Fourth of July Quiz: Can You Answer the Hardest Citizenship Test Questions? – The New York Times

A naturalization ceremony in Los Angeles last year. Mario Tama/Getty Images

With your American citizenship on the line, could you answer the following question? Take a moment. Because, according to a 2011 study, this is the hardest of the 100 possible questions asked on the United States citizenship test.”

You need to get 6 out of 10 questions to become an American citizen. Here are some of the very hardest. I got 7, Kathleen got a 8. Warning, It is hard. Take away, researchers find that testers can make any random set of questions ridiculously hard for an immigrant.

Ulysses S. Grant: New Biography of ‘A Nobody From Nowhere’ – The New York Times

 

AMERICAN ULYSSES           A Life of Ulysses S. Grant

By Ronald C. White        Illustrated. 826 pp. Random House. $35

“Gore Vidal did not expect Ulysses S. Grant to be funny. In the novel “1876,” Vidal’s protagonist, Charles Schermerhorn Schuyler, hears an anecdote about President Grant’s disgust with Senator Charles Sumner’s ego. It was said that Sumner did not believe in the Bible. “No, I suppose not,” Grant replied; “he didn’t write it.”

“I laughed spontaneously, and with some surprise,” Vidal wrote, in the voice of Schuyler. “I had not thought General Grant a wit.” Few did, or do. When Grant came to Washington to take overall command of the Union armies in early 1864, he struck one officer as “stumpy, unmilitary, slouchy.” Maj. Gen. George Meade wrote that Grant “is very reticent, has never mixed with the world and has but little manner, indeed is somewhat ill at ease in the presence of strangers; hence a first impression is never favorable.”

“The world” Meade wrote of was less a sphere than a stratum, one of sophistication and social standing — for this was the era evoked in Edith Wharton’s “Age of Innocence” as much as Mark Twain’s “Roughing It.” Grant was roughing it. The Ohio-born son of a tanner, he survived West Point, did well at war in Mexico, then resigned from the Army amid rumors of heavy drinking. He failed in business, failed in farming and finally fell into his father’s leather shop in Galena, Ill. The Civil War slid him back into uniform. When he fought, he rose. However high his rank, though, he remained a nobody from nowhere, and he knew it. Grant hardened the membrane of contact between himself and “the world” into awkward armor plate, stiff layers of silence.”

Source: Ulysses S. Grant: New Biography of ‘A Nobody From Nowhere’ – The New York Times

Allen Guelzo: What Did Lincoln Really Think of Jefferson?

Allen Guelzo, NYT: ” “Mr. Lincoln hated Thomas Jefferson as a man,” wrote William Henry Herndon, Lincoln’s law partner of 14 years — and “as a politician.” Especially after Lincoln read Theodore F. Dwight’s sensational, slash-all biography of Jefferson in 1839, Herndon believed “Mr. Lincoln never liked Jefferson’s moral character after that reading.”

True enough, Thomas Jefferson had not been easy to love, even in his own time. No one denied that Jefferson was a brilliant writer, a wide reader and a cultured talker. But his contemporaries also found him “a man of sublimated and paradoxical imagination” and “one of the most artful, intriguing, industrious and double-faced politicians in all America.” ”

Publicly, Lincoln revered the author of the Declaration of Independence. Privately, not so much.
nytimes.com|By Allen C. Guelzo