ISI’s big push at the moment is for the Civic Literacy project, which has been garnering quite a bit of coverage, including this piece in USA Today. The project involved testing students (freshmen and seniors) at fifty colleges and universities on their knowledge of elementary U.S. history, civics, foreign policy, and economics. Take the quiz yourself here. My score was 58 out of 60 (96.67%). A little poor, considering it is elementary stuff.

Meanwhile, Daniel Larison links to the Rome quiz, which will tell you which character from HBO’s stupendously historically inaccurate television show you are. The other Daniel was Vorenus, which is good. I’m Caesar, which comes as a bit of a surprise. I wonder if Cicero is one of the possibilities? I would assume so, but evidently I am not he.


You are both powerful and merciful, you respect all the systems around you and make it a point to educate yourself. You are a cautious person who knows all the angles, your drive for success is unparalled, your goals of success can be achieved.

Gaius Julius Caesar


13 thoughts on “Quizzes

  1. John W. Payne September 20, 2007 / 4:45 am

    I scored a 59 out of 60 on ISI’s quiz, and I would’ve had a perfect too if it hadn’t been for that meddling Fed question, which I feel like a moron for missing. They’d have my hide for that one at the Mises Institute.

  2. Daniel McCarthy September 20, 2007 / 4:47 am

    I missed the Fed question too. That and I got a date wrong–the first question, actually. That one I’m embarrassed about.

  3. Daniel Larison September 20, 2007 / 2:03 pm

    59 of 60 as well. It was that same bond question. I am very embarrassed about missing that one, since I grew up around my folks watching the business channel all the time. Had ISI asked about triple-witching day, I would have been in good shape.

    As for Rome, large parts of it are obviously entirely fictionalised, and a number of plotlines have been invented to give the minor characters a role to play. I thought they recreated the events around Caesar’s lifetime and the triumvirate fairly well otherwise.

  4. Evan McLaren September 20, 2007 / 4:01 pm

    I scored 58 out of 60. None of my neocon counterparts here at The Kenyon Observer scored higher than 85%.

  5. Matthew September 20, 2007 / 4:12 pm

    I missed the bond question too – ugh…

    Well John and Dan, it looks like you guys like to throw big parties and are very aggressive when dating. I am Caesar as well.

  6. Daniel McCarthy September 20, 2007 / 9:10 pm

    Matt: I think I actually answered different for the dating and party questions, yet I’m still Caesar. Maybe it just defaults to Caesar…

    Daniel: I don’t mind so much the broad fictionalization involved in “Rome” (after all, if it’s good enough for Shakespeare…), but I was put off by the series’ disregard for class and mores. I also don’t see any good dramatic purpose served by making Octavian a sadomasochist, when there are other, better attested deviances attributed to him that the series could have exploited. I actually think what’s left of Gore Vidal’s script in Caligula(!) does a better job of what Rome was trying to do. But I’ve only seen the second season; perhaps the first was much better.

    I think everyone I know has missed the bond question on the civic literacy quiz so far…

  7. Ashish George September 21, 2007 / 6:01 am

    I’m a recent college graduate (May 2007), and I got 55 out of 60. I missed the Federal Reserve one, the one on the federal government’s largest pay out, the one on inflation, and, most embarassingly, the one on “We hold these truths to be self-evident…” I also missed the one on balance of powers. I didn’t read all the choices, but the correct answer (“A state that seeks to expand its power generates resistance by other states”) seems no more or no less correct than the one I put–“Land and sea powers have tended to balance one another.” It seems like the key point about a balance of power is that states organize to fend off the ambitions of an expansive enemy, and none of the choices capture that.

  8. Xenos September 21, 2007 / 7:11 pm

    60 out of 60

    And I’m Octavian.

  9. R J Stove September 23, 2007 / 10:30 am

    I have managed to acquire a worse civics score than any earlier commentator on this page – a pretty dismal 53 out of 60. (It was in the last half-dozen questions that I went seriously wrong.) Then again, I am a mere Australian, so possibly it is a case of the Wild-West-style injunction “Do not shoot the pianist, he is doing his best.”

    After completing the Rome quiz, I got told that the page was malfunctioning (“we will get back to you shortly”) so I still don’t know if I’m Cleopatra or Third Nubian Slave From The Right.

  10. Daniel McCarthy September 27, 2007 / 6:48 am

    I would score a heck of a lot worse than 53/60 on an Aussie civic lit test, I’m sure, Rob. Did you have any luck getting the “Rome” thing to work? Maybe with you we’ll finally have a Cicero.

  11. R J Stove September 28, 2007 / 12:29 am

    Yes, Dan, I finally got the Rome test to work. To my disappointment (because I was hoping to be Cicero), it turns out I am Lucius somebody – the other name, which I’ve already forgotten, starts with “V”.

    Had I not spent such a long time reading Chronicles, Modern Age, The American Conservative, etc., I wouldn’t have achieved even 53 right answers out of 60 in the civics test, let alone anything better. It’s thanks wholly to those sources that I’ve learnt about, for instance, the fact that a global Pax Americana didn’t spring into being back in 1787.

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