Survey Reveals Most Americans Can’t Name Nation’s Founding Fathers

August 15, 2007
Presidential $1 Coin Featuring Thomas Jefferson Rolls into Circulation Tomorrow

WASHINGTON (August 15, 2007) – A survey commissioned by the United States Mint has found that most Americans don’t know that Thomas Jefferson was the Nation’s third President and a shockingly small number could name the first four Presidents in order. The United States Mint released the findings of the Presidential $1 Coin Survey, as the third Presidential $1 Coin featuring Jefferson heads into circulation nationwide tomorrow.

“That’s what’s great about the Presidential $1 Coin Program,” said United States Mint Director Ed Moy in an event today for the new Jefferson coin at the Jefferson Memorial in Washington. “This series of circulating coins provides the perfect opportunity for Americans to learn more about our Presidents and the critical role they played in some of our Nation’s historic milestones.”

Only 7 percent of those surveyed could name the Nation’s first four Presidents in order: George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. When asked specifically about Thomas Jefferson, only 30 percent knew that he was our Nation’s third President. However, slightly more than half of Americans, 57%, knew that Thomas Jefferson was the main author of the Declaration of Independence, the Presidential $1 Coin Survey revealed.

The United States Mint celebrated the new Thomas Jefferson $1 Coin by allowing visitors to the Jefferson Memorial to exchange dollar bills for the new coins one day ahead of their official release nationwide. Thomas Jefferson re–enactors walked among the crowd, quizzing them on their Presidential knowledge.

The public may obtain Thomas Jefferson $1 Coins at most banks and financial institutions throughout the country tomorrow, Thursday, August 16, 2007. Thomas Jefferson $1 Coins in collector bags and rolls will be available for purchase on the United States Mint’s website,, at 12:00 noon (ET) on August 16.

Survey Findings:
The Presidential $1 Coin Survey, commissioned by the United States Mint, also found:

  • Only 22 percent of Americans know that there have been 43 U.S. Presidents to date.
  • Only 21 percent of Americans know that the faces of Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt are carved on Mount Rushmore.
  • Only 35 percent of Americans surveyed knew Thomas Jefferson is featured on the nickel.
  • Only 28 percent of Americans surveyed knew that John Adams and John Quincy Adams were the original father–son pair of Presidents.
  • However, 68 percent of Americans surveyed knew that George Washington led the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War.

To help Americans brush up on their Presidential history, the United States Mint provides a number of educational materials on its website, including: downloadable lesson plans for teachers and parents; background information on the Presidents featured in the Presidential $1 Coin Program; and other fun, educational and interactive options. Information and materials are free and readily available at

Historic Change
The United States Mint inaugurated the Presidential $1 Coin series with the George Washington $1 Coin in February 2007. The John Adams $1 Coin followed in May.

More than half a billion George Washington and John Adams $1 Coins have been ordered to date by the Federal Reserve for circulation. Public awareness of the new Presidential $1 Coins has tripled from approximately 18 percent in November 2006, when the designs of the coins were unveiled, to 64 percent in June 2007.

The obverse (heads side) of the Thomas Jefferson $1 Coin was designed and sculpted by Joe Menna, a United States Mint Medallic Artist. The reverse (tails side) on all the Presidential $1 Coins is a magnificent image of the Statue of Liberty, designed and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor–Engraver Don Everhart.

The United States Mint is offering financial institutions and retail businesses free informational materials via$1coin. Students, teachers, parents and educational organizations also can access lesson plans and other free educational tools on the same website.

Congress authorized and President Bush signed the Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005. The Act requires the Secretary of the Treasury to mint and issue $1 coins honoring the United States Presidents in the order in which they served, with four new designs annually.

Each President will be honored with a single Presidential $1 Coin, regardless of the number of consecutive terms he served, except for Grover Cleveland, the only U.S. President to serve non–consecutive terms. He will be honored on two coins. No living, former or current President can be honored on a Presidential $1 Coin.

For more information on the new Presidential $1 Coins, go to$1coin. For television stations ONLY, a satellite feed of b–roll showing the event at the Jefferson Memorial and Thomas Jefferson Presidential $1 Coins being minted will be available today, Wednesday, August 15 at 1:15–1:45 p.m. ET – GA 26C, Tr. 9 DL 3880V, at 3:30–3:45 p.m. ET – GA 26C, Tr. 9 DL 3880V and at 7:30–7:45 p.m. ET – GA 26C, Tr. 9 DL 3880V.

Digital images of the Thomas Jefferson $1 Coin may be obtained at

Survey Methods: The United States Mint commissioned The Gallup Organization to conduct the Presidential $1 Coin Survey referenced in this release. Results for this panel study are based on telephone interviews with 1,000 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted July 18–25, 2007. Respondents were drawn from Gallup’s household panel, which was originally recruited through random selection methods. The final sample is weighted so it is representative of U.S. adults nationwide. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.


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