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


By: Gavin Thagard

6 Min 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?

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.


What settlement did Walter Raleigh attempt to establish?

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.


After Jamestown, where was the capital of the Virginia colony moved to?

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


Where did the Proclamation of 1763 limit colonial settlement to?

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.


Which group was organized in opposition to the Stamp Act?

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.


What did Benedict Arnold offer the British for money and a higher military position?

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.


What was the first U.S. state?

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.


Which president signed into law the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793?

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.


The Louisiana Purchase was made with which foreign country?

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.


What year did the Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves go into effect?

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.


Which future president organized a battalion of free blacks in the War of 1812?

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.


What treaty ended the War of 1812?

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.


Where was the gold which sped up the Indian Removal Act found?

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.


Who was sent to the Alamo to receive the troops and supplies before destroying the fort?

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.


In which Mexican city did General Winfield Scott land his troops during the invasion of Mexico in 1847?

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.


What were the migrants who headed to California in 1849 for the Gold Rush called?

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.


What book did Harriet Beecher Stowe write?

"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.


Which state was acquired in the Gadsden Purchase?

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.


Who was the president of the Confederacy?

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.


What was the name of General Winfield Scott's plan to suffocate the South during the Civil War?

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.


What battle marked the bloodiest day of the Civil War?

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.


Which amendment gave all male citizens the right to vote regardless of race?

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.


Which Civil War general became president of the United States?

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.


A leader in the Great Sioux War of 1876, what tribe did Sitting Bull belong to?

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.


What year was the first official World Series in MLB?

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.


Where did Theodore Roosevelt go after the death of his mother and wife?

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.


Who directed the 1915 film "Birth of a Nation?"

"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.


What year was the stock market crash that led to the Great Depression?

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.


Who was the first female aviator to fly by herself across the Atlantic Ocean?

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.


Where was the attack that led America into WWII?

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.


Who commanded Allied forces in the Pacific Campaign during WWII?

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.


What doctrine stated that the United States would counter the Soviet expansion of communism during the Cold War?

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.


Which president established NASA?

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.


Which act ended segregation in public places?

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.


Where did the National Guard fire on U.S. students protesting the Vietnam War?

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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