was asking, but the time limits were small. Second, these were only given to minority populations, which civil rights leaders claimed was a violation of civil liberties. Third, the literacy test was almost nonsensical, something you would find in a brain teaser or an Internet Impossible Test game.

However, an increasing majority of Americans are increasingly showing stupidity, and an ignorance to current events.

Because of this vast majority, I have made an example test which I view should be given to voters before they are allowed to vote in an election. Versions in alternative languages should be provided upon request. It should be given to all Americans, whether they be immigrant or domestic.

The test would only be 20 questions but the questions would be randomly selected out of a list of 100. These questions are different every election year and cover current events and US Political History. The score would be graded with a letter grade under the common system of the American Education Grading System (but not the Common-Core Standards Grading System), with a ``D" being the lowest passing grade. A person would be able to get two chances to get a passing grade, or else would not be allowed to vote in the election.

Below is an example of a question list I have created for the 2016 Election cycle. I attempted to be as unbiased as I could. I can answer all these questions off the top of my head (without a web search). After all, I wrote them. Can you answer them or are you one of the dumb ones lacking proper education in the history or current status of the nation you live in?

  1. What is the name of the current President of the United States?

  2. Besides replacing the President, what is the role of the Vice President?

  3. Name at least one current congressman from your state:

  4. Who is the current Attorney General of the United States?

  5. In a short paragraph, summarize the cause and outcome of the US Civil War:

  6. The War of 1812 was a conflict between America and what two countries?

  7. Name at least one purpose for the expedition of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark:

  8. What year did Lewis and Clark start their expedition?

  9. What country did the United States purchase the Louisiana Purchase from, and who was the leader of said country at the time?

  10. Briefly summarize why the Articles of Confederation failed:

  11. What was the most recently passed constitutional amendment, and what does it make law?

  12. Who is the current federal-level Secretary of State to the United States of America?

  13. What is a ``Gold Standard" and which President abolished it in American Economics?

  14. Briefly describe the Conservative principle of Trickle-Down Economics (not to be confused with Reaganomics, an implementation of the principle):

  15. Briefly describe the Progressive principle (and system) of Social Security:

  16. What year did America secede from the British Empire?

  17. What is the document that declared America's secession from the British Empire?

  18. What year was the Constitution of the United States signed into law?

  19. Who was the only President to resign from the office of the Presidency, and why?

  20. What was the name of the Supreme Court decision that legalized parental-choice partial-birth abortion?

  21. How often are elections held for the Office of the President?

  22. Name at least three reasons for the start of the Korean War:

  23. Briefly describe what happens when someone files suite over the constitutional allowance of a law:

  24. Who was the most recent Supreme Court Justice to die?

  25. What candidate was the last Third-Party candidate to win entire states in the Electoral College, and what was his party?

  26. When did the United States acknowledge the existence of the USSR (The Soviet Republic)?

  27. When did the United States acknowledge the existence of the People's Republic of China (Mainland China)?

  28. Who were the only three Presidents to be investigated for impeachment?

  29. Name the only President impeached, and the reason why:

  30. Briefly define the Conservative principle of a flat tax:

  31. List at least three Pros and at least three Cons for federalization of Minimum Wage:

  32. Briefly describe the purpose of the 14th Amendment, and the condition of State Government prior to the inception of it:

  33. Briefly describe the role of the Federal Reserve:

  34. Who is the current Vice President of the United States?

  35. Briefly describe the Libertarian philosophy named ``The Non-Aggression Principal":

  36. Who was the first President of the United States?

  37. Briefly describe the foundation of government under The Articles of Confederation:

  38. Name the three branches of Government:

  39. What is role of Congress?

  40. What is the role of the President?

  41. What is the role of the Supreme Court?

  42. Was General Robert E. Lee a General for the North or the South in the Civil War?

  43. What was The Pinkerton Private Police Force?

  44. Name at least three causes of The Great Depression:

  45. Define the Socialist philosophy of class struggle:

  46. What is the NATO Alliance?

  47. Who was the last US President that was victim to an attempted assassination attempt, and whom was responsible?

  48. Who was the last US President to die while in Office?

  49. What does the slogan E pluribus unum on the Seal of the United States mean?

  50. How many original colonies (and later states) were there in the early United States?

  51. What was the cause of The Battle of the Little Bighorn?

  52. Christopher Columbus was the Governor of the area which now makes up which modern US State?

  53. Who founded the Virginia Colony?

  54. What religion were the Pilgrims that landed on Plymouth Rock?

  55. What state was the most traveled-to during the period known as ``The Gold Rush"?

  56. What year did ``The Gold Rush" reach its peak?

  57. Who was Senator Joe McCarthy, and what was he famous for?

  58. The Counter-Culture movement of the 1960's is commonly called what?

  59. Name at least two events that led to the riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention:

  60. What is the word ``Doughboy" slang for?

  61. Name the short-lived Political Party created by the Counter-Culture movement of the 1960's:

  62. Name at least four causes for the two joint-events in the 1970's commonly referred to as ``The Energy Crisis":

  63. Who is Jodi Foster and what part did she have in the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan?

  64. Briefly describe The Cuban Missile Crisis:

  65. Briefly describe The Iran-Contra Affair:

  66. Who was Fawn Hall, and what role did she play in the Iran-Contra Affair?

  67. Who was Oliver North, and what role did he play in the Iran-Contra Affair?

  68. What promise was infamously made and broken by George H. W. Bush?

  69. What was the Stamp Act?

  70. Besides working for the Army of the Continental Congress, what career did Paul Revere have?

  71. What controversial act was made by the Bush Jr. Administration after the September 11th attacks?

  72. True or False: Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) were proven to be developed by Saddam Hussein in the country of Iraq.

  73. True or False: The President has the right to declare War on a country.

  74. Briefly describe ``The War Powers Act", the conflict it ended, and the response from it:

  75. Name at least one reason for the controversy surrounding the 2000 General Election:

  76. Briefly describe who Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were, and the crime they committed:

  77. Who were the two candidates to first be televised in debate for a General Election, and what election year was it?

  78. Who was the youngest person to serve as the President?

  79. Who is the current Speaker of the House of Representatives?

  80. Who was George Wallace and what was he famous for doing during the Civil Rights Movement of the early 1960's:

  81. What was Prohibition and what rare constitutional exercise was used to repeal it?

  82. What is the philosophy of ``Green Politics"?

  83. Name at least four candidates nominated by a registered party this election cycle:

  84. What controversies surround The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act?

  85. What Federal Agency was created after the September 11th Attacks in an attempt to unify the CIA and the FBI?

  86. What was a common criticism surrounding J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI led under him?

  87. Briefly summarize the belief of the Ethnic Nationalist:

  88. All US Presidents have the right to access CIA Briefings after they leave the Presidency. Which President is the only one to exercise this right?

  89. Briefly list the events in chronological order of the Elián González affair:

  90. Briefly describe the Wet Foot/Dry Foot policy that the United States has for Cuban Refugees:

  91. What is the definition of a ``State" (e.g. New Jersey) as recognized by the United States?

  92. What is the most recent Supreme Court decision regarding Immigration?

  93. What four European Countries had the most influence in the development of colonies within the Continental United States?

  94. List at least three Pros and at least three Cons to Globalization:

  95. What is the purpose of US Code in comparison with the US Constitution?

  96. What is the role of the Postmaster General?

  97. What is the role of the Surgeon General?

  98. What is the purpose of the CIA in contrast to the FBI?

  99. What was the outcome of the Supreme Court case Brown v. Georgia Board of Education?

  100. Name at least two causes of the first World War:

Appendix I

For those interested, here are some examples of a literacy test from the 1960's. Despite its claim that the test is only given to persons without a fifth-grade education, it was given to all minority groups. It was given to persons in the State of Louisiana. Instead of testing for what it should, basic knowledge, it instead attempts to test aptitude of bizarre logic.