Can You Pass This American General Knowledge Quiz?

By: Allison Lips
Estimated Completion Time
3 min
Can You Pass This American General Knowledge Quiz?
Image: Comstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images

About This Quiz

American history can be complex. The United States is a country that consists of 50 states and many territories. Each one has its own history along with a history that it shares with the rest of the country. However, there are some things every American is expected to know. Despite the fact that the average American goes through 12 years of history classes, we still only learn a fraction of the country's history.
There are some facts every class covers. Everyone knows the United States started as a collection of British colonies. We all know George Washington was a famous Revolutionary War general who became the first United States president. We also know that the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, which forced the United States into World War II. But, do you know how many terms Franklin Delano Roosevelt served? Or who wrote the Constitution? Or who authored of the Declaration of Independence? These are all things covered in school that most of us forget over time. This quiz will give you a chance to prove you remember!


This quiz covers everything from the Revolutionary War to the Supreme Court to the moon landing. Do you have what it takes to ace this quiz?  If so, prove that you are an expect on these basic facts with this American General Knowledge Quiz!



Who was the first president of the United States?
James Monroe
John Adams
George Washington
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

George Washington was born on Feb. 22, 1732. He had three brothers: Samuel, John Augustin and Charles.

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How many terms was Franklin Delano Roosevelt elected president for?
0
2
1
4
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

After President Franklin Roosevelt died in office, Congress passed the 22nd Amendment. This Amendment limits elected presidents to two terms in office.

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In which city was John F Kennedy assassinated?
Dallas
New York City
Austin
Houston
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

In 1946, John F. Kennedy became the representative for Massachusett's 11th congressional district. He was 29 years old.

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Which country helped the United States in the Revolutionary War?
China
England
Canada
France
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

During the American Revolutionary War, Benjamin Franklin led the team responsible for forming an alliance with France. Franklin's popularity in France led to French support from the country and its Foreign Minister Comte de Vergennes.

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In which war did the British burn down the White House?
World War I
The War of 1812
The Civil War
World War II
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

On the morning of Sept. 14, 1814, Francis Scott Key wrote the lyrics to "The Star Spangled Banner." He was inspired after seeing the American flag still waving above Fort McHenry.

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Which state is not one of the original 13 colonies?
New York
New Jersey
Pennsylvania
Florida
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The 13 original colonies were founded between 1607 and 1776. They are Delaware, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Massachusetts, Maryland and New Hampshire.

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What do the stars on the American flag symbolize?
The number of states in the union
The number of presidents
The 13 original colonies
The number of wars Americans have fought in
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Prior to the Executive Order of June 24, 1912, the design varied depending on who made the flag. This order dictated the proportions of the stripes and that the stars should be arranged in six horizontal rows with one point of each star facing upward.

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Who was the president of the Confederate States of America?
Abraham Lincoln
Benedict Arnold
Robert E. Lee
Jefferson Davis
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Jefferson Davis was the first and only president of the Confederate States of America. He was born in Kentucky and raised in Mississippi.

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Which event are 49ers associated with?
Battle of the Alamo
Trail of Tears
World War I
California Gold Rush
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The California Gold Rush was set off by the discovery of gold nuggets in the Sacramento Valley. Thousands of people made their way to California in the hopes of finding gold

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What occurred during the Trail of Tears?
Forced relocation of Native Americans
The bombing of Pearl Harbor
American Independence
Slaves were set free.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Andrew Jackson's Indian removal policy is responsible for the Trail of Tears. In 1838 and 1839, the Cherokee nation was forced to move to present-day Oklahoma.

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Which Revolutionary War figure defected to the British?
Benjamin Franklin
George Washington
Paul Revere
Benedict Arnold
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Before Benedict Arnold defected to Britain, he participated in the capture of Fort Ticonderoga in 1775 and helped orchestrate the surrender of British General John Burgoyne's army at Saratoga. In 1779, he offered the British West Point in exchange fora command in the British Army and money.

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Why did the Boston Tea Party occur?
Colonists felt taxes imposed violated their rights as Englishmen.
The Sons of Liberty wanted to dress up as Native Americans.
The colonists wanted free tea.
The colonists wanted to start a war.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

On December 16, 1773, the Boston Tea Party took place at Griffin's Wharf in Boston, Massachusetts. During the event, 342 chests of British tea were thrown into the harbor.

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In which city was the Declaration of Independence signed?
Philadelphia
Trenton
New York
Washington D.C.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

In 1774, the First Continental Congress convened in Carpenters' Hall. A few years later, Thomas Jefferson would write the Declaration of Independence in the nearby Graff House.

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Which New York island served as an immigration station from 1892 to 1954?
Ellis Island
Rikers Island
Staten Island
Fire Island
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

During the time it operated, Ellis Island processed 12 million immigrants. Today, approximately 40 percent of Americans can trace their family back to Ellis Island.

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Which event happened on Dec. 7, 1941?
Founding of the League of Nations
Signing of the Treaty of Versailles
The attack on Pearl Harbor
The end of World War I.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

On Dec. 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor was attacked by hundreds of Japanese fighter planes just before 8 a.m. Twenty American naval vessels were destroyed or damaged in the attack.

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Who is the only president never to have been elected as president or vice president?
Millard Fillmore
Grover Cleveland
Bill Clinton
Gerald Ford
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Gerald Ford became president after Richard Nixon resigned. Nixon's vice president, Spiro Agnew, had had previously resigned due to a tax scandal.

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Who is the only president to resign?
Bill Clinton
Andrew Johnson
Richard Nixon
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Richard Nixon was the 37th president of the United States. He served from 1969 to 1974.

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Which amendment is the only one to have been repealed?
First Amendment
Second Amendment
Fifth Amendment
Eighteenth Amendment
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Prohibition lasted from 1920 to 1933. Thirteen years later, the 21st Amendment would repeal Prohibition, making it legal to buy, drink, and sell alcohol.

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What plot of land did the United States buy from France?
The Louisiana Purchase
Alaska
Florida
Texas
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The United States bought the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. In the deal, the United States received approximately 827,000 square miles of land for $15 million.

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Before she was overthrown, which state did Queen Lili'uokalani rule?
Ohio
New Jersey
Hawaii
Alaska
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Lili'uokalani ruled Hawaii from 1891 to 1893. She was overthrown in a U.S.-backed coup.

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Where was Abraham Lincoln shot?
Ford's Theatre
On Broadway
The White House
In a log cabin
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Actor John Wilkes Booth assassinated Lincoln as he was watching "Our American Cousin." Coincidentally, Booth's brother, Edwin Booth, had previously prevented Lincoln's song, Robert Todd Lincoln, from falling off a train platform in front of a train.

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Who was the first secretary of the United States Department of the Treasury?
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Franklin
John Jay
Alexander Hamilton
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Alexander Hamilton was born in the British West Indies. However, he would serve as New York's delegate to the Constitutional Convention.

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In 1776, which important U.S. document was signed?
The Consitution
The Bill of Rights
The Declaration of Independence
The Magna Carta
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The Continental Congress declared independence from Britain on July 2, 1776. Two days later, the Declaration of Independence was adopted.

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Which president's face is not on Mount Rushmore?
John Adams
George Washington
Abraham Lincoln
Theodore Roosevelt
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Sculpter Gutzon Borglum is credited with the design of Mouth Rushmore. After he died, his son Lincoln finished the project.

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How many Supreme Court justices currently serve on the nation's highest court?
6
15
9
4
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

When the Supreme Court was established with the Judiciary Act of 1789, it was intended to have six justices. A number of acts would change the number of justices. It finally settled at its current number with the Judiciary Act of 1869.

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What year did the United States send a man to the moon?
1965
1969
1982
1960
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong would become the first man to walk on the moon. Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins were the other astronauts on Apollo 11.

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Which state became the first to ratify the Constitution?
Maine
New York
North Carolina
Delaware
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Delaware ratified the constitution on Dec. 7, 1787. At the Delaware Constitution Convention, all 30 delegates agreed to make Delaware the first state to join the Union.

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Which two presidents died on the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence?
Benjamin Franklin and Alexander Hamilton
Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson
George Washington and James Monroe
Thomas Jefferson and John Adams
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

John Adams was one of the leaders of the Federalist Party. The parties opposition, the Democratic-Republican Party was led by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

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What was the name of President Franklin Roosevelt's first lady?
Eleanor Roosevelt
Mary Todd Lincoln
Martha Washington
Nancy Reagan
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Eleanor Roosevelt was FDR's fifth cousin once removed. She was Theodore Roosevelt's niece. At her wedding to FDR, the former president walked his niece down the aisle.

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Which country sold Alaska to the United States?
Canada
England
Russia
Spain
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

In 1867, Russia sold Alaska to the United States. For three decades, the United States did not do much with Alaska and considered it "Seward's Folly." In 1896, a major gold deposit was discovered, changing U.S. opinion on the purchase.

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Which country was not a U.S. ally in World War I?
Britain
Germany
France
Russia
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The United States entered World War one on April 6, 1971. Initially, Americans were not in favor of entering the war. That changed after several German attacks on U.S. ships and ships carrying Americans, such as the Lusitania.

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Which journalists revealed the Watergate Scandal?
Tom Brokaw and Mike Wallace
Walter Winchell and Barbara Walters
Walter Cronkite and Ben Bradlee
Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

June 17, 1972 marked the beginning of the Watergate Scandal. On that date, members of Nixon's Committee to Re-Elect the President broke into the Democratic National Committee's headquarters in the Watergate complex.

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What was the belief that the United States should own all the land between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans called?
The American Dream
Louisiana Purchase
The Pursuit of Happiness
Manifest Destiny
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The phrase Manifest Destiny was coined in 1845. It describes the 19th-century belief that God chose the U.S. to spread democracy across all of North America.

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Which president was an actor?
Abraham Lincoln
Ronald Reagan
Harry Truman
Dwight Eisenhower
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Ronald Reagan served as the 40th president of the United States from 1981 to 1989. Prior to being elected, he served as president of the Screen Actors Guild and Governor of California.

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The father of the Constitution is which president?
James Madison
George Washington
Barack Obama
Abraham Lincoln
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Not only did James Madison write the Constitution, but he was also one of the authors of the Federalist Papers. John Jay and Alexander Hamilton also contributed to the Federalist Papers.

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