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 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.
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, 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.
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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Revolution, white settlers basically took over many Indian lands. They figured their military conquests gave them the right to take whatever they wanted.
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.
In 1790, numerous Indian tribes formed the Western Confederacy. Their aim was to halt fast and intrusive white settlement of traditional Indian lands.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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, the USSR collapsed, ending the long-running Cold War, and leaving America as the world’s sole superpower.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.