Is It the Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence, or the Constitution?


By: John Miller

5 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

They are three of the most famous documents in American -- or rather -- human history. The Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence, and U.S. Constitution form the basis of the American republic. But can you tell them apart?

Which document was the first to be approved?

Without the Declaration of Independence, the other two documents wouldn't exist. Neither would the United States of America.


Which document is made up of a collection of amendments?

The Bill of Rights is a collection of amendments. Those amendments had a profound effect on another important document.


The Bill of Rights is a set of amendments to which document?

The Bill of Rights is the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution. These amendments alter the Constitution in profound ways.


Which famous document begins with the phrase, "We the People"?

The preamble to the Constitution is one of the most famous phrases in history. "We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union..."


Which document is the "supreme law" of the United States?

The Constitution is the supreme law of the United States. It creates a fundamental framework for the political workings of the world's most powerful country.


Which document added fuel to a war between English colonies and Britain?

In July of 1776, the English colonies approved the Declaration of Independence, expressing their intent to cast off British rule. As you can imagine, King George was none too happy about this little uprising. He sent even more troops to put down the rebellion.


Which document incited riots against British symbols?

Colonists were mad with excitement at readings of the Declaration. In some areas, they took to rioting, destroying symbols of British oppression.


Which document contains the phrase, "We hold these truths to be self-evident..."?

"...that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights..." Those famous words are from the Declaration, as the Founding Fathers worked to persuade Britain to set the colonies free.


Which document did Founding Father Thomas Jefferson write?

Jefferson wasn't known for his verbal proficiency -- but he was masterful with ink and paper. He wrote many of the most famous lines of the Declaration.


Which document was first made up of seven "articles"?

The Constitution originally had seven articles. The articles establish the principles of the country's government.


Which document has an Article I?

The Constitution is made up of several articles, including Article I, which establishes the legislative branch of the federal government.


Which document has been amended 27 times since its introduction?

The Constitution is anything but permanent. It's been amended 27 times since it was first approved, in large part to keep pace with the nation's changing culture and ideals.


Four states are missing their copies of which document?

George Washington had 14 copies of the Bill of Rights made so that the states could consider it for ratification. But four states -- Pennsylvania, New York, Georgia and Maryland -- no longer have their copies, which were lost under various circumstances.


The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union was a first version of which document?

The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union was a first version of the Constitution. It gave almost no power to the central government, something that changed in later versions of the Constitution.


Congress signed which document on August 2, 1776?

It's a misconception that the Declaration was signed on July 4, 1776. America declared independence on July 2, but Congress didn't officially sign the document until August 2.


Unfair British taxation resulted in which document?

"Taxation without representation" was a major theme of rebellion in the colonies. They were tired of Britain's unfair taxes. The Declaration worked to create independence for all 13 of the colonies.


Which document was famously created in New York?

Both the Constitution and the Declaration were written under pressure in Philadelphia. The Bill of Rights, however, was written in New York.


Which of the following was the first permanent document of its kind in the world?

Until the Constitution, the world had never before seen such a document. It lent a permanent type of liberty to a freedom-loving people.


Which document was created to limit the power of government?

The Constitution gave form to the United States. The Bill of Rights, however, stepped in to reassert the rights of the people ... and to limit the government's powers.


George Mason, a delegate from Viriginia, was the first to propose which document?

In 1787, Mason proposed the Bill of Rights. But the delegates were already weary from fashioning the Constitution, so the Bill was initially rejected.


The "Committee of Five" was a vital force in creating which controversial document?

In June of 1776, the Continental Congress approved a Committee of Five to begin drafting a formal Declaration of Independence from Britain. Eventually, the task of the initial writing fell to just a single man on the committee.


Founding Father James Madison gets the credit for the creation of which document?

One of America's famous forefathers, James Madison, advocated for a Bill of Rights. After a lot of heated debate, it became effective in December 1791.


Which document listed "repeated injuries and usurpations" of colonists' rights?

In the Declaration of Independence, colonial leaders outlined the "injuries" that Britain had caused and that as a result, the colonies were declaring their independence.


John Hancock was the first to sign which document?

It's one of the most famous signatures in history -- John Hancock's smooth, clean name, which is listed first on the Declaration of Independence. Had the Revoluation failed, perhaps his head would've been the first on the chopping block.


Which document has had a huge impact on Supreme Court cases in the past century?

For more than a century, the Bill of Rights existed in a quiet realm of American society. But in the past few decades, its amendments have been brought up in Supreme Court cases time and again.


Which document has a lot of similarities to Britain's 17th-century bill of rights?

In 1689, Britain created its own bill of rights, and it seems that Americans copied some important passages, such as the prevention of "cruel and unusual punishment."


Former presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died 50 years after a vote to approve which document?

On July 4, 1826, the 50-year anniversary of the vote to approve the Declaration, both Adams and Jefferson died. It was a weirdly patriotic way for both of them to go.


Which document is celebrated with its own holiday each December 15?

What, you've never heard of Bill of Rights Day? It's gotten off to a slow start, in part because it was approved in 1941, just a week after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor and America entered World War II.


The "Dunlap Broadsides" are rare and priceless copies of which document?

Once the Declaration had been ratified, a printer named John Dunlap printed about 200 copies, which were distributed throughout the colonies. Only 26 known copies of the "Dunlap Broadsides" survive.


The first public reading of which document happened on July 8, 1776?

America declared her independence and then began spreading the word to the public. It was read aloud for the first time on July 8, 1776, in a public area of Philadelphia.


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