If You're Not a True US History Expert, Don't Even Bother With This Quiz!


By: John Miller

6 Min Quiz

Image: Creator:Thomas J. O'Halloran

About This Quiz

In 1776, the Founding Fathers of America gathered together in a tense and quarrelsome meeting of the Continental Congress. At issue: whether the colonies of the New World would continue negotiating with their British overlords … or if they’d cast off the monarchy by force. In July of that year, they came to a decision, and the United States of America was born. In this truly American challenge, do you think you have the expertise to master this history quiz?

Before America’s birth, few Westerners had really questioned the royal way of nation building. Kings and queens controlled the fates of their subjects, and that was just how things worked. In the New World, however, men and women wondered what a truly representative government would look like. Do you know how Americans first conceived of their dream of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

Once the American Revolution was over, the United States set about expanding and settling its territory. Those adventures led to battles and treaties of all kinds, and Manifest Destiny found settlers taming the lands all the way to the Pacific Ocean. What do you know about the settling of the West?

From savage politics to brutal wars, Americans have been a part of many history moments since the 1700s. Take our tough American history quiz now!

In the 1960s and 1970s, which war did many Americans protest?

In the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, protesters all over the country, and all over the world, protested America’s involvement in the Vietnam War. The issue created devastating divides all over the nation.


In 1929, a terrible stock market crash triggered which famous event?

It was October 29, 1929 — "Black Tuesday" — when the stock market crashed and gave rise to the Great Depression all over the world. People everywhere suffered from the effects of the Depression.


In 1861, the Confederate States of America did what, exactly?

In 1861, livid at what they saw as degrading states’ rights, Southern states seceded from the U.S. and created the Confederate States of America. President Abraham Lincoln knew war was inevitable.


Which event triggered the formation of the Confederacy?

In November 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected president — and his anti-slavery stances were clear. The Confederates immediately took action to preserve what they saw as their way of life in the South.


In 1776, what action did the Second Continental Congress take?

In 1776, the Second Continental Congress issued the Declaration of Independence, which created the United States of America. Britain, however, wasn’t inclined to let its colonies go without a fight.


True or false, was the Declaration of Independence SIGNED on July 4, 1776?

It’s a common misconception that the Declaration was signed on July 4. In fact, the colonists merely ratified the document that day — they signed it about a month later.


What major issue contributed to the Declaration of Independence?

The British levied major taxes on the colonies, which eventually recoiled in anger. Unfair taxation became a rallying cry for rebel leaders before and during the war.


The Space Race pitted America against ______.

In the mid-20th century, America and the USSR engaged in the Space Race, attempting to one-up each other in the battle for space supremacy. The Soviets put the first satellite — and the first human, in space.


True or false, when Germany invaded Poland and started WWII, did the U.S. immediately declare war?

The U.S. had no intentions of joining in the complicated military chaos of WWII, even when Hilter became aggressive. It was years before America finally joined the fray.


Which country did the U.S. fight in the War of 1812?

Just a generation after the Revolution, Americans again found themselves at war with Britain. The war was ultimately a pointless ordeal for both sides and it ended in a draw.


After the American Revolution, how did white settlers view Indian lands west of the Appalachians?

After the Revolution, white settlers basically took over many Indian lands. They figured their military conquests gave them the right to take whatever they wanted.


How many terms did George Washington serve as president?

Washington, a true American hero, was a shoo-in for two terms as president. But he wisely stepped aside after his second term, amid grumblings that he was getting a little too king-like.


What was the purpose of the Western Confederacy?

In 1790, numerous Indian tribes formed the Western Confederacy. Their aim was to halt fast and intrusive white settlement of traditional Indian lands.


The Battle of Fort Sumter was the first battle in which war?

On April 12, 1861, Confederate troops captured Fort Sumter, near Charleston. It was the first battle of the Civil War, the bloodiest war in American history.


President James Madison led a peaceful two terms that’s often called ______.

President Madison served from 1817 to 1825, in a very peaceful time in U.S. history. It’s often called the Era of Good Feelings, when the country and its politics often functioned (sort of) peacefully.


In 1794, President Washington had to put down which rebellion?

The new U.S. federal government needed new taxes, so they started with whiskey ... and many farmers and settlers were furious. They refused to pay and threatened violence, so Washington successfully sent troops to put down the uprising called the Whiskey Rebellion.


In 1795, the U.S. signed a treaty with Native Americans, in which the Indians agreed not to create an alliance with _____.

In the Treaty of Greenville, the U.S. recognized Indian land ownership — and also made the Indians promise not to create any sort of military alliance with the British, which remained a threat to U.S. sovereignty.


What was the purpose of Jim Crow laws?

After the Civil War, slavery was abolished but whites maintained their deathgrip on society with Jim Crow laws. These laws oppressed blacks at every turn.


Martin Luther King Jr. was a leader of which movement?

In the ‘50s and ‘60s, King Jr., or MLK, was the most visible leader of the Civil Rights movement, inspiring blacks to reassert themselves in American society. He was murdered in 1968, triggering riots all over the country.


What is the longest war in American history?

For about 17 and a half years, American troops toiled in the Vietnam War. They were ultimately forced to retreat, but they may well have served their primary purpose — the slowing of the spread of Communism.


What was the Great Migration?

During the WWI era, millions of blacks left the South for other parts of the country. It was one of the biggest movements of a population in human history not caused by the violence of war — blacks desperately wanted a better quality of life than the South could offer them.


Before the Great Migration, what percentage of the U.S. black population lived in the South?

A whopping 90% of American blacks lived in the South before WWI. Fed up with Jim Crow laws and a poor quality of life, they dispersed in the Great Migration, and many of them found happiness in other parts of America.


The Lewis and Clark Expedition was meant to explore America’s vast lands and also to ______.

Lewis and Clark were instructed to explore and document America’s West. Along they way, they were instructed to befriend Indians, in part to interfere with the British fur trade in the region.


In the early 1800s, what was the primary purpose of newspapers?

In the 1800s, the number of newspapers in America exploded. Most of them served a single purpose — to provide political propaganda meant to serve specific politicians.


In 1991, why did America become the world’s only superpower?

In 1991, the USSR collapsed, ending the long-running Cold War, and leaving America as the world’s sole superpower.


What happened on July 20, 1969?

On July 20, 1969, NASA landed the first two human beings on the moon. The success of Apollo 11 capped America’s victory in the Space Race.


The so-called Reconstruction era followed which event?

After the Civil War, much of the South was in ruins. The Reconstruction era lasted for more than a decade, but Southerners felt the effects of the war for generations.


In 2001, what event transformed American politics?

On September 11, terrorists from the Middle East conducted attacks on U.S. soil, killing thousands of civilians. The 9/11 attacks completely changed America’s politics and foreign policy.


Which industry exploded during the Gilded Age, from about 1870 to 1900?

In the late 1800s, the railroad industry gained steam, employing countless workers and transforming American society. The Transcontinental Railroad, in particular, completely altered the settling of the West.


On December 8, 1941, the United States declared war on which nation?

A day after the attacks on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. declared war on Japan. It was America’s entry into World War II, the worst war in human history.


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