Did you know that it was John Adams that suggested the fireworks in celebrating Independence Day?
In a letter to his wife, John Adams wrote:
The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.
So all you trivia buffs, while waiting for your burgers and dogs to be done on the grill, here are questions (and answers) to see just how knowledgeable you are on American history. These questions are brought to you by Toast.net
1. What is the title of the National Anthem?
a. Oh, Say Can You See c. America the Beautiful
b. God Bless America d. The Star Spangled Banner
2. Which of the following rights is guaranteed by the first amendment?
a. Right to Bear Arms. c.Freedom of Religion
b. Right to Vote d. All of the Above
3. What is the title of the head of a city government?
a. Mayor c. Chancellor
b. Governor d. Chairman of the Board
4. Who has the ability to declare war?
a. President c. Joint Chiefs
b. Secretary of Defense d. Congress
5. How many full terms may a Senator serve?
a.1 c. 4
b. 2 d. No term limits for Senators
6. How many full terms can a President serve?
a. 1 c. 4
b. 2 d. No term limits for Presidents
7. How many years is a full term for a Representative?
b.2 d. 6
8. Which amendment sets the minimum voting age to 18?
a. 1st c. 19th
b. 18th d. 26th
9. Who becomes President if both the President and Vice President die?
a. Speaker of the House c. Chief Justice
b. Secretary of Defense d. the First Lady
10. On July 4th, 1776 we declared Independence from whom?
a. Germany c. Spain
b. Great Britain d. Rome
11. How many branches of government do we have?
12. Which is part of the Judicial branch at the federal level?
a. The Supreme Court c. The Senate
b. The Congress d. The Presidential Cabinet
13. Who elects the President of the United States?
a. The House of Representatives c. The Senate
The Electoral College d. The State Governors
14. How many states are there?
a. 10 c.50
b. 13 d. 100
15. How many stripes are there on the American Flag?
a. 10 c. 50
b. 13 d. 100
16. Who was the President of the United States during the civil war?
a. Abraham Lincoln c. Ulysses S. Grant
b. George Washington d. Lyndon B. Johnson
17. Who is the last President of the United States?
a. George Bush c. Hillary Clinton
b. Barack Obama d. Joe Biden
18. Who is the last Vice President of the United States?
a. George Bush c. Dick Cheney
b. Barack Obama d. Joe Biden
19. Why did the Pilgrims come to America?
a. To establish a trade route with India
b. To set up fur trade with the Natives
c. To establish a new nation
d. To find religious freedom
20. How many total Senators are there?
a. 10 c. 50
b. 13 d. 100
21. The Constitution has how many Amendments?
a. 23 c. 31
b. 27 d. 33
22. How many Amendments have been proposed officially by Congress but never ratified?
a. None c. 6
b. 1 d. 12
23. Which of these amendments is a ratified and current amendment?
a. Declaring it illegal to desecrate the American Flag
b. Equality of rights regardless of Gender
c. Restricting marriage in all States to between a man and a woman
d. Prohibiting the importing of liquor into States where it is illegal
24. In what year was the last amendment ratified?
a. 1868 c. 1961
b. 1920 d. 1992
25. What is the Official Language of the United States?
a. None c. English
b. Latin. d. Esperanto
26. Who was the first Vice President of the United States?
a. George Washington c. Thomas Jefferson
b. John Adams d. Andrew Jackson
27. Who said “Give me liberty or give me death?”
a. Nathan Hale c. John Wilkes Booth
b. Patrick Henry d. Thomas Paine
28. How many Presidents were assassinated while in office?
b. 2 d.6
29. Which of these Presidents was born in Texas?
a. Dwight D. Eisenhower c.Ronald Reagan
b. Richard Nixon d. George W. Bush
30. How many Presidents have been impeached?
a. none c.2
So, if this quiz brought discussion to the room, great! Hopefully no fights have ensued.
Here are the results to quell the disagreements and allow the betting person his/her due.
|Correct Answer||Your Answer||Explanation|
|D||1. What is the title of the National Anthem?
While it is true that the first line of the National Anthem is “O, Say Can You See” the title of the song is”The Star Spangled Banner”. The words were written by Francis Scott Key after he witnessed the bombardment of FortMcHenry by the British during the War of 1812. The fort held and inspired Key to write his poetry. Later it was put to music and in 1916 was made the official National Anthem by President Wilson.
|C||2. Which of the following rights is guaranteed by the first amendment?
The First Amendment guarantees the right of free speech, the right to petition, the freedom of assembly, as well as the freedom of religion. The right to bear arms is granted by the second amendment. Both amendments were adopted as part of the Bill of Rights (the first 10 amendments) and were drafted to check the powers of a centralized government over its citizens.
|A||3. What is the title of the head of a city government?
A tradition carried over from England, the heads of City government are called Mayors. In some American cities there is a city court of which the mayor is chief judge.
|D||4. Who has the ability to declare war?
One of the complaints leveled against England when America declared its independence was the overreaching power the monarch had over the military. Fearful that even a President could abuse this power, the ability to declare war was given to Congress.Since then the office of the President has been able to work around this in several cases using the Emergency Powers of the Presidency. For instance, American troops were committed and served in Kosovo during the country’s conflict, yet America never officially declared war.
|D||5. How many full terms may a Senator serve?
The Constitution has no term limits specified for any office (except for the President – see Question 6). Term Limits have become a hot topic in the last 10 years. Some states have tried to impose term limits on their candidates but this was found to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. The only way term limits at the federal level will ever come about is by the ratifying of an amendment to the constitution.
|B||6. How many full terms can a President serve?
As the first President, George Washington set many precedents that later Presidents followed. One of these traditions was the voluntary limit to two terms in office. After Franklin Roosevelt broke this tradition and held the office four times,some policy makers moved to keep this from happening again. The 22nd amendment to the Constitution was ratified in 1951 and turned Washington’s two term tradition into binding law.
|B||7. How many years is a full term for a Representative?
The length of a full term for a member of the House of Representatives is set by the Constitution at 2 years.
|D||8. Which amendment sets the minimum voting age to 18?
The fourth amendment ratified to clarify voter’s rights was a result of protests against the war in Viet Nam. The argument was that a person old enough to fight for their country should be old enough to vote in its elections. Before its adoption the voting age was 21.
|A||9. Who becomes President if both the President and Vice President die?
In 1947 Congress thought it necessary to sketch out a line of succession in the case of both the President and Vice President becoming unable to perform their duties. This was in response to the realization that a nuclear attack could effectively wipe out large portions of our government. Policy makers wanted to ensure that the office holder was an elected official rather than an appointed official if at all possible. Thus the Speaker of the House and the Senate Pro Tempore were selected to be next in line for the Presidency.
|B||10. On July 4th, 1776 we declared Independence from whom?
The American Colonies were in the possession of Great Britain until America declared its Independence as a new nation on July 4th, 1776. Though most Americans still say we declared our Independence from England, this is technically incorrect.
|C||11. How many branches of government do we have?
Wary of a system in which one person can hold too much power, the drafters of the Constitution separated the powers of government among 3 branches: The Executive (President), The Legislative (The Congress), and The Judicial (The Supreme Court).
|A||12. Which is part of the Judicial branch at the federal level?
The Supreme Court is the highest court in the country. It interprets the meaning of laws set forth by Congress and it determines if these laws, as well as State laws that come before it, are legal under our Constitution.
|B||13. Who elects the President of the United States?
This question does not seem as difficult after the 2000 Presidential election. The electoral college came under scrutiny after it was illustrated that a candidate can win the election without having a majority of the vote. In 2000 Al Gore won the popular vote and George Bush won the Electoral College vote.
|C||14. How many states are there?
There are 50 states in the United States. The last, Hawaii was admitted to the Union on August 21, 1959. There is a political movement for a 51st state, Puerto Rico, to be added.
|B||15. How many stripes are there on the American Flag?
There are 13 stripes on the American flag that stand for the original 13 American Colonies.
|A||16. Who was the President of the United States during the civil war?
By the time Lincoln was inaugurated into the office of President 7 states had seceded and the Civil War was on its way. He was shot during his second term of office and died on April 15, 1865. He lived long enough to see the end of the Civil War but was unable to implement his plans for the rebuilding of the nation.
|B||17. Who is the last President of the United States?
Barack Obama is the 44rd President of the United States. He was elected the 44th President of the United States on November 4, 2008, and sworn in on January 20, 2009. He and his wife, Michelle, are the proud parents of two daughters, Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7.
|D||18. Who is the last Vice President of the United States?
Joe Biden is the current VP of the United States. Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr., was born November 20, 1942, in Scranton, Pennsylvania, the first of four siblings. At age 29, he became one of the youngest people ever elected to the United States Senate.
|D||19. Why did the Pilgrims come to America?
While this statement is considered the correct answer on the Citizenship Test and is the most correct out of the multiple answers, it is not entirely true. The Pilgrims did leave England to avoid religious persecution but first went to Holland. This was not to their tastes either as the more radical religious groups insulted their sensibilities. The solution was to create their own colony where they were free to practice their own beliefs and free from the tainting of other belief systems.
|D||20. How many total Senators are there?
The Constitution provides for 2 Senators from each state no matter its size or population. With 50 states that makes 100 Senators. This provides an advantage for small states. For instance Rhode Island, our smallest state, has 2 Senators, the same number of Senators that represent California or Texas. This balances out the House of Representatives where the number of Rep’s a state receives is based on population.
|B||21. The Constitution has how many Amendments?
Amendments to the Constitution began immediately after its ratification. An amendment must pass the House and Senate by 2/3rds vote and then be passed by no less than 3/4ths of the States.
|C||22. How many Amendments have been proposed officially by Congress but never ratified?
Six Amendments have been proposed by Congress but never gained enough States’ votes to be ratified. They are: One of the first amendments in the Bill of Rights laying out representation, one outlawing titles of nobility, one guaranteeing a state’s right to practice slavery, one that gives the Federal Government control over child labor laws, The Equal Rights Amendment, and one that would have given DC full representation in the House and Senate. All of these amendments failed.
|D||23. Which of these amendments is a ratified and current amendment?
While the 19th amendment guarantees a woman’s right to vote, the Equal Rights Amendment, guaranteeing their equal protection under the law was never passed. This does not mean women have no rights, it is now considered implied elsewhere in the Constitution. Making flag desecration illegal was given much discussion in the early 90’s but never passed the House or Senate. President Bush supports an amendment to ban gay marriage, but, again, that has never passed the House or Senate. The 21st amendment repealed the 18th amendment that prohibited the consumption and sale of alcohol. To ensure a State’s right to maintain the ban, the 21st also made it illegal to import liquor into dry states.
|D||24. In what year was the last amendment ratified?
When the amendment process began, no time limits were put in place for ratification. The 27th amendment, putting delays on Congressional pay hikes, was originally proposed with the Bill of Rights. It sat without ratification until 1992, when Gregory Watson, an aide to a Texas legislator, took up the cause and won the required States to pass the proposed amendment.
|A||25. What is the Official Language of the United States?
The United States has no official language; it is a right reserved for the States. Currently 29 States have English as an official language. Louisiana includes French, Hawaii includes Hawaiian, and New Mexico includes Spanish as official languages.
|B||26. Who was the first Vice President of the United States?
When selected for the job, Adams wrote that the Vice President was “the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived.” It seems little has changed with the office over time.
|B||27. Who said “Give me liberty or give me death?”
Legend says that when the Virginia legislature was balking at committing troops during the Revolutionary War, it was Patrick Henry’s speech that inspired them to change their mind. As an interesting note, Henry was a critic of the Constitution and campaigned against its adoption. He believed it gave the Federal Government too much power and was instrumental in the ratification of the Bill of Rights.
|C||28. How many Presidents were assassinated while in office?
While John F Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln easily come to mind, there are two other Presidents who were assassinated in office. James Garfield was shot only 4 months after taking office and died 80 days later. William McKinley was shot at the Pan-American Exposition while greeting the public and died soon after. Four other Presidents have died in office of natural causes. Four other presidents (Reagan, Truman, Ford, and Jackson) all survived attempted assassinations.
|A||29. Which of these Presidents was born in Texas?
A trick question. While George W. Bush is associated with Texas and lived there his adult life, he was born in Connecticut. Nixon was our only president born in California, and Reagan (though Governor of California at one time) was born in Illinois.Eisenhower grew up in Kansas, but was born in Texas. Texas was also the birth place of one other president, Lyndon B. Johnson.
|C||30. How many Presidents have been impeached?
Two Presidents have been impeached, Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. Andrew Johnson took office after Lincoln’s assassination. His conciliatory policies toward the South and his blocking of Civil Rights legislation caused a bitter confrontation that resulted in his impeachment. Clinton was impeached for perjury and obstruction of justice during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Both Presidents were eventually acquitted. Richard Nixon resigned before he could be impeached, though proceedings to do so were underway.
Did you know that there are two other countries that celebrate July 4 as a day of independence or freedom. In the Philippines, this day is Republic Day — not the Southeast Asian country’s independence from Spain — but their independence from the U.S.! The Philippines were a U.S. territory until 1946.
And over in Rwanda, July 4 is Liberation Day, when the country ended the awful Rwandan Genocide in 1994 after 100 days of conflict.
Happy 4th of July! While celebrating, remember the heroes that fought to give us the freedoms that we enjoy today.