Quiz about Early US History
Quiz about Early US History

Early US History Trivia Quiz


How much do you know about the origins of the United States? Start from Columbus's historic voyage and travel through to the end of the civil war, all in 20 questions!

A multiple-choice quiz by Terry. Estimated time: 5 mins.
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Author
Terry
Time
5 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
26,179
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
20
Difficulty
Easy
Avg Score
16 / 20
Plays
43510
Awards
Top 5% quiz!
Last 3 plays: ZWOZZE (15/20), VivTriv (18/20), Guest 73 (18/20).
This quiz has 2 formats: you can play it as a or as shown below.
Scroll down to the bottom for the answer key.
1. Christopher Columbus' voyage to the Americas in 1492 opened up a new era in world history. What country sponsored his expedition? Hint

France
Spain
Portugal
England

2. The coming of Columbus and other Europeans to the Americas brought many changes to the Americas, some of them positive and others negative. What affected the native population of North America most severely? Hint

enslavement
trade
disease
aggression

3. The first English settlements were failures--it was not until tobacco was discovered as a cash crop and strong administrators took advantage of the economics. This man established an order that Virginia become a viable colony. Hint

Adam Jackson
Adam Smith
Thomas Jefferson
John Smith

4. In the eighteenth century, the American colonies became much more a part of the world economic system. Their local economies had matured, and were now producing crops and goods that were in demand in Europe and elsewhere. To cope with this demand for goods, especially for labor intensive agricultural products, these colonies increasingly turned to slave labor. Hint

northern
southern
spanish
californian

5. In the late 1730s and the 1740s, a religious revival swept across the land. It was in part a response to the loosening of colonial religious controls, but also a response to the uncertainty of the times. This period of American history is referred to as: Hint

The Puritan Revolution
Spirited Times
The Great Awakening
The Reformation

6. In order to avoid or limit potential problems with Native Americans, England had also closed much of the West to settlement, angering many colonists who were anxious to move into the rich and fertile Ohio Valley. This, and another thorny issue caused anger and resentment to grow in the colonies. Name this other issue. Hint

Limits on slave labour
Immigration requirements
A trade embargo
Taxation

7. In the few years preceding the American Revolution, the city of Boston was a powder keg just waiting to explode. In March of 1770, some British troops responded to a snowball attack by local young men by firing back, killing five colonists. What was the name given to this historical event? Hint

The Boston Revolt
The American Revolution
The Boston Massacre
The Boston Tea Party

8. In April 1775, British forces under General Thomas Gage attempted to march from Boston to these nearby villages in order to seize supplies that the colonials had stored there for their local militiamen, known as Minutemen. The American Revolution was underway. Hint

Bedford and Salem
Lexington and Concord
Lexington and Salem
Newton and Concord

9. Violent action having begun, the Second Continental Congress debated what steps to take against Britain. They drafted this document. Hint

Declaration of Independence
Charter of Rights
Indian-American Treaty
The Constitution

10. The overwhelming superiority of the British army forced the American forces out of the major cities during the brutal winters of the Revolutionary War. The tide of the war changed, however, when this nation threw its support behind the colonies. Hint

Portugal
Germany
Mexico
France

11. One interesting story is that of women who fought in the Revolutionary War as men. This woman is probably the most famous. Hint

Eva Simpson
G.I. Jane
Deborah Sampson
Joanne Wight

12. The revolution behind the colonies, ties with France became strained, and England's naval superiority grew. Which new war with England broke out early in the next century? Hint

The Civil War
Spanish War
The Puritan Revolution
The War of 1812

13. Conflicts turned inward. As the North became increasingly industrialized after 1840, the differences between the North and the South became more and more apparent. The south produced this product, and was becoming more dependent on the north financially. Hint

wheat
spices
fruit
cotton

14. This political Party was formed in Wisconsin in the 1850s and was largely supported by Northerners who favored its anti-slavery policies. Hint

Democratic
Republican
Reform
Puritan

15. Literary sources can be useful and interesting in discovering the history of a particular era. This novel, by Harriet Beecher Stowe, was one of the most influential novels of the 1850s. Hint

Tom Sawyer
To Kill a Mockingbird
To Freedom
Uncle Tom's Cabin

16. With the election of this anti-slavery Republican candidate for President, the Southern states decided they had to take drastic action in order to protect their own interests. Hint

Abraham Lincoln
George Washington
Thomas Jefferson
Adam Jackson

17. The first battle of the Civil War occurred when Brigadier General Pierre G. T. Beauregard formally requested that this fort be surrendered. Hint

Fort Sumter
Fort Knox
Ford Meade
Fort Royale

18. Although the location and timing of the Battle of Gettysburg was almost an accident, the fact that a huge battle took place in Pennsylvania in July 1863 was certainly no accident. The commander of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia had chosen a course that meant a major battle was almost unavoidable. Who was this commander? Hint

General Richard S. Ewell
General Buford
General George Gordon Meade
General Robert E. Lee

19. By late 1864, the South was exhausted and bleeding, and victory was near for Union troops, and in April 1865 the Confederacy surrendered. Unfortunately, Lincoln never had time to appreciate his victory. He was assassinated by this man, just five days after Lee surrendered at Appomattox. Hint

George Atzeroldt
Samuel Mudd
John Wilkes Booth
David Herold

20. Upon the assassination of Lincoln, the Presidency fell upon an old-fashioned southern Jacksonian Democrat of pronounced states' rights views. Who was this man? Hint

Ulysses S. Grant
Andrew Johnson
Rutherford B. Hayes
James A. Garfield




Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Christopher Columbus' voyage to the Americas in 1492 opened up a new era in world history. What country sponsored his expedition?

Answer: Spain

Though historians are certain that Europeans had made contact with the New World before Columbus, his Spanish-sponsored voyage marked the beginning of more than three centuries of colonization efforts by European countries in the Americas. These efforts are marked with stories of near cultural genocide, but also of discovery and survival, especially for the Europeans, who benefited the most in these early years from the exchange of technology and bio-diversity.
2. The coming of Columbus and other Europeans to the Americas brought many changes to the Americas, some of them positive and others negative. What affected the native population of North America most severely?

Answer: disease

Disease certainly was one of the exchanges between European and the peoples of the New World, and its effects were devastating. Some historians estimate that as much as 95 percent of the native population died from diseases brought by the Europeans.
3. The first English settlements were failures--it was not until tobacco was discovered as a cash crop and strong administrators took advantage of the economics. This man established an order that Virginia become a viable colony.

Answer: John Smith

After 1650, European population in the New World grew rapidly, especially in the Chesapeake region and in New England. Religious dissenters from England, especially the Puritans and Pilgrims, increasingly saw the northern colonies as ideal. As the tobacco culture evolved in the Chesapeake region, the need for labor increased. Previously landowners had brought over indentured servants, but after 1670 the numbers of African slaves brought into the colonies rapidly increased.
4. In the eighteenth century, the American colonies became much more a part of the world economic system. Their local economies had matured, and were now producing crops and goods that were in demand in Europe and elsewhere. To cope with this demand for goods, especially for labor intensive agricultural products, these colonies increasingly turned to slave labor.

Answer: southern

The slave population in the Americas increased dramatically in the eighteenth century. A unique slave culture also emerged that depended on elements taken from African, Caribbean, and European life.
5. In the late 1730s and the 1740s, a religious revival swept across the land. It was in part a response to the loosening of colonial religious controls, but also a response to the uncertainty of the times. This period of American history is referred to as:

Answer: The Great Awakening

Jonathan Edwards was perhaps the best known of the many revival speakers of the Great Awakening who traveled the colonies. He spread a message of a God which demanded everyone's full attention and obedience.
6. In order to avoid or limit potential problems with Native Americans, England had also closed much of the West to settlement, angering many colonists who were anxious to move into the rich and fertile Ohio Valley. This, and another thorny issue caused anger and resentment to grow in the colonies. Name this other issue.

Answer: Taxation

Colonists were particularly sensitive to any form of taxation--they believed that since England did not allow the colonies any representation in Parliament, then that body had no right to tax the colonies. Riots broke out over this and other issues, but neither side was willing to compromise. After a brief lull, the die was cast--revolution was inevitable.
7. In the few years preceding the American Revolution, the city of Boston was a powder keg just waiting to explode. In March of 1770, some British troops responded to a snowball attack by local young men by firing back, killing five colonists. What was the name given to this historical event?

Answer: The Boston Massacre

With the deaths of 5 people, it was hardly a 'massacre', but that's what it became known as. John Hancock, speaking several years later on the anniversary of the massacre, recalled why this event should be the rallying cry to rid America of the British.
8. In April 1775, British forces under General Thomas Gage attempted to march from Boston to these nearby villages in order to seize supplies that the colonials had stored there for their local militiamen, known as Minutemen. The American Revolution was underway.

Answer: Lexington and Concord

Tensions escalated, and the British moved to confiscate arms stored by the colonists. Revere rode to warn the colonists, shooting started, and war broke out between England and the colonies.
9. Violent action having begun, the Second Continental Congress debated what steps to take against Britain. They drafted this document.

Answer: Declaration of Independence

In the end, the delegates at Philadelphia drafted the Declaration of Independence in mid-1776, stating their objections to British rule and reasons why they should now become independent. The king's reaction was not one of support, and instead he sent thousands of British regulars and Hessian soldiers hired from Germany across the Atlantic.
10. The overwhelming superiority of the British army forced the American forces out of the major cities during the brutal winters of the Revolutionary War. The tide of the war changed, however, when this nation threw its support behind the colonies.

Answer: France

With Washington advancing from the north, and a French army under the French Comte de Rochambeau to the south, the British faced 16,000 troops, while they could muster only 7,000. British General Cornwallis was forced to surrender his entire command, the largest British army in America. The date was October 19, 1781.
11. One interesting story is that of women who fought in the Revolutionary War as men. This woman is probably the most famous.

Answer: Deborah Sampson

Deborah Sampson enlisted as a man, served out her whole term though wounded twice, and was only discovered when she came down with a fever. Evidence suggests that there were numerous women who actually were combat troops during the war.
12. The revolution behind the colonies, ties with France became strained, and England's naval superiority grew. Which new war with England broke out early in the next century?

Answer: The War of 1812

It was largely inconclusive with both sides claiming victory, but it disrupted trade and caused considerable confusion and hardship, especially on the western frontier.
13. Conflicts turned inward. As the North became increasingly industrialized after 1840, the differences between the North and the South became more and more apparent. The south produced this product, and was becoming more dependent on the north financially.

Answer: cotton

The South depended almost entirely on agriculture, a marked difference from the more mixed economy of the North. This encouraged a more relaxed, slower pace than in the hectic (and growing) cities of the North. It also demanded labor, and the South had chosen slaves as their main means of production. Most states north of the Mason Dixon line had abolished slavery by 1815, and while there were still some slaves in the North, their numbers were diminishing while the numbers of slaves in the South was increasing.

This was a point of contention.
14. This political Party was formed in Wisconsin in the 1850s and was largely supported by Northerners who favored its anti-slavery policies.

Answer: Republican

Abraham Lincoln became its best known spokesman, especially after the Lincoln-Douglas debates in 1858, debates which clearly showed that the divisions in American politics and society were unlikely to be bridged.
15. Literary sources can be useful and interesting in discovering the history of a particular era. This novel, by Harriet Beecher Stowe, was one of the most influential novels of the 1850s.

Answer: Uncle Tom's Cabin

Its strong anti-slavery sentiments echoed the concerns of many who opposed the institution.
16. With the election of this anti-slavery Republican candidate for President, the Southern states decided they had to take drastic action in order to protect their own interests.

Answer: Abraham Lincoln

On December 20, 1860, a secession convention met in South Carolina and adopted an Ordinance of Secession from the Union. Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas quickly followed suit. These events were to set the stage for the bloodiest and saddest war in American history.
17. The first battle of the Civil War occurred when Brigadier General Pierre G. T. Beauregard formally requested that this fort be surrendered.

Answer: Fort Sumter

The following day Lincoln issued a proclamation calling for 75,000 militia to serve for ninety days to put down 'combinations too powerful to be suppressed' by the ordinary mechanism of government. The Civil War had begun.
18. Although the location and timing of the Battle of Gettysburg was almost an accident, the fact that a huge battle took place in Pennsylvania in July 1863 was certainly no accident. The commander of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia had chosen a course that meant a major battle was almost unavoidable. Who was this commander?

Answer: General Robert E. Lee

A terrible slaughter on the second day of the battle, as massive as it was, did not match what was to happen on the third. General Lee, desperate for a decisive victory, made a particularly bad decision. Some historians have suggested that Lee was suffering from the beginnings of a heart ailment that would eventually kill him, and thus clouded his military judgment that day. Whatever the reason, now Lee, having failed on both Union flanks, would decide to attack the center of the Federal line. The results are best told by the stark statistics of the charge. Of the 12,000 men who went forward, less than 5,000 would return. To Lee's credit, he shouldered the entire responsibility for the failure of the assault.
19. By late 1864, the South was exhausted and bleeding, and victory was near for Union troops, and in April 1865 the Confederacy surrendered. Unfortunately, Lincoln never had time to appreciate his victory. He was assassinated by this man, just five days after Lee surrendered at Appomattox.

Answer: John Wilkes Booth

What remained was to heal the country of a war that had killed more than 600,000 troops and virtually destroyed much of the South. The Union had been preserved, but at an awesome price.
20. Upon the assassination of Lincoln, the Presidency fell upon an old-fashioned southern Jacksonian Democrat of pronounced states' rights views. Who was this man?

Answer: Andrew Johnson

In March 1867, radical republicans effected their own plan of Reconstruction, again placing southern states under military rule. They passed laws placing restrictions upon the President. When Johnson allegedly violated one of these, the Tenure of Office Act, by dismissing Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, the House voted eleven articles of impeachment against him.

He was tried by the Senate in the spring of 1868 and acquitted by one vote.
Source: Author Terry

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