Are You a U.S. History Expert?

By: Patrick J. Kiger

Are You a U.S. History Expert?
Image: ©AnitaBurke / Moment / Getty Images

About This Quiz

The United States has a rich history filled with many major historical events. Test your U.S. history knowledge with this quiz!
Where did the Pilgrims live right before they sailed to Massachusetts?
Belgium
Egypt
the Netherlands
Fleeing religious persecution, the Pilgrims left England and resettled briefly in the Netherlands before sailing to the New World in 1620.

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Which president said, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall"?
Jimmy Carter
Ronald Reagan
President Ronald Reagan urged Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall in a 1987 speech in West Berlin.
Gerald Ford

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Why did Gen. George Washington cross the Delaware River in December 1776?
to escape
to get provisions
to surprise the enemy
Washington led his troops in boats across the icy Delaware to defeat the Hessians in Trenton, New Jersey.

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Who gave a speech in 1775 proclaiming, "Give me liberty, or give me death"?
James Madison
Patrick Henry
Patrick Henry gave a speech at the Virginia Convention in 1775, in which he uttered the famous rallying call, "Give me liberty, or give me death."
Nathan Hale

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Which of these foods wasn't served by the Pilgrims at the first Thanksgiving dinner in 1621?
pumpkin pie
The Pilgrims couldn’t have served pumpkin pie because they lacked sugar and the ingredients to make crust.
venison
Indian corn

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Where did American protesters throw the East India Company's tea in 1773?
Hudson River
Boston Harbor
American protesters tossed the East India Company's tea into Boston Harbor to protest its monopoly on tea imports. This act became known as the Boston Tea Party.
Mississippi River

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When did an invading army capture and burn the nation's capital?
1814
British troops captured and burned the Capitol and White House in 1814.
1778
1863

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The French and Indian War was part of which larger conflict?
World War I
Seven Years' War
The French and Indian War, which lasted from 1754 to 1763, was part of the Seven Years' War.
Hundred Years' War

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Which Supreme Court decision helped lead to the Civil War?
Plessy v. Ferguson
Dred Scott v. Sandford
Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857) barred Congress from blocking slavery in the territories and helped lead to the Civil War.
Roe v. Wade

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Whose arrest sparked the 1955-56 Montgomery bus boycott?
Martin Luther King, Jr.
James Meredith
Rosa Parks
Rosa Parks was arrested in 1955 for refusing to give her seat to a white person, which triggered the boycott.

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Which Civil War battle climaxed with Pickett's Charge?
Vicksburg
Antietam
Gettysburg
In Pickett's Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, 12,000 Confederate soldiers failed to break through the center of the Union line.

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Which of these disputes between the British government and American colonists helped lead to the Revolutionary War?
settling of the western frontier
The colonists wanted to settle the western frontier, while the British government sought to limit expansion.
slavery
women's suffrage

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Who commanded the crew that struck back after Pearl Harbor by bombing Tokyo in 1942?
Douglas MacArthur
James Doolittle
Lt. Col. James Doolittle led an air attack on Tokyo in April 1942.
Charles Lindbergh

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What decrypted secret message drove the U.S. to enter World War I?
the Balfour declaration
the Pumpkin papers
the Zimmerman telegram
German Foreign Secretary Arthur Zimmerman sent a telegram to Mexico proposing an alliance against the U.S.

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Who led an armed slave rebellion in Virginia in 1831?
Nat Turner
Nat Turner lead an unsuccessful slave revolt in 1831 and was captured and executed.
Frederick Douglass
John Brown

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Which president got a 1,400-pound (635-kilogram) cheese wheel as a gift from a supporter?
Abraham Lincoln
Andrew Jackson
In 1835, Col. Thomas S. Meacham sent Jackson the cheese wheel, which the president served at a White House reception two years later.
John Quincy Adams

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What was the main reason French colonists settled in North America?
farming
religious
trading
Unlike the English, who wanted land for farming, the French mainly wanted to trade with Native Americans for furs.

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Who in the Continental Congress first introduced the motion for independence?
Richard Henry Lee
Richard Henry Lee introduced the motion in June 1776, and soon Thomas Jefferson drafted a declaration of independence .
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Franklin

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Who was the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate?
Ophelia Wyatt Caraway
Ophelia Wyatt Caraway elected to the U.S. Senate in 1932.
Carol Moseley Braun
Hillary Clinton

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How much did Dutch colonists pay the American Indians for Manhattan Island in 1624?
10 Dutch guilders
60 Dutch guilders
The Dutch paid with goods worth 60 Dutch guilders, which is about $780 today. Dollars didn't yet exist.
800 Dutch guilders

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Which president won a Nobel Peace Prize for helping end the war between Russia and Japan?
Theodore Roosevelt
President Theodore Roosevelt won the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating an end to the 1904-1905 Russo-Japanese conflict.
Woodrow Wilson
William McKinley

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Which president signed legislation curbing speech critical of the government?
Andrew Jackson
John Adams
In 1798, President John Adams signed the Alien and Sedition Acts, which restricted criticism of the government.
William Howard Taft

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Where was the famous Lost Colony located?
North Carolina
Roanoke Island, aka the Lost Colony, vanished between 1588 and 1590 while the settlement's governor, John White, went to England for supplies.
Virginia
New York

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Who is usually credited as the first European explorer to set foot in what is now the U.S.?
Christopher Columbus
Juan Ponce de León
The Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon, who reached Florida in 1513, traditionally has been recognized as the first European to visit what is now the U.S.
John Cabot

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How much land did the U.S. get from France in the Louisiana Purchase?
100 million acres
530 million acres
The U.S. acquired 530 million acres from the French for $15 million in 1803.
750 million acres

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Which president said, "Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate"?
John F. Kennedy
President John F. Kennedy proclaimed the virtue of negotiating in his 1961 inaugural address.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Ronald Reagan

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What was the President George Washington's annual salary?
$5,000
$50,000
$25,000
Congress voted to pay Washington $25,000 a year, a presidential salary that went unchanged until 1873.

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What was the first case in which the Supreme Court overturned an act of Congress?
Brown v. Board of Education
Dred Scott v. Sandford
Marbury v. Madison
In 1803, Marbury v. Madison established judicial review, the power of the Supreme Court to overturn Congressional legislation.

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Which was the last of the 13 colonies to be founded?
Georgia
Georgia was founded in 1732.
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island

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Who was the first U.S. president to win election while losing the popular vote?
Rutherford B. Hayes
John Quincy Adams
In 1824, the House of Representatives awarded John Quincy Adams the victory, even though he got fewer electoral and popular votes than Andrew Jackson.
George W. Bush

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