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The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services updated the civics oral section of the naturalization (citizenship) test last Friday. Passing requires a candidate to orally answer 12 out of 20 questions from a known possible pool of 128. Here are some questions from the pool to see if you and your friends can pass.

Let’s start with an easy one. What form of government is the United States?

Democracy? Wrong. In a democracy, all citizens vote on all questions. Our is a representative democracy, or republic, where we elect people to represent us in voting.

How many amendments does the U.S. Constitution have? I know you know this one. Twenty-seven.

Name one document that influenced the U.S. Constitution. The Declaration of Independence; Articles of Confederation; Federalist Papers; Anti-Federalist Papers; Virginia Declaration of Rights; Fundamental Orders of Connecticut; Mayflower Compact; and the Iroquois Great Law of Peace are all acceptable answers.

How many U.S. senators are there and how many voting members in the House? There are 100 senators, two for each state, and 435 voting members of the House, set by statute. There are also six nonvoting members of the House.

How many electors in the Electoral College? The number of senators and representatives would lead one to believe there’s 535 electoral votes if counting only senators and representatives, or 541 if adding in all the nonvoting representatives, but it’s neither.

There are 538 electoral votes as the 23rd Amendment gave the District of Columbia the same number of electors as the least-populous state, which is three, even though they have one nonvoting member of the House.

Other nonvoting members do not participate in the presidential election, including Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

How long is a term for a U.S. senator and a member of the House, and why? U.S. senators serve six-year terms and members of the House, two years. The more frequent election of House members forces them to follow public opinion more closely.

Why does each state have two senators? The Great or Connecticut Compromise during the writing of the U.S. Constitution provided more equal representation for smaller states while giving states with larger populations more representation in the House of Representatives. Prior to this, the Continental Congress was one house with one vote per state.

Is the vice president a Cabinet-level position? Yes.

Name one power that is reserved to the states. Answers include providing schooling and education, police protection, safety (fire departments), issuing drivers’ licenses and/or approving zoning and land use.

Name two promises that new citizens make in the Oath of Allegiance. Answers include: give up loyalty to other countries; defend the U.S. Constitution; obey the laws of the United States; serve in the military (if needed); serve (help, do important work for) the nation (if needed); and be loyal to the United States.

Name one reason why Americans declared independence from Britain. Answers include high taxes; taxation without representation; British soldiers staying in Americans’ homes without invitation (boarding, quartering); lack of self-government; Boston Massacre; Boston Tea Party (Tea Act); Stamp Act; Sugar Act; Townshend Acts (taxes on colonies); and intolerable (coercive) acts by British.

Was Vermont one of the original 13 states? No. It was previously sovereign and was admitted as our 14th state. The original 13 were: New Hampshire; Massachusetts; Rhode Island; Connecticut; New York; New Jersey; Pennsylvania; Delaware; Maryland; Virginia; North Carolina; South Carolina; and Georgia.

Why did the United States enter World War I? To support the Allied Powers (England, France, Italy and Russia); because Germany attacked U.S. civilian ships; and to oppose the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria).

Name one example of an American innovation. Acceptable answers include: Light bulb; automobiles (cars, combustible engine); skyscrapers; airplane; assembly line, landing on the moon; or integrated circuit. There are many more.

Point is, it’s easier being born an American than being naturalized.

Links to all questions and answers are found at /2020test.

Tom Crouser is a business consultant who lives in Mink Shoals. Reach him at and follow @TomCrouser on Twitter.

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