Are You a U.S. History Expert?


By: Patrick J. Kiger

5 Min Quiz

Image: ©AnitaBurke / Moment / Getty Images

About This Quiz

The United States has a rich history filled with many major historical events. Test your U.S. history knowledge with this quiz!

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

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


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 Gen. George Washington cross the Delaware River in December 1776?

Washington led his troops in boats across the icy Delaware to defeat the Hessians in Trenton, New Jersey.


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."


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.


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

American protesters tossed the East India Company's tea into Boston Harbor to protest its monopoly on tea imports. This act became known as the Boston Tea Party.


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

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


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.


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.


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 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.


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.


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.


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.


Who led an armed slave rebellion in Virginia in 1831?

Nat Turner lead an unsuccessful slave revolt in 1831 and was captured and executed.


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.


What was the main reason French colonists settled in North America?

Unlike the English, who wanted land for farming, the French mainly wanted to trade with Native Americans for furs.


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

Richard Henry Lee introduced the motion in June 1776, and soon Thomas Jefferson drafted a declaration of independence .


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

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


How much did Dutch colonists pay the American Indians for Manhattan Island in 1624?

The Dutch paid with goods worth 60 Dutch guilders, which is about $780 today. Dollars didn't yet exist.


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.


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.


Where was the famous Lost Colony located?

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


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 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.


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 the President George Washington's annual salary?

Congress voted to pay Washington $25,000 a year, a presidential salary that went unchanged until 1873.


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.


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

Georgia was founded in 1732.


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.


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