Can You Ace This American History Quiz?

By: Annette
Estimated Completion Time
3 min
Can You Ace This American History Quiz?
Image: Michele Falzone/Photodisc/Getty Images

About This Quiz

"Give me liberty or give me death!" While this quiz isn't as do or die as Patrick Henry might've thought it to be, it's just as important! Henry's cry for freedom from Great Britain was one of the earliest markers in American history and helped forge the path towards the American Revolutionary War. With that war came the establishment of the United States of America as a country. America has nearly 250 years of history, and while we know that's a lot, there are some basics everyone who lives here should know.

While there are thousands and thousands of years of history on this land, modern American history began in 1607 with the Jamestown settlement. The settlers would eventually go from wards of Great Britain to rebels demanding freedom. 

After the establishment of the United States in the late 1700s, the country would go through the Civil War, Great Depression, two World Wars, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and more. Presidents would be inaugurated and assassinated. Time marched on.

If you think you're an expert in all things related to American history, then take this quiz and show us what your mind can do!

What is a tariff?
A law
A natural right
A tax
A crime
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

A tariff is a tax on goods that are imported. There was a lot of controversy about British tariffs before the American Revolution, hence the slogan "No taxation without representation."

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The Declaration of Independence was adopted on what date?
December 31st
July 4th
May 18th
October 12th
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4, 1776. That's why we celebrate with fireworks on the 4th of July! It wasn't actually signed until August 2 of the same year.

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The Battle of _____ was the turning point of the Civil War.
Bull Run
Little Big Horn
Gettysburg​
Fort Wagner
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The Battle of Gettysburg was the turning point in the Civil War. The Confederate troops never invaded the North again. More people died in that three day battle (somewhere around 50,000 soldiers) than in any other battle of the entire Civil War.

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Benjamin Franklin was a/n _____.
Statesman
Diplomat
Inventor
All of the above
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Benjamin Franklin wore many hats. He was a statesman, diplomat, signer of the Declaration of Independence and delegate to the Constitutional Convention. He also invented bifocal glasses and the lightning rod, among other things.

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Those who wanted to end slavery in the U.S. were called what?
Prohibitionists
Abolitionists
Nationalists
Confederates
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

An abolitionist was someone that wanted to end slavery in the U.S. The Civil War eventually led to abolition. The movement started in the late 18th century in the United States.

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What is the most visited museum in the U.S.?
MoMa
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Smithsonian
The Guggenheim
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The Smithsonian is the most popular museum in the U.S. To be specific, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in D.C. is the most popular. However, the Smithsonian Institute runs twenty museums nationwide.

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Who issued the Emancipation Proclamation?
Robert E. Lee
Benjamin Franklin
Abraham Lincoln
Abigail Adams
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. It was the official end of slavery in this country. However, since it was during the Civil War, slaves in the south still had to escape Confederate forces to actually become free.

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The Statue of Liberty is associated with New York, but is actually across which state line?
Washington
Maryland
New Jersey
Delaware
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The Statue of Liberty is associated with New York, but is actually across the state line, in New Jersey. However, the island itself is technically still part of New York.

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The Second Amendment protects the right to bear ______.
Speech
Arms
Immigration
Children
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The Second Amendment protects the right to bear arms. It also protects the right to organize militias, or armies.

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The Gettysburg Address was made by which president?
Ulysses S. Grant
Abraham Lincoln
George Washington
John F. Kennedy
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The Gettysburg Address was made by Abraham Lincoln. It was to dedicate the cemetery to soldiers that died at the Battle of Gettysburg, the deadliest single battle of the entire Civil War.

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Where was the first permanent English settlement?
Stockbridge
New London
Jamestown
Salem
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Jamestown was the first permanent English settlement in North America. It was founded in 1607. Most of the founding settlers starved to death in the winter of 1609-1610, but the settlement survived and became the capital of the Virginia colony (which it was until 1699.)

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The Civil War started in what year?
1834
1861
1900
1849
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The Civil War began in 1861 and lasted to 1865. Abraham Lincoln was the president at the time. Slavery was abolished because of the war. However, up to three-quarters of a million people died during the fighting.

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Sam Adams was a part of the ______.
Sons of Liberty
Beer Brewing Guild
Confederate Army
British Parliament
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Sam Adams was a member of the Sons of Liberty. They started the Committee of Correspondence to gain public support for the revolution. The original group was only around for one year, but they came up with the motto, "No taxation without representation."

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Our government is ______.
An oligarchy
A parliamentary government
A representative government​
A constitutional monarchy
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Our government is a representative government. That means that voters elect representative politicians to act on their behalf in the government.

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Where was the Declaration of Independence written?
Independence Hall
Washington, D.C.
The Grand Canyon
Mount Vernon
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were written. Today, the hall is a landmark of American history.

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Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant at _____.
Greenwich​
Appomattox
New Rochelle
Independence Hall
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House in Virginia. This officially ended the Civil War. The surrender conference, itself, took place at the home of Wilmer McLean. Shockingly, McLean's prior residence was part of the first major battle of the Civil War, and caused him to move to Appomattox. The war essentially began and ended at the two residences of Wilmer McLean.

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Manifest destiny was about what?
Land
Taxes
Art
Trees
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Manifest destiny was the belief that the United States should own all the land between the Atlantic and the Pacific because Americans (aka white settlers) were best suited to civilize and bring prosperity to the country. This ignored the rights and needs of indigenous tribes that lived in the country. Manifest destiny eventually became a reality.

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Who was the British King that no one was pleased with?
King George III
King Simon
King Edward VI
King Charles
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

King George III was not a favorite among colonialists. He taxed the colonies and refused the Olive Branch Petition that led to the final break with the colonies. Toward the end of King George III's reign, his son ruled in his stead.

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The Temperance Movement was a campaign against what?
Cigarettes
Alcohol
Prostitution
Swearing in public
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The Temperance Movement was a campaign against the sale and drinking of alcohol. While prohibition lasted from 1920-1933, people still found ways to produce, sell and consume alcohol.

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A republic is a ______.
Nation
Colony
Branch of the government
Political party
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

A republic is a kind of nation. It's where voters choose representatives to govern them and vote/act on their behalf.

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Who purchased the Louisiana Territory?
George Washington
Benjamin Franklin
Thomas Jefferson
Marquis de Lafayette
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

President Thomas Jefferson purchased the Louisiana Territory from France in 1803. This is famously called the Louisiana Purchase. The purchase included land that is currently part of 15 states; almost the entire center of the country.

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The Declaration of Independence was written by whom?
George Washington
Thomas Jefferson
Alexander Hamilton
John Adams
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The Declaration of Independence was written by Thomas Jefferson. He would go on to be our third president. Interestingly enough, Jefferson thought that John Adams should be the one to write the document.

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Where is Fort Sumter?
Delaware
South Carolina
Michigan
Georgia
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Fort Sumter is located in South Carolina. The first shots of the Civil War were fired there. The Confederate Army attacked the U.S. Army fort. The U.S. Army (which also became known as the Union Army) ultimately surrendered at Fort Sumter.

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Mercantilism is an economic ______.
Theory
Fallacy
Disaster
Book
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Mercantilism is an economic theory. It states that a country's strength comes from gold, selling more than it buys and devoting the colonies to the benefit of the home country.

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"Common Sense" was written by whom?
Thomas Paine
Walter Reese
James Monroe
Benjamin Franklin
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

"Common Sense" was a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine. It was meant to convince the colonists that it was time to become independent.

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The opening shots of the American Revolution were fired in which state?
Maine
Connecticut
Massachusetts
Virginia
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The opening shots of the American Revolution were fired in Massachusetts. That was at Lexington and Concord in 1775. This occurred two years after the Boston Tea Party.

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What was the first document that limited the power of the ruler?
Declaration of Independence
Magna Carta
Bill of Rights
The Geneva Convention
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The Magna Carta was the first document that limited the power of the ruler. It was signed in 1215 by King John of England. The principles of the Magna Carter heavily influenced American colonists on their journey towards independence.

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The Congress was divided by the _____.
Division Principle
Great Schism
Great Compromise
Great War
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The Great Compromise divided Congress into two houses. One house was based on population, while the other was based on equal representation to each state. This is known as the House and Senate.

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The American Bill of Rights is based on the _______ .
Magna Carta
Papers of Aristotle
English Bill of Rights
The Oslo Accords
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The American Bill of Rights is based on the English Bill of Rights, which set out rules for the monarchy and Parliament in 1689.

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Who wanted the U.S. to stay “neutral in its relations with other nations?"
George Washington
Ulysses S. Grant
John Adams
Thomas Jefferson
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

George Washington advised us in his farewell address to stay “neutral in its relations with other nations.” He also said that we should avoid "entangling alliances."

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How many branches of government do we have?
One
Two
Three
Ten
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

In our country, we have three branches of government. These are the legislative, judicial and executive branches. The legislative branch is Congress. The Judicial branch is the Supreme Court and the executive branch is the president of the United States.

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The U.S. Constitution was written in what year?
1787
1800
1805
1776
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The U.S. Constitution was written in 1787. That was 11 years after we declared independence. However, it wasn't ratified until the following year, nor effective until 1789.

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The First Amendment protects which freedom?
Speech
Religion
Press
All of the above
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The First Amendment is a pretty remarkable thing. It protects freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly and petition.

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Loyalty to the state instead of the country is known as ______.
Statism
Sectionalism
Protectionism
Idealism
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Loyalty to the state over the country is known as sectionalism. Normally, it has to do with cultural and economic differences between geographic areas. It was very much not what the Founding Fathers intended.

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The Battle of _____ was the turning point in the American Revolution.
Hastings
Saratoga
The Bulge
Bunker Hill
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The Battle of Saratoga is considered to be the turning point in the American Revolution. The British General, John Burgoyne, was forced to surrender to the Continental Army when expected British forces never arrived. The defeat of the Brits at Yorktown was the end of the Revolution.

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