When applying for citizenship to the United States you must be competent in the English language and in the history and government of the United States. These tests are respectively known as the English and civics test. The interviewing USCIS officer will evaluate your English competence while he or she quizzes you on U.S. civics. So, every once in a while, we’ll discuss some questions that might be asked during your civics test.
The questions are taken from the USCIS’ Civics study guide.
What is an amendment?
The word “amendment” means an addition or addendum and when used in context of U.S. government it is referring to a change or addition to the Constitution. The constitution is the most important government document in the United States, so any changes to it, by way of amendments, is considered a big deal. To help you remember the word amendment think about how it has the letters “a” and “d” in it which sounds like “add” and is therefore an addition.
What are the first ten amendments of the Constitution called?
This one is a little tricky because the answer to the question is not to be found in its context. No matter, though. To help you remember what the first ten amendments are called here’s a little history to give it context. When the Constitution was first written there were two groups of people who argued over its completeness. One group said that it was fine as it was, while the other group believed that there should be a set of rights added to it to make sure that those rights could not be abused by the fledgling government. The second group proposed 12 separate rights, but only ten were accepted. These were the bill of rights and they are the first ten amendments to the constitution.
What is one right or freedom from the First Amendment?
Like I mentioned before, the bill of rights was created to guarantee the protection of certain rights available to citizens from the newly formed United States government. The First Amendment is particularly dense with information and guarantees five rights. The first phrase is Congress shall make no law respecting… this means that these areas of interest are free from restriction by congress. These areas are:
- Speech: you can say what you want without fear of reprisal from the government.
- Religion: you can practice whatever religion you care to follow and there will not be a state religion.
- Press: you can publish any sort of work you care to print.
- Assembly: you can protest, or just simply gather with other people without the government interfering.
- Petition: you can ask congress to do something through the petition process.
Though there are exceptions to all of these rights, they are rather closely guarded by the courts and by patriotic Americans as being the soul of the U.S. government.
When applying for citizenship consider which right you hold most dear as a permanent resident or as a potential citizen and remember that one for the interview.
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