U.S. History

Don't Know Much about American History

by Kenneth Davis

  Brave New World Points
1 Who discovered America? 1
2 Was Christopher Columbus the first European in the Americas? 8
3 Why don't all Americans celebrate Columbus Day? 1
4 Why isn't America called Columbia? 2
5 Who followed Columbus to America? 10
6 Did anyone find El Dorado?  
7 If the Spanish got here first, why don't Americans speak Spanish?  
8 What happened to the "Lost Colony" of Roanoke Island?  
9 What do a river in New York and a bay in Canada have in common?  
10 Did the Pilgrims establish the first successful English settlement in North America?  
11 Did Pocahontas save John Smith's life?  
12 Who lived at the House of Burgesses?  
13 Did all people come to the New World to get rich?  
14 Who were the Pilgrims?  
15 Did an Indian really walk into Plymouth and say, "Welcome, Englishmen"?  
16 Who was Roger Williams  
17 Is it true that the Puritans were strict?  
18 Did the Dutch really buy all of Manhattan Island for $24?  
19 Did all the colonial leaders buy their land from the Indians?  
20 Can you name the thirteen original British colonies?  
21 Was life in Connecticut just like life in South Carolina?  

Unit 2 - A Little Rebellion Points
22 What did the Indians think of the colonists? 4
23 Why did some colonists live with the Indians? 4
24 Did frontiersman Daniel Boone wear a coonskin cap? 8
25 What's the best pet for a free and democratic society? 7
26 Who fought the French and Indian War? 0
27 Who was George Washington  
28 How did sugar and stamps help start the American Revolution?  
29 Why was the naming of the Boston Massacre only a half truth?  
30 Who was Benjamin Franklin?  
31 How did Boston Harbor become the biggest teapot in history?  
32 How did the colonists tolerate the Intolerable Acts?  
33 Who was John Adams?  
34 Who fired the first shot of the American Revolution?  
35 Who was Paul Revere?  
36 What is a Yankee Doodle Dandy?  
37 In 1775 did most colonists want to be independent from Britain?  
38 How did the pamphlet Common Sense pave the way for a revolution?  
39 Who was Thomas Jefferson?  
40 Why was Thomas Jefferson chosen to write the Declaration of Independence?  
41 What was the Enlightenment?  
42 Whose name became another word for treason?  
43 Just whom did Jefferson mean when he wrote "all men are created equal"?  
44 Did blacks fight in the revolution?  
45 What roles did women and children play in the fight for independence?  
46 How did the colonists beat the best army in the world?  

  Unit 3 - Growth of a Nation Points
47 Why did the United States go for eleven years without a president? 2
48 What happened when delegates tried to improve the Articles of Confederation? 1
49 Why were watchmen posted outside the Constitutional Convention? 1
50 When was a human being only three-fifths of a person? 1
51 What does our government have in common with a tightrope walker? 1
52 Who was "we" the people that the Constitution referred to? 1
53 Does the Constitution guarantee freedom of speech? 1
54 Was ratification of the Constitution a "sure thing"?  
55 Who elected George Washington as the first president?  
56 Why didn't Washington live in Washington, D.C.?  
57 Was the "Revolution of 1800" another bloody war?  
58 How did the United States get twice as big, overnight?  
59 Did the Louisiana Purchase spark the Lewis and Clark Expedition?  
60 Who were Tecumseh and "the Prophet"?  
61 What was "the second American Revolution"?  
62 What did America gain from the War of 1812?  
63 Defense of Fort McHenry  
64 How did the United States gain Florida?  
65 Why did President Monroe tell Europe to "keep out"?  

  Unit 4: The Way West Points
66 What was the main reason Maine became a state? 10
67 What helped keep slavery going in the South? 10
68 How did Andrew Jackson change the presidency, before he even stepped into the White House?  
69 Who came to the White House for Andrew Jackson's inauguration party?  
70 Who was the first president to ride on a train?  
71 Were trains the only thing going lickety-split in America?  
72 Was the Industrial Revolution good for all Americans?  
73 Is it true that children worked in factories?  
74 Industry was booming in the Northeast. What was happening in the South?  
75 Did Indians resist the theft of their lands?  
76 Nat Turner's Rebellion  
77 Who was Sequoya?  
78 What happened at the Alamo?  
79 How did William Harrison beat Martin Van Buren in the election of 1840?  
80 Did "Oregon Fever" keep you in bed for days?  
81 How did pioneers know where to go?  
82 How did pioneers stay connected to the cities?  
83 When is a shortcut not a shortcut?  
84 What did President James Polk do that no president had done before him?  
85 What did the United States gain from the Mexican-American War?  
86 Who were the forty-niners before they were San Francisco's football team?  
87 Who came looking for "Gold Mountain"?  
88 How did the California gold rush heighten the debate over slavery?  
89 Was the Underground Railroad the first subway system?  
90 Who was Frederick Douglass?  
91 When did women write their own Declaration?  
92 What do a raven, a whale named Moby Dick, and Paul Revere have in common?  
93 When and where did the slavery debate turn bloody?  
94 Why did John Brown lead a raid against a government arsenal in Virginia?  
95 What was one of the most dreadful decisions the Supreme Court ever made?  

  Unit 5 - The War of Brothers Points
96 Was Abraham Lincoln really born in a floorless, one-window log cabin in Kentucky? 1
97 What were the Lincoln-Douglas debates? 10
98 What did the Southern states think about Lincoln's election as president? 1
99 What's so civil about a civil war? 6
100 Was the Civil War fought over slavery? 1
101 Why didn't the North just let the South go? 3
102 Did the United States ever have two presidents at once? 1
103 Who was Robert E. Lee? 1
104 What was it like to be a soldier in the Civil War? 1
105 What was life like for civilians? 5
106 Who served in the armies? 10
107 Did the Emancipation Proclamation free the slaves?  
108 Who was George McClellan?  
109 What did Lincoln do in three minutes?  
110 Can you recite the Gettysburg Address?  
111 Whose nickname was "Unconditional Surrender"?  
112 Why was the surrender as important as the victory in the Civil War?  
113 Why didn't Reconstruction go as President Lincoln had planned?  
114 What was reconstructed during Reconstruction?  
115 What were "Black Codes"?  
116 What did Congress almost do to President Johnson?  
117 Did any blacks get involved in politics during Reconstruction?  
118 How did Reconstruction end?  
119 Who were the Exodusters?  

  Unit 6 - How the West was Won . . . and Lost Points
120 Who taught a group of Indians on the Great Plains to speak German? 2
121 If you lived on the plains, what challenges might you encounter? 10
122 Were there any other frontiers? 3
123 Was being a cowboy the best job in the West? 10
124 How did "Buffalo Bill" Cody get his nickname? 9
125 What could you do if you couldn't go to the circus? 10
126 How did the transcontinental railroad change America? 10
127 Was the settling of the American West a heroic achievement?  
128 Who were the Buffalo Soldiers?  
129 Who was left standing at Custer's Last Stand?  
130 What were the last words of Crazy Horse?  
131 Was it only Plains Indians who were forced onto reservations around this time?  
132 Who were the robber barons, and whom did they rob?  
133 Who were the biggest of the Big Businessmen?  
134 Why were the late-1800s called the "Gilded Age"?  
135 What did workers do to fight for their rights?  
136 Why did farmers need to organize, too?  
137 She's big, she's green, she's America's Welcome Queen. Who is she?  
138 Where did turn-of-the-century immigrants make their new homes?  
139 Who was Jacob Riis?  
140 Who was Jane Addams?  
141 What did many immigrants face, in the midst of their other troubles?  
142 What was Jim Crow up to toward the end of the nineteenth century?  
143 What did prominent blacks think should be done about racial discrimination?  
144 How many different uses for the peanut can you come up with?  

  Unit 7 - America Builds and Empire Points
145 What was America's "splendid little war"? 12
146 Who were the Rough Riders? 6
147 Why did President Theodore Roosevelt carry a big stick? 4
148 What did President Roosevelt do with 7,800 miles? 10
149 What could people do in the twentieth century that they couldn't do before? 3
150 Did Henry Ford invent the automobile? 6
151 How did the death of a European archduke start the first world war? 4
152 Why did the United States enter World War I? 3
153 What did the United States gain from World War I?  
154 What were President Wilson's "Fourteen Points"?  
155 Who actually ran the country when President Wilson had a stroke?  
156 Why were Americans so scared of the color red after the war?  
157 Who were Sacco and Vanzetti?  
158 Did birds make the Great Migration?  
159 What was prohibited during Prohibition?  
160 Who was Al Capone?  
161 What more lasting reform did women achieve in 1920?  
162 How did a scandal called Teapot Dome get President Warren Harding into a lot of hot water?  
163 Why were the twenties "roaring"?  
164 Where did the word "jazz" come from?  
165 Why was "Lucky Lindy" so lucky?  
166 Who was the "father of American rocketry"?  

  Unit 8 - Fearing Fear from the Thirties to the Forties Points
167 What was so great about the Great Depression? 10
168 Did the Stock Market Crash cause the Great Depression? 10
169 Why did President Herbert Hoover have so many towns named after him during the Great Depression? 10
170 What was the Dust Bowl? 10
171 How did President Franklin Delano Roosevelt find jobs for 4 million Americans? 10
172 What was one of FDR's most important roles as president? 10
173 Whom did FDR call his "eyes and ears"? 14
174 Where did Americans go to forget their troubles? 10
175 Did the New Deal bring America out of the Depression? 14
176 How many terms did FDR serve as president? 16
177 How did the First World War ignite the Second World War? 4
178 How long did the United States mind its own business? 6
179 What was the Holocaust? 4
180 Were all the World War II prison camps in Europe? 8
181 Who was "Rosie the Riveter"? 7
182 Who were the Navajo "code talkers"? 3
183 Did the United States have to drop the atomic bombs on Japan? 5
184 What was the cost of World War II?  
185 What did President Truman want to do with communism?  
186 Was the Cold War fought in Alaska?  
187 What happened to Germany after World War II?  
188 What other united group does the United States belong to?  

Unit 9 - Cold Wars, Hot Wars, and Freedom Riders Points
189 Did Americans hunt for witches in the 1950s? 50
190 Why did America fight a war in Korea? 50
191 Why did the United States side with France in its struggle to hold on to its colony in Vietnam? (10)
192 Why did Americans like Ike?  
193 What boomed in America in the 1950s?  
194 What started by the roadside and spread around the world?  
195 What was the new living room fixture of the 1950s?  
196 Who was the "King of Rock 'n' Roll" in the 1950s?  
197 How did a third-grade girl in Kansas change history?  
198 Were public schools the only places being integrated?  
199 Where did Rosa Parks park herself, in protest?  
200 What inspired Dr. King's methods of nonviolent protest?  
201 Were the Little Rock Nine a rock 'n' roll band?  
202 What were civil rights activists up to in the early 1960s?  
203 Did a handsome face win the presidency for John F. Kennedy?  
204 What organization did idealistic college students join in the 1960s?  
205 Where did President Kennedy want to send some Americans?  
206 Why did America fear a small island in the Caribbean?  
207 What was "the problem without a name"?  
208 Who killed JFK?  
209 Who warned that chemical pesticides might lead to a "silent spring"?  
210 What two wars did President Lyndon Baines Johnson wage?  
211 What was the "domino effect"?  
212 What got longer and what got shorter during the sixties?  
213 Did passage of the Civil Rights Act end the Civil Rights Movement?  
214 What event sparked violent riots in 1968?  
215 Did other minority groups use nonviolent protests to fight for their rights?  
216 What super event took place in 1967?  

Unit 10 - An American Century Ends . . . Another Begins Points
217 What did hawks and doves have to do with the Vietnam War? 10
218 Who were the "hippies"? 10
219 Did the Cold War ever thaw? 10
220 Who made "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind"?  
221 Why did President Nixon give up his job?  
222 What could women do in the early 1970s that they couldn't do before?  
223 What would you be sure to find at American gas stations in the mid-1970s?  
224 What was the "crisis of confidence"?  
225 What did President Reagan have in common with a frying pan?  
226 Why was the American space program put on hold in the 1980s?  
227 Why did Indiana teenager Ryan White have to fight for his right to go to school?  
228 Could weathermen predict Desert Storm?  
229 Is it true that "debugging" a computer once meant removing the moths from inside it?  
230 What famous billionaire dropped out of college?  
231 What did President Bill Clinton have in common with President Andrew Johnson?  
232 Were the 1990s an age of rage?  
233 Why was George W. Bush declared president twice—in the same election?  
234 Is it time to reform the Electoral College?  
235 What happened on September 11, 2001, that shocked the world?  
236 Who hijacked the planes on September 11, and why?  
237 How are high levels of immigration changing the United States?  
238 How did the United States respond to the 9-11 Terrorist Attacks?  
239 What was the "Great Recession"?  
240 Who became the first African-American president?