Nearly a quarter of the nation gets the origin of Independence Day wrong, citing countries like Mexico, Russia and Afghanistan as the oppressive ruler the founding fathers moved to break away from in a 1776 "Declaration of Independence."
And according to a new poll, slightly more didn't know the year the colonies declared independence.
"A notable proportion of Americans may need to brush up on their U.S. history," said the NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll.
Some 77 percent correctly cite Great Britain as the nation the U.S. leaders declared independence from. But 23 percent mentioned another country or are unsure.
"Thirteen other countries get tabbed as the country from which the United States gained its independence. A scattering of people mention France, Mexico, and Germany among the longer list of countries. At least one person surveyed mentioned Afghanistan, Brazil, Canada, China, Columbia, Denmark, Italy, Japan, Panama, or Russia," said Lee M. Miringoff, director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.
As for the year the colonies declared independence, the poll analysis said:
Three in ten Americans, 30%, also do not know the year in which the United States declared its independence. Included here are 11% of residents who mention a year other than 1776 and 19% who are unsure. But, there has been improvement. In 2011, 42% of U.S. residents were unaware of the year the United States broke away from Great Britain. 69%, up from 58%, now say the United States declared its independence in 1776.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org