Can You Score 27/35 On This Difficult American History Quiz?

By: Gavin Thagard
Estimated Completion Time
3 min
Can You Score 27/35 On This Difficult American History Quiz?
Image: VisionsofAmerica/Joe Sohm/DigitalVision/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Wars, foreign relations, internal struggles, leaders, legislation; American history can teach us a lot about ourselves and where we come from. However, that history can also be quite difficult to fully grasp sometimes. Are you an expert on American history? Here's a quiz where you can find out just how much you know!

Even before the founding of the United States as an independent country, America's history was complicated, from colonial times to the American Revolution, and even when it comes to more recent history, that hasn't changed. The history of America, of course, has been marred by some grim segments, particularly related to Indian removal and slavery, but it's also been inspirational, displaying the triumphs of a country still finding itself and its place in the world. 

Are you ready to test your knowledge on American history with this difficult quiz? Can you recall some of the lesser-known facts relating to the most significant events that shaped the United States? Do you know which presidencies were defined by important legislation or acts? 

This quiz will challenge you on all aspects of American society from culture to economics to politics. If you are up for the challenge, get started and put your American history knowledge on display for everyone to see!

Who was the first European to explore the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River?
John Cabot
Jacques Cartier
Francis Drake
Vasco da Gama
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Sailing up the St. Lawrence River, Jacques Cartier discovered what is now Canada. The first to explore the region, he claimed it for France, his home country.

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What settlement did Walter Raleigh attempt to establish?
Saint Augustine
Jamestown
Roanoke
Hampton
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Walter Raleigh never actually went to North America himself. Instead, he sent several expeditions to the area in his place, though a permanent colony was never established.

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After Jamestown, where was the capital of the Virginia colony moved to?
Richmond
Petersburg
Onancock
Williamsburg
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Jamestown marked the first time an English settlement lasted in the Americas. The settlement was started by the Virginia Company in 1607.

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Where did the Proclamation of 1763 limit colonial settlement to?
The Appalachian Mountains
The Mississippi River
The Rocky Mountains
The Pacific Ocean
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The Proclamation of 1763 was made after the French and Indian War, which English colonists saw as an opportunity to expand their land. With the proclamation, however, their hope was halted, increasing tension between the colonists and Britain.

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Which group was organized in opposition to the Stamp Act?
Abolitionists
Freedom Fighters
The Dough Boys
The Sons of Liberty
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The Stamp Act was an attempt by Britain to have the colonists pay for the French and Indian War that had recently ended. Since the colonists were given no say in the matter, they began to rise in opposition to the British Parliament.

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What did Benedict Arnold offer the British for money and a higher military position?
West Point
New York
Washington D.C.
Jamestown
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

After the Revolution ended, Benedict Arnold was heavily criticized for his disloyalty and betrayal. Even today, Arnold is seen as the ultimate traitor to the American cause.

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What was the first U.S. state?
Georgia
Delaware​
North Carolina
Virginia
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Delaware was admitted to the Union on December 7, 1787. It was followed five days later by Pennsylvania. The last of the original 13 colonies wasn't admitted to the Union until 1790.

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Which president signed into law the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793?
James Monroe
Thomas Jefferson
George Washington
Alexander Hamilton
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

George Washington served only two terms as president of the United States. He stepped down even though he was still heavily favored in the next election.

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The Louisiana Purchase was made with which foreign country?
Spain
France
Britain
Russia
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Engulfed in a major European conflict, France was desperate for money when they agreed to the Louisiana Purchase. The deal heavily favored the United States and was a defining moment in Thomas Jefferson's presidency.

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What year did the Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves go into effect?
1808
1813
1821
1833
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

American slave labor slowly became less important, particularly in the North where free Americans needed jobs. However, the cotton boom in the South made the region more reliant on an additional labor source.

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Which future president organized a battalion of free blacks in the War of 1812?
John Tyler
James Polk
Andrew Jackson
Rutherford Hayes
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Andrew Jackson was known as the president of the "common man." However, he very much asserted authoritarian measures at times, increasing the power of the presidency during his time in office through tools like the veto.

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What treaty ended the War of 1812?
Treaty of Paris
Treaty of Versailles
Treaty of Tordesillas
Treaty of Ghent
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

President James Madison guided the United States through the War of 1812. Small in stature, Madison wasn't much of a military man, serving briefly in the pre-Revolutionary military before turning to writing and politics.

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Where was the gold which sped up the Indian Removal Act found?
Georgia
Florida
Virginia
Delaware
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Known as the "Trail of Tears," the removal of Indians from the east resulted in thousands of deaths. The act tarnished the legacy of President Andrew Jackson who signed it into law.

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Who was sent to the Alamo to receive the troops and supplies before destroying the fort?
James Polk
Winfield Scott
James Bowie
Zachary Taylor
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

When James Bowies reached the Alamo, he decided the plan to evacuate wouldn't work because a large portion of the supplies would be left behind. Instead, he decided to defend the fort, leading to one of the most iconic battles in American history.

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In which Mexican city did General Winfield Scott land his troops during the invasion of Mexico in 1847?
Havana
Merida
Cuernavaca
Veracruz
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

In March 1847, during the height of the Mexican-American War, the United States landed over 10,000 troops on the coast of Mexico. It marked the first large-scale amphibious invasion in U.S. history.

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What were the migrants who headed to California in 1849 for the Gold Rush called?
Scaliwags
Forty-niners
Carpetbaggers
Dough Boys
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The gold rush resulted in one of the largest migrations in American history. Before the gold rush ended, over 300,000 people had moved to California, hoping to strike it big.

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What book did Harriet Beecher Stowe write?
"The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn"
"The Known World"
"Uncle Tom's Cabin"
"Up from Slavery"
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

"Uncle Tom's Cabin" depicted the cruelty of slavery in the American South. The book is credited with fueling the abolitionist movement in the North.

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Which state was acquired in the Gadsden Purchase?
Oregon
Montana
Arizona
Wisconsin
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The Gadsden Purchase was a deal made between the United States and Mexico in 1854. It included land that makes up both Arizona and New Mexico.

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Who was the president of the Confederacy?
Robert E. Lee
James Longstreet
Stonewall Jackson
Jefferson Davis
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Before the secession of the South, Jefferson Davis served as a U.S. Senator representing Mississippi. Davis originally opposed secession, but he reluctantly accepted the responsibility of leading the Confederacy.

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What was the name of General Winfield Scott's plan to suffocate the South during the Civil War?
Anaconda plan
Carpetbagger
Operation Overlord
Magic Carpet
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Going into the Civil War, the Union knew it had superior Naval power over the Confederacy. This supremacy allowed the Union to blockade the South from receiving foreign support.

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What battle marked the bloodiest day of the Civil War?
First Battle of Bull Run
Battle of Shiloh
Siege​ of Vicksburg
Battle of Antietam
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Gettysburg might have been the bloodiest battle of the Civil War, but Antietam marked the bloodiest day of the war. Nearly 23,000 soldiers lost their lives in the battle, with both sides suffering heavy losses.

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Which amendment gave all male citizens the right to vote regardless of race?
13th Amendment
14th Amendment
15th Amendment
16th Amendment
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

After the Civil War, Southern whites immediately tried to limit the rights of newly freed blacks. Legislation was passed to protect the rights of blacks, but after Reconstruction ended, the South found ways to get around the legislation.

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Which Civil War general became president of the United States?
Ulysses S. Grant
Robert E. Lee
George B. McClellan
William T. Sherman
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Abraham Lincoln favored Ulysses S. Grant during the Civil War because he was willing to fight, mainly by pushing forward after a victory. Grant's aggression allowed him to surround Confederate General Robert E. Lee, forcing Lee to surrender at Appomattox Court House.

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A leader in the Great Sioux War of 1876, what tribe did Sitting Bull belong to?
Cherokee
Lakota
Seminole
Navajo
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The most famous Sioux victory over the U.S. Army came at the Battle of Little Bighorn. Before the battle, Sitting Bull had a vision that his people would achieve a major victory just as they did.

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What year was the first official World Series in MLB?
1903
1908
1915
1920
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The first World Series pitted the Boston Americans against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Led by Cy Young and Jimmy Collins, the Americans won the series five games to three.

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Where did Theodore Roosevelt go after the death of his mother and wife?
Europe
Asia
The American West
The American South
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Theodore Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States. As a politician, he was a leader of the Progressive Era, which dominated the United States in the early 20th century.

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Who directed the 1915 film "Birth of a Nation?"
Alfred Hitchcock
John Ford
Charlie Chaplin
D.W. Griffith
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

"Birth of a Nation" has been heavily criticized for its portrayal of black Americans. In the film, they were depicted as savages and rapists by white actors dressed in black face paint.

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What year was the stock market crash that led to the Great Depression?
1924
1929
1933
1936
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The Great Depression followed an era known as the Roaring Twenties. The era was defined by substantial economic growth as well as a cultural uniqueness featuring new technology, music, and art.

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Who was the first female aviator to fly by herself across the Atlantic Ocean?
Jane Addams
Susan B. Anthony
Amelia Earhart
Clara Barton
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

In 1937, Amelia Earhart set out in a plane in an attempt to circumnavigate the globe. Her plane disappeared over the Pacific Ocean in a suspected crash, and she was never heard from again.

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Where was the attack that led America into WWII?
New York
Washington D.C.
Los Angeles
Pearl Harbor
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

All U.S. air carriers, which dominated WWII, were away from Pearl Harbor during the attack, though three of them were stationed at the harbor. Because these ships weren't destroyed, the United States' Pacific Fleet was able to recover much faster than expected.

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Who commanded Allied forces in the Pacific Campaign during WWII?
Douglas MacArthur
Dwight Eisenhower
George Patton
Gerald Ford
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Douglas MacArthur controlled U.S. forces in the Pacific leading up to WWII. MacArthur was in the Philippines when the Japanese attacked the country, forcing him to retreat to Australia before going on the attack.

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What doctrine stated that the United States would counter the Soviet expansion of communism during the Cold War?
Monroe Doctrine
Truman Doctrine
Roosevelt Corollary
Eisenhower Doctrine
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The Korean War marked the first military engagement of the Cold War. South Korea was supported by the United Nations led by the United States, while North Korea found support in China and Russia.

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Which president established NASA?
Dwight Eisenhower
John F. Kennedy
Richard Nixon
Ronald Reagan
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The United States fell behind Russia early in the space race, as the Soviets had multiple successes such as putting the first man into orbit. However, the United States built some momentum in the late '60s, eventually putting a man on the moon in 1969.

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Which act ended segregation in public places?
Homestead Act
National Origins Act
Wagner Act
The Civil Rights Act of 1964
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The 1960s were a time of social turmoil in the United States as various groups sought to bring down the Establishment. The unrest was particularly relevant in the counterculture movement, which was a reaction to the dominant culture that governed the United States.

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Where did the National Guard fire on U.S. students protesting the Vietnam War?
Harvard University
Kent State University
Stanford University
The University of Southern California
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

By the 1970s, the Vietnam War was largely opposed in the U.S. The war had drawn on for years as U.S. involvement continually increased, and the opposition at home became harder to suppress.

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You Got:
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