Happy Constitution Day

September 17, 2013


Take the Constitution Day Quiz!  Then add an extra ten points for this bonus question:

Which article of the US Constitution confers citizenship on residents of US Insular Areas? (Scroll down for the answer.)

There are a lot of great things being written today about Constitution Day –  September 17, the day when any school receiving US federal money must educate its students about our nation’s founding document. One of my favorites is Bill Bigelow’s piece in the Huffington Post, on teaching obedience vs. teaching history. Bigelow asked his students to create their own Constitutional Convention – but playing roles in which they represented all the races, genders, and occupations living in the American colonies in 1787. Needless to say, their Constitution came out a little differently than the one ultimately crafted by our (white, land- and slave-holding) Founding Fathers. How different would life be for residents of the Insular Areas today, if the Constitution had also been crafted by women, farmers, slaves, and people of color?


* Answer: none. According to Wikipedia: “Because those insular areas that are inhabited are unincorporated territories, their native-born inhabitants are not constitutionally entitled to United States citizenship under the Citizenship Clause.” Congress did eventually extend citizenship rights to all inhabited territories – and the District of Columbia – except American Samoa, whose residents are US Nationals.