Are You a U.S. History Expert?



By: Staff

5 Min Quiz

Image: L. Toshio Kishiyama/Moment/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Do you see yourself as a U.S. history buff? From knowing about colonial times to the Cold War, do you dominate trivia night whenever the American history questions pop up? Do friends ask you to keep your commentary to yourself while the group binge watches a historical drama or documentary series? While others spend their summer at the beach in flip-flops and suntan lotion, do you bring the past to life in your tricorn hat or bonnet? Then buckle your shoes, Pilgrim, because we have the quiz for you.

Not a history buff? That’s all right. Maybe you only took history because Coach said to take it. Whether you see yourself as a scholar or not, you might find you know more than you think you know. After all, American history is more than just flipping flash cards and memorizing dates. American history is the story of all of us. The American saga of these beautiful and spacious skies unfolds over hundreds of years and winds from sea to shining sea. So whether you sat in the front row or took a snooze in the back during history class, we want you to test your U.S. history knowledge with this pop quiz!

Where did American protesters throw the British East India Company's tea in 1773?

Colonists tossed 342 chests of tea into Boston Harbor in protest of "taxation without representation."


Who gave a speech in 1775 proclaiming, "Give me liberty or give me death"?

Patrick Henry gave a speech at the Virginia Convention in 1775, in which he uttered the famous rallying call, "Give me liberty or give me death."


Where did the Pilgrims live right before they sailed to Massachusetts?

Fleeing religious persecution, the Pilgrims left England and resettled briefly in the Netherlands for about a decade before sailing to the New World in 1620.


Which of these disputes between the British government and American colonists helped lead to the Revolutionary War?

The colonists wanted to settle the western frontier, while the British government sought to limit expansion with the Proclamation of 1763.


Which president said, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall"?

President Ronald Reagan urged Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall in a 1987 speech in West Berlin.


Why did General George Washington cross the Delaware River in December 1776?

Washington led 2,400 troops in boats across the frigid Delaware to defeat the Hessians in Trenton, New Jersey.


How did French colonists produce wealth in "New France"?

Fur trading was profitable for the French, but not as profitable as gold and silver was for the Spanish.


Which of these foods wasn't served by the Pilgrims at the first Thanksgiving dinner in 1621?

The Pilgrims couldn’t have served pumpkin pie because they lacked sugar and the ingredients to make crust.


Whose arrest sparked the 1955-56 Montgomery bus boycott?

Rosa Parks was arrested in 1955 for refusing to give her seat to a white person, which triggered the boycott.


Which Supreme Court decision helped lead to the Civil War?

Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857) barred Congress from blocking slavery in the territories and helped lead to the Civil War.


Which Civil War battle climaxed with Pickett's Charge?

In Pickett's Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, 12,000 Confederate soldiers failed to break through the center of the Union line.


When did an invading army capture and burn the nation's capital?

British troops captured and burned the Capitol and White House in 1814.


Which was the last of the 13 colonies to be founded?

The king signed the charter in 1732. The settlers got to work in 1733.


Who commanded the crew that struck back after Pearl Harbor by bombing Tokyo in 1942?

Lt. Col. James Doolittle led an air attack on Tokyo in April 1942.


Who led an armed slave rebellion in Virginia in 1831?

Nat Turner lead a two-day revolt of slaves in 1831 before he was captured and executed.


Which president signed legislation curbing speech critical of the government?

In 1798, President John Adams signed the Alien and Sedition Acts, which restricted criticism of the government.


Who in the Continental Congress first introduced the motion for independence?

On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee from Virginia introduced the motion to the Continental Congress. John Adams seconded.


The French and Indian War was part of which larger conflict?

The French and Indian War, which lasted from 1754 to 1763, was part of the Seven Years' War.


What was the first case in which the Supreme Court overturned an act of Congress?

In 1803, Marbury v. Madison established judicial review, the power of the Supreme Court to overturn Congressional legislation.


What decrypted secret message drove the U.S. to enter World War I?

German Foreign Secretary Arthur Zimmerman sent a telegram to Mexico proposing an alliance against the U.S.


Which president got a 1,400-pound (635-kilogram) cheese wheel as a gift from a supporter?

In 1835, Col. Thomas S. Meacham sent Jackson the cheese wheel, which the president served at a White House reception two years later.


How much land did the U.S. get from France in the Louisiana Purchase?

The U.S. acquired 530 million acres from the French for $15 million in 1803.


Who was the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate?

Ophelia Wyatt Caraway elected to the U.S. Senate in 1932.


Which president won a Nobel Peace Prize for helping end the war between Russia and Japan?

President Theodore Roosevelt won the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating an end to the 1904-1905 Russo-Japanese conflict.


Who was the first U.S. president to win election while losing the popular vote?

In 1824, the House of Representatives awarded John Quincy Adams the victory, even though he got fewer electoral and popular votes than Andrew Jackson.


Which president said, "Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate"?

President John F. Kennedy proclaimed the virtue of negotiating in his 1961 inaugural address.


What was President George Washington's annual salary?

Washington intended to take the office pro bono. He also never took a salary for his time as a military commander.


Who is usually credited as the first European explorer to set foot in what is now the U.S.?

The Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon, who reached Florida in 1513, traditionally has been recognized as the first European to visit what is now the U.S.


How much did Dutch colonists pay Native Americans for Manhattan Island in 1624?

In a 1626 letter, Peter Schaghen describes how the "Island Manhattes" was bought for 60 guilders.


Where was the famous Lost Colony located?

Roanoke Island (also known as the Lost Colony) vanished between 1588 and 1590 while the settlement's governor, John White, went to England for supplies.


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