How Much Do You Know About the Founding Fathers?

J.Reinoehl

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About This Quiz

Time to dust off the history books! Let’s see if you really know about America’s Founding Fathers! Do you know which Founding Father is credited with the Louisiana Purchase? How about whose face is on the $100 bill? Do you know who had a wife named Dolley?

Do you know the answers to these questions? Then you clicked on the right quiz. Even if the questions stumped you, this quiz can teach you about them.

The term “Founding Fathers” first came into use in the early 1900s. Before that, these men were just called “Fathers.”

There were 55 Framers of the Constitution who were delegates to the Constitutional Convention and helped write that document. Of them, only 39 signed it. Sometimes all the Framers are considered Founding Fathers or sometimes just the Signers are included. The term can also apply to the 48 men who signed the Articles of the Confederation. Further, Founding Fathers can refer to all the men involved in the early United States government.

Richard B. Morris, lauded by the New York Times as “a pre-eminent Colonial and American constitutional historian,” pinpointed seven men as the Founding Fathers who most shaped America in its early history. These are the seven this quiz will focus on: John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington.

Which founding father was the first General of the Army?

“The General is sorry to be informed —, that the foolish and wicked practice of profane cursing and swearing, a vice heretofore little known in an American army, is growing into a fashion; — he hopes the officers will, by example as well as influence, endeavor to check it, and that both they and the men will reflect that we can have little hope of the blessing of Heaven on our arms, if we insult it by impiety and folly; added to this, it is a vice so mean and low, without any temptation, that every man of sense and character detests and despises it.’” –George Washington from the Orderly Book of the A​rmy under Washington’s command (1770)

Who invented the lightning rod?

Benjamin Franklin is also known for inventing swim fins and the Franklin stove. Although Franklin invented many things, he never patented any of them because he wanted everyone to be able to use them freely.

Who was called the Father of the Declaration of Independence?

“When, in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.” – The Declaration of Independence

Which Founding Father is on the $100 bill?

As a printer, Benjamin Franklin printed the paper money for Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. He ended up on the $100 bill in 1929.

Which Founding Father had a wife named Dolley?

“The man who is possessed of wealth, who lolls on his sofa or rolls in his carriage, cannot judge the wants or feelings of the day-laborer.” –James Madison from Notes of the Secret Debates of the Federal Convention of 1787 by Robert Yates

Who wrote Federalists in Congress and asked them to support Jefferson in the close election between Jefferson and Aaron Burr?

Hamilton felt Burr was selfish and unreliable. Hamilton’s influence helped Jefferson win the election.

Which Founding Father is considered the “first national-level American counterintelligence chief,” according to the CIA website?

In June of 1776, John Jay uncovered a plot by the British that involved one of George Washington’s bodyguards. The British were attempting to sabotage targets and had planned to kill or capture Washington.

Which Founding Father made his home at Monticello?

Thomas Jefferson died more than $107,00 in debt. Although the Monticello foundation managed to find 60 percent of the items they know or think Jefferson owned, his family was forced to sell the furnishings and plantation upon his death.

Which Founding Father became President and had a son who later became President?

“But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.” – Letter to Abigail Adams (17 July 1775)

Who was shot by Aaron Burr?

Burr and Hamilton had long been enemies and rivals. When Burr decided to run for governor of New York after serving as vice-president and Hamilton interfered to prevent him, Burr challenged him to a duel. Hamilton shot over Burr’s head, but Burr ended the rivalry by firing a fatal shot.

Which Founding Father and president lived to be older than any other person who served as president until Gerald Ford?

John Adams lived to be 90 years old. Ford, and later Ronald Reagan, lived to be 93.

Who said, “I hold it, that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical”?

“I hold it, that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.” –Thomas Jefferson in a letter to James Madison (January 30, 1787)

Which Founding Father helped form an integrated army corps?

Although George Washington held slaves, he not only recruited African-American troops but also commanded that they be integrated into the regular army. The integration he achieved did not occur in the army again until after World War II.

Who said, “If all printers were determined not to print anything till they were sure it would offend nobody, there would be very little printed”?

“If all printers were determined not to print anything till they were sure it would offend nobody, there would be very little printed.” –Benjamin Franklin “Apology for Printers” (1730)

Which Founding Father had a fear of debt and wanted to form The Society of the Free and Easy for people who were not in debt?

“He that loses five shillings, not only loses that sum, but all the advantage that might be made by turning it in dealing, which by the time that a young man becomes old, will amount to a considerable sum of money.” –Benjamin Franklin in Advice to a Young Tradesman (1748)

Who said, “Thomas Jefferson still survives” on his deathbed?

Although the statement was false, Adams believed Jefferson was still alive upon his death. This quote is famous, but most sources state he did not finish it. “Thomas Jefferson still surv—”

Which Founding Father became the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court?

“It is presumed, that juries are the best judges of facts; it is, on the other hand, presumed that courts are the best judges of law. But still both objects are within your power of decision.’” –John Jay in Georgia vs. Brailsford (1974)

Which Founding Father was first elected as vice-president and then president?

Thomas Jefferson lost the 1796 election to John Adams by only three electoral votes. Because of the way the constitution was written, Adams became president and Jefferson served as his vice-president. Since Adams and Jefferson ran on opposite party tickets, this created many problems.

Who said, “The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse”?

“The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse.” –James Madison in The Writings of James Madison: 1819-1836 (1910)

Which Founding Father once worked as a surveyor?

George Washington held slaves, and at least two escaped. When one was found living in poverty in New York years later, she stated she did not escape because Washington was a bad master, she simply did not want someone telling her what to do. Washington freed almost all his slaves upon his death (except the ones he felt Martha would need to take care of her) and the others were freed upon her death.

Two Founding Fathers died on July 4, 1826. One was Thomas Jefferson. Who was the other?

“Old minds are like old horses; you must exercise them if you wish to keep them in working order.” –John Adams as quoted by Josiah Quincy III

Who was the first Secretary of the Treasury?

Alexander Hamilton was already a well-known financier. Hamilton made his first priority paying off the debt the United States had accrued during the Revolutionary War.

Which Founding Father is known as the Father of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights?

James Madison suffered from poor health his entire life and was only 5 feet 4 inches tall. The most he ever weighed throughout his life was 100 lbs.

Which Founding Father requested that his family donate $200 to widows and orphans instead of paying for an expensive funeral?

“The Americans are the first people whom heaven has favored with an opportunity of deliberating upon and choosing forms of government under which they should live.” –John Jay, Charge to the Grand Jury of Ulster County (1777)

Which Founding Father is credited with the Louisiana Purchase?

At the time, the Constitution did not account for how the United States could obtain new land. Jefferson purchased the land from Napoleon in 1803.

Who said, “A national debt, if it is not excessive, will be to us a national blessing”?

“A national debt, if it is not excessive, will be to us a national blessing.” –Alexander Hamilton in a letter Robert Morris (1781)

Which Founding Father was President of The American Bible Society and of the New York Manumission Society?

John Jay owned slaves, but he was an advocate for laws that gradually phased out slavery and made it illegal.

Which Founding Father is credited as being the first to propose a United States military academy—an idea that later became West Point?

“Posterity! you will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom! I hope you will make a good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven that I ever took half the pains to preserve it.” –John Adams in a letter to Abigail Adams April 27, 1777

Which Founding Father was president during the War of 1812?

Although initially against a standing United States Army or national treasury, when he became president and asked Congress to declare war, he soon discovered the benefits of both. The first White House was a victim of the War of 1812, but his wife managed to save the giant picture of George Washington that hung in it before evacuating Washington.

George Washington fought in which war before the Revolutionary War?

“Arbitrary power is most easily established on the ruins of liberty abused to licentiousness.” –George Washington from the Circular to the States (1783)

Who founded the New York (Evening) Post?

Founded in 1801, Hamilton planned to use the paper to share his views as creator of the anti-Jefferson Federalist Party. Hamilton would dictate an editorial to William Coleman and then Coleman would publish it under his name.

Which Founding Father served as secretary of state under Thomas Jefferson and later became president?

“A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defense against foreign danger have been always the instruments of tyranny at home.” –James Madison in Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, vol. 1 (1911).

Who helped raise funds for America’s first hospital?

Dr. Thomas Bond wanted to build Pennsylvania Hospital in 1751 to care for the “sick, poor, and insane.” With Franklin on board, the Pennsylvania Assembly soon got behind the project.

Which Founding Father said, “Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest, of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers”?

“Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest, of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers?” –John Jay in a letter to John Murray October 12, 1816

Which Founding Father said, “But lest some unlucky event should happen unfavorable to my reputation, I beg it may be remembered by every gentleman in the room that I this day declare with the utmost sincerity, I do not think myself equal to the command I am honored with”?

“But lest some unlucky event should happen unfavorable to my reputation, I beg it may be remembered by every gentleman in the room that I this day declare with the utmost sincerity, I do not think myself equal to the command I am honored with.” –George Washington, found in The Writings of George Washington: Life of Washington (1837)

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