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Tuesday, September 08, 2015

What America Thinks: You Can’t Change History…Or Can You?

Is there a right way and a wrong way to honor our past? Who should make that call? We decided to find out what America thinks.

In June, debate raged over whether South Carolina should still fly the Confederate flag over its state capitol. Voters were supportive of the South Carolina legislature’s decision to take the flag down 150 years after the end of the Civil War.

But Alaskans have been pushing for years to change the name of their state’s highest mountain from Mount McKinley back to its original Indian name Denali. Unfortunately for them, that’s a federal government decision. Finally this week President Obama announced the change. But only 18% of voters think the federal government should be responsible for the names of landmarks and geographic features in this country. Voters strongly believe that should be a state or local government decision.

Americans are protective of their history, too. Some suggested earlier this summer getting rid of monuments such as the Jefferson Memorial and the carving on Stone Mountain in Georgia because they honor men who practiced or defended slavery. But 85% of voters disagree, saying the United States should not erase symbols of its past that are out of line with current sentiments. Most Americans also oppose adding any more presidents to the lineup on Mount Rushmore, perhaps the nation’s most iconic symbol of the presidency.

Most also think their fellow countrymen should be proud of this nation’s overall history, but a disturbingly high 60% question whether the majority is even somewhat knowledgeable about America’s past.

For Rasmussen Reports, I’m Alex Boyer. Remember, if it’s in the news, it’s in our polls.