Do You Know More About Civics Than A Girl Scout?

You Can Count on Her, 1958.

You Can Count on Her, 1958. Courtesy of the Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania.

Quick! Recite the preamble to the Constitution. Now, outline the main points of U.S. naturalization laws. Ready for your next question? What’s the president’s salary? The vice president’s? How about members of Congress? We’re not done yet; now can you explain how Washington, D.C. is governed, list the location of public buildings in your hometown, explain how your state’s lieutenant governor is selected, and describe the history of the Declaration of Independence?

These are just a few of the questions a Girl Scout of 1913 had to answer to receive her civics badge. When Juliette Gordon Low imported the idea of Girl Scouts from Britain in 1912, she was inspired by scouting’s mix of outdoor activities and civic engagement. A girl courageous and self-reliant enough to pitch a tent, hike up a mountain, and cook her own food outside would be, scouting leaders believed, courageous and self-reliant enough to tackle the challenges of ensuring democracy. The first step, of course, in becoming an active and engaged citizen is learning how one’s government works–thus the eleven detailed questions a girl had to answer to earn her Civics badge.

Want to see if you know as much as a Girl Scout of 1913? The full set of questions is below. After your quiz, come check out On My Honor: 100 Years of Girl Scouting, an exhibition opening May 12 here at the National Constitution Center.

Page from 1913 Girl Scout handbook showing Civics badge questions.

Page from the 1913 Girl Scout handbook showing Civics badge questions.

On My Honor: 100 Years of Girl Scouting is sponsored by the Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company and is on view  at the National Constitution Center from May 12 through December 31, 2012. The exhibit is free with museum admission.

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