25% Of Americans Don’t Know What Independence Day Is All About

Another depressing poll demonstrating American historical ignorance.

A new Marist Poll shows that 1 in 4 Americans have no idea what they’ll be celebrating tomorrow:

(CNN) – As Americans get ready to spend a long weekend marking this country’s independence 234 years ago, a new poll suggests more than 1 in 4 Americans don’t know which country America declared its independence from.

According to a new survey from Marist College, 26 percent failed to correctly identify Great Britain as the country the United States fought an eight-year war with to gain its independence.

That percentage of Americans includes the 20 percent who were “unsure” and the six percent who thought the U.S. fought a revolution against another country. Among the countries mentioned were France, China, Japan, Mexico, and Spain, according to the poll.

It gets even worse when you look at the poll internals which show, for example, that 40% of the people polled between the ages of 18 and 29 could not identify Great Britain as the nation that the United States won it’s independence from.

So, apparently, at least some of the twenty-somethings you see tomorrow will be celebrating the anniversary of America’s independence from Tajikistan.

FILED UNDER: Education, Popular Culture, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics, , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. G.A.Phillips says:

    Thats just sad.

  2. JKB says:

    How many of those 20-somethings thought it was the day Will Smith defeated the alien invaders?

    And with 30% of women unable to guess the right answer, it really gives meaning to bubble-headed bimbo.

  3. superdestroyer says:

    Why should the La Raza Republicans care where Americans know anything about American history, culture, or language when the La Raza Republicans have pushed so hard to replace the population of the U.S. will the population of third world countries.

    If you are going to support open borders and unlimited immigration then you have to live the idea that most people living inside the borders will know anything about America or will care about America.

  4. So now we know more fully. What is the cause of this? Lack of education on American History and governance in the schools and at home, because of deemphasis on our founding ideas and our heroes.

    Why is this? Leftist educators in power positions and in unions have decreed it, and school boards have gone along, all with the help of the ACLU and progressives. This has been going on for generations of students, and perhaps some of these ignorant students are now old enough to take positions in a leftist government.

    Is there a remedy? Oh yes! Fire the lot of them, get the federals out of the education business, dissolve the unions, and return the direction of schooing of our children to local and state governments. Good old subsidiarity would go a long way.

    Not going to happen, so we will sail on in ever greater ignorance and bliss.

  5. To those who subscribe a deep ideological or other similar explanation to the above, I would say the following:

    While there is plenty to criticize about American education (and especially social studies/social science and history), there is a simpler explanation here: a lot of students/citizens simply don’t care about this stuff. One suspects that one could find large gaps in knowledge on a host of items, and not because of some political conspiracy.

    I can attest from personal experience that one can repeatedly tell a classroom full of students a simple bit of information over and over and not have it sink in.

    One of the major problems in this realm that isn’t the fault of students, for example, is not an ideological one, but rather that in a vast number of high schools around the country (this is especially true in Alabama): the domain of teaching history and government frequently ceded to a coach whose main focus is athletics, not teaching history and government.

  6. Alexander says:

    Are any of you really surprised? Look at how our education funds get slashed in favor of endless war. Politicians -know- this is happening. They’re trying their hardest to create a nation of idiots and it’s working.

  7. superdestroyer says:


    Could you please provide a reference that says that budgeting more for education will improve academic performance. There is a ton of evidence that says that there is no correlation between spending and academic achievement.

    Wouldn’t the money just be spend reinforcing the idea that the only thing important about Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, etc is that they were slave holders.

  8. The above post, and many of the comments, inspired a post of my own: click.

  9. anjin-san says:

    I think an overall lack of respect for learning and education in our culture has more to do with this problem than any partisan agenda. Millions of Americans are far more worried about which Hollywood starlet has a “baby bump” than understanding history, which actually requires some work.