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New Poll Asks Americans About History Of Independence Day

Finds Only 58 Percent Know When The United States Declared Independence
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Fireworks explode over the Hudson River during the Macy's fireworks display (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

Fireworks explode over the Hudson River during the Macy’s fireworks display (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – It may be hard to believe, but apparently a lot of Americans don’t even know what the 4th of July is all about. A new Marist poll found a lot of people are fuzzy about the reason why we celebrate Independence Day.

According to the poll, only 58 percent of Americans know the United States declared its independence in 1776. Twenty-six percent were unsure and 16 percent said another date.

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The poll also found that one in four Americans don’t know from which country we declared our independence.  It found that while 76 percent correctly said Great Britain, 19 percent were unsure and five percent said a different country.

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Paul Giana, a teacher from New York City, calls the poll results shocking. “It’s not a focus anymore,” he said. “It’s kind of our responsibility to have a stronger sense of history and I think we do a poor job of passing that on to the next generation.”

In fact, the poll found that age is a factor when it comes to knowing the correct answers about American history. It said only 31 percent of adults younger than 30 knew that 1776 is when we declared independence.

“No one is scoring an A plus on these questions regardless of age, but when it comes to people under 30, clearly those numbers are pretty disturbing,” said Lee Miringhoff, director of the Marist poll.

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That percentage does increase with older Americans with 59 percent between the ages of 30 and 44 and 75 percent between 45 and 59 knowing the answer.  

The poll surveyed more than a thousand people. To read the full July 4th Marist poll, click here.

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