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Way Too Many Americans Think We Declared Independence From Mexico In 1776

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Some Americans apparently believe that the U.S. declared its independence from Mexico in 1776, according to a poll released Tuesday.

While 77 percent of the people surveyed correctly named Great Britain when asked which country the United States won its independence from, 23 percent — nearly a quarter of the population — named the wrong country or weren’t sure, a NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll found.

“A scattering of people mention France, Mexico and Germany among the longer list of countries,” said Dr. Lee Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.

At least one person out of more than 1,000 people surveyed answered that the U.S. declared independence from Afghanistan, Brazil, Canada, China, Columbia, Denmark, Italy, Japan, Panama or Russia.

The registered voters taking the poll didn’t do much better than the average — around 79 percent of those polled who are registered to vote answered the question correctly.

Republican and Independent voters were slightly more knowledgeable about the founding of the country than Democrats. A full 82 percent of Republicans and 83 percent of Independents correctly identified Great Britain, while 72 percent of Democrats got the answer right, according to the data.

The poll does have some good news, however. Americans are getting better at naming the year America declared independence from Great Britain. When Marist conducted a similar poll in 2011, 42 percent of respondents could not name the year the U.S. broke away from Great Britain. Now 69 percent, up from 58 percent, say that the country declared its independence in 1776.

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