Friday, August 18, 2017

Civics Literacy Test

Within the last few weeks I stumbled across a pdf  labelled "1960s Alabama Literacy Test".  The host is a state university that has put it in a 'jimcrow' folder, so I assume it is presented as an example of the ways people were excluded from the vote when they attempted to register.  I post it here as a curiosity, as  I suspect even those like myself who are well-versed in history and civics will find it challenging.  For the answers, click here for another version of the test hosted by PBS.

1. Which of the following is a right guaranteed by the Bill of Rights?

  • Public Education
  • Employment
  • Trial by Jury
  • Voting

2. The federal census of population is taken every five years.
_____True _____False

3. If a person is indicted for a crime, name two rights which he has.

4. A U.S. senator elected at the general election in November takes office the following year on what date?

5. A President elected at the general election in November takes office the following year on what date?

6. Which definition applies to the word “amendment?”

  • Proposed change, as in a Constitution
  • Make of peace between nationals at war
  • A part of the government

7. A person appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court is appointed for a term of:

8. When the Constitution was approved by the original colonies, how many states had to ratify it in order for it to be in effect?

9. Does enumeration affect the income tax levied on citizens in various states?

10. Person opposed to swearing in an oath may say, instead:

11. To serve as President of the United States, a person must have attained:

  • 25 years of age
  • 35 years of age
  • 40 years of age
  • 45 years of age

12. What words are required by law to be on all coins and paper currency of the U.S.?

13. The Supreme Court is the chief lawmaking body of the state.
_____True _____False

14. If a law passed by a state is contrary to provisions of the U.S. Constitution, which law prevails?

15. If a vacancy occurs in the U.S. Senate, the state must hold an election, but meanwhile the
place may be filled by a temporary appointment made by:

16. A U.S. senator is elected for a term of _____ years.

17. Appropriation of money for the armed services can be only for a period limited to _____ years.

18. The chief executive and the administrative offices make up the ___________________
branch of government.

19. Who passes laws dealing with piracy?_________________________________________

20. The number of representatives which a state is entitled to have in the House of Representatives is based on:

21. The Constitution protects an individual against punishments which are _______________
and _______________________.

22. When a jury has heard and rendered a verdict in a case, and the judgment on the verdict has become final, the defendant cannot again be brought to trial for the same cause.
_____True _____False

23. Name two levels of government which can levy taxes:

24. Communism was the type of government in:

  • U.S.
  • Russia
  • England

25. Cases tried before a court of law are two types, civil and _________________________.

26. By a majority vote of the members of Congress, the Congress can change provisions of the Constitution of the U.S.
_____True _____False

27. For security, each state has a right to form a:

28. The electoral vote for President is counted in the presence of two bodies. Name them:

29. If no candidate for President receives a majority of the electoral vote, who decides who will become President?

30. Of the original 13 states, the one with the largest representation in the first Congress was:

31. Of which branch of government is the Speaker of the House a part?

  • Executive
  • Legislative
  • Judicial

32. Capital punishment is the giving of a death sentence.
_____True _____False

33. In case the President is unable to perform the duties of his office, who assumes them?

34. “Involuntary servitude” is permitted in the U.S. upon conviction of a crime.
_____True _____False

35. If a state is a party to a case, the Constitution provides that original jurisdiction shall be in

36. Congress passes laws regulating cases which are included in those over which the U.S. Supreme Court has ____________________________________________ jurisdiction.

37. Which of the following is a right guaranteed by the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution.

  • Public Housing
  • Education
  • Voting
  • Trial by Jury

38. The Legislatures of the states decide how presidential electors may be chosen.
_____True _____False

39. If it were proposed to join Alabama and Mississippi to form one state, what groups would have to vote approval in order for this to be done?

40. The Vice President presides over:

41. The Constitution limits the size of the District of Columbia to:

42. The only laws which can be passed to apply to an area in a federal arsenal are those passed by ___________________________________________ provided consent for the purchase of the land is given by the _________________________________________.

43. In which document or writing is the “Bill of Rights” found?

44. Of which branch of government is a Supreme Court justice a part?

  • Executive
  • Legislative
  • Judicial

45. If no person receives a majority of the electoral votes, the Vice President is chosen by the Senate.
_____True _____False

46. Name two things which the states are forbidden to do by the U.S. Constitution.

47. If election of the President becomes the duty of the U.S. House of Representatives and it fails to act, who becomes President and when?

48. How many votes must a person receive in order to become President if the election is decided by the U.S. House of Representatives?

49. How many states were required to approve the original Constitution in order for it to be in effect?

50. Check the offenses which, if you are convicted of them, disqualify you for voting:

  • Murder
  • Issuing worthless checks
  • Petty larceny
  • Manufacturing whiskey

51. The Congress decides in what manner states elect presidential electors.
_____True _____False

52. Name two of the purposes of the U.S. Constitution.

53. Congress is composed of:

54. All legislative powers granted in the U.S. Constitution may legally be used only by

55. The population census is required to be made very _____ years.
56. Impeachments of U.S. officials are tried by:

57. If an effort to impeach the President of the U.S. is made, who presides at the trial?

58. On the impeachment of the chief justice of the Supreme Court of the U.S., who tries the

59. Money is coined by order of:

  • U.S. Congress
  • The President’s Cabinet
  • State Legislatures

60. Persons elected to case a state’s vote for U.S. President and Vice President are called presidential __________________:

61. Name one power which is exclusively legislative and is mentioned in one of the parts of
the U.S. Constitution above:

62. If a person flees from justice into another state, who has authority to ask for his return?

63. Whose duty is it to keep Congress informed of the state of the union?

64. If the two houses of Congress cannot agree on adjournment, who sets the time?

65. When presidential electors meet to case ballots for President, must all electors in a state vote for the same person for President or can they vote for different persons if they so choose?

66. After the presidential electors have voted, to whom do they send the count of their votes?

67. The power to declare war is vested in:

68. Any power and rights not given to the U.S. or prohibited to the states by the U.S. Constitution are specified as belonging to whom?


  1. #17 and a few of the 40s stymied me. I know the federal district is a plot of land between Maryland and Virginia on the Potomac. I don't know its exact acreage, though the beast has spread beyond the District..

  2. I will be stripped of my citizenship when my test results are reported to Big Brother. To where will I be exiled? Hmmmm.


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