If You're Not an American Revolution Expert, Don't Even Bother With This Quiz!


By: John Miller

6 Min Quiz

Image: wikimedia

About This Quiz

For generations, colonists in the New World looked fondly on the British motherland. It was their ancestral home and a vital link to European affairs in a time when the colonies were still in their infancy. But the British crown saw it fit to bleed the colonies dry of their resources … and resentments eventually boiled over into war. In this carnage-filled quiz, what do you really know about the American Revolution?

It took years for colonists to come to terms with the concept of independence. Many leaders were content to negotiate with Britain for fairer terms on legislative issues. Others, however, felt that the crown would never treat them fairly, and the call for independence grew louder and louder. What do you know about the events that led to the Declaration of Independence?

George Washington eagerly armed his men for the fight against the British redcoats. But there was trouble in the ranks. Few men were really qualified to fight professional British mercenaries. And a lot of colonists wanted nothing to do with life in the army. What do you recall about Washington’s military struggles in the Revolution?

For years, the British ravaged parts of the colonies, capturing cities, intimidating the locals, and doing their best to put down the rebellion. But Washington and his men fought on, eventually finding chinks in the armor of the world’s best army. Take our American Revolution quiz now!

In the years leading up to the American Revolution, which of the following concepts did colonists reject?

New World colonists rejected monarchy and aristocracy. They declared that all men were created equal. The British, it’s fair to say, disagreed.


In the Declaration of Independence, how many colonies broke away from Britain?

The Thirteen Colonies in America combined forces in the Declaration of Independence. If they remained united, they might have a fighting chance against the British juggernaut.


Finish this famous slogan from colonial times: "no taxation without ______."

It was a common gripe amongst the colonists. The British levied huge taxes but didn’t allow the colonists any real representation in their own government. "No taxation without representation" became a real rallying cry.


In 1770, a massacre happened in which colonial city?

In the 1770 Boston Massacre, British troops fired into an unruly crowd and killed multiple people. Rebel leaders seized on the incident as a way to stoke sentiments against the crown.


What did colonists do in the Boston Tea Party?

Exasperated with Britain’s oppression, colonists clambered aboard ships in Boston Harbor and dumped valuable tea into the water. The British were furious.


Who was Britain’s king in the late 1700s?

King George III took the throne in 1760 and reigned during the American Revolution. He was infuriated when he heard the news about the Declaration of Independence.


What was the name of the army that the colonists created?

The colonists organized what was called the Continental Army. They put a respected military man — George Washington — in charge.


What action did the British take in the wake of the Boston Tea Party?

After the Tea Party, the British implemented a major blockade of the area. The blockade was no joke and had a terrible impact on colonists — and it rapidly caused tensions to escalate.


After the Boston Tea Party, the British passed laws that historians often call _____.

The British lashed out at colonists after the Boston Tea Party, passing laws that are now called the Intolerable Acts, which were measures meant to punish the colonies. What the Acts really did was throw gasoline on the fire of the Revolution.


True or false, was the Declaration of Independence ratified before Revolution fighting broke out?

Fighting had already been raging for months before the Declaration was a done deal. The Declaration added gravity and new purpose to the fight.


What was the first battle of the Revolution?

On April 19, 1775, British troops clashed with rebels in the Battles of Lexington and Concord. The shooting war was officially underway.


What sparked the Battles of Lexington and Concord?

British troops set off to seize a store of weapons from the colonists. The situation erupted in gunfire and the first bloodshed of the war.


In addition to the Continental Army, what other forces did the colonies have at their disposal?

The Continental Army worked in tandem with local militias to fight the British. Some of the militias were, at best, kind of bedraggled.


Who was Thomas Gage?

Thomas Gage was the commander of all British forces in America. At the outset of the war, he was severely short of men, but did his best to suppress the rebellion.


What was the purpose of the Sons of Liberty, a secret colonial group?

The Sons of Liberty was a group that formed to fight the Stamp Act and other unfair forms of taxation. They became symbol of resistance against the crown in the years before the Revolution.


How long did men commit to serving in the local militias?

It’s no wonder the discipline and fighting skills of the militias were lacking. Men signed up for three-month rotations in the militia, not long enough to learn to really fight.


Paul Revere is famous for what act?

On his trusty steed, Revere rode through the night alerting colonists that the British were coming. They gathered their weapons and the result was the start of the shooting war at the Battles of Lexington and Concord.


How did the British acquire many of the troops they needed for the war?

The British didn’t use a draft. Instead, they actually bought tens of thousands of troops from German royalty — these Hessian mercenaries traveled to America to fight. For American colonists, it was an insult of the highest order.


By the end of the war, soldiers in the Continental Army were committed to service for what length of time?

At the start of the war, soldiers enlisted for a minimum of one year — by the end of the war, a three-year committment was necessary. Even those stipulations found the army lacking in manpower.


Which side won the Battle of Bunker Hill?

In Boston, the British won the Battle of Bunker Hill, but they lost an inordinate number of men in the process. The colonists took heart, realizing that the British weren’t indomitable after all.


Why did military leaders struggle to maintain troop levels in the Continental Army?

The very principles of liberty that sparked the Revolution were at odds with the concept of a standing army ... so many men were opposed to joining the force meant to free them from British oppression.


What was one way military leaders tried to tempt men into enlisting into the Continental Army?

Military leaders tried to bait men into serving by offering free land. Even then, many men were less than excited about fighting in the war.


On April 2, 1780, where did the colonists lose a major battle?

It was a devastating defeat, the worst of the war for the colonists. About 10,000 troops surrendered to the British at Charleston, and many wondered whether the Revolution might be lost.


In 1777, British General William Howe set off to capture the seat of the Second Continental Congress, in ______.

Howe wanted to capture the home of the Second Continental Congress, in Philadelphia. He managed to invade and occupy the city.


What happened to colonial troops at Valley Forge?

During a brutal winter at Valley Forge in Pennsylvania, colonial troops suffered. They also learned new discipline and tactics that made them a much better fighting force.


On Christmas Night 1776, what did George Washington do?

On Christmas night, Washington led his men across the icy Delware River. They took Hessian troops completely by surprised and captured 1,000 enemies.


In 1776, what actions did the French take in secret?

In 1776, the French secretly began supplying money and aid to the colonists. Later, the French would become much more active in the fight.


In 1777, British General John Burgoyne was ordered to take the northern colonies. What happened?

Burgoyne’s northern campaign ran into the buzzsaw of colonial resistance ... and he was forced to surrender. His capitulation gave France the confidence to join the war. With France and America working side by side, the British were in serious peril.


What happened at the Siege of Yorktown?

At the Siege of Yorktown, colonial and French troops captured an entire British army. The war was essentially over, and the colonists continued retaking city after city from the redcoats.


Explore More Quizzes

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!