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Home » Santa Clarita News » Test Your Knowledge Of U.S. History

Test Your Knowledge Of U.S. History

flagAlright, I know school’s out, but I have a quiz for you.  It’s timely because of the upcoming Fourth of July weekend, when we all celebrate the independence most of us were born into and hardly know the history of.

Newsweek recently published an article stating that only 62% of 1,000 surveyed American’s could pass the naturalization test given to immigrants.  Out of 100 potential questions, a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agent asks an immigrant 10 questions, six of which they must answer correctly in order to pass.


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Have I caught your interest?  How about your competitive side?

Below are listed 100 sample questions and answers provided by the USCIS.  Give them a shot and see how you fare.

1.  What is the supreme law of the land?

▪  the Constitution

2.  What does the Constitution do?

▪  sets up the government

▪  defines the government

▪  protects basic rights of Americans

3.The idea of self-government is in the first three words of the Constitution. What are these words?

▪  We the People

4.  What is an amendment?

▪  a change (to the Constitution)

▪  an addition (to the Constitution)

5. What do we call the first ten amendments to the Constitution?

▪  the Bill of Rights

6.  What is one right or freedom from the First Amendment?

▪  speech

▪  religion

▪  assembly

▪  press

▪  petition the government

7.  How many amendments does the Constitution have?

▪  27

8.  What did the Declaration of Independence do?

▪  announced our independence from Great Britain

9.  What are two rights in the Declaration of Independence?

▪  life

▪  liberty

▪  pursuit of happiness

10.  What is freedom of religion?

▪  You can practice any religion, or not practice a religion.

11.  What is the economic system in the United States?

▪  capitalist economy

▪  market economy

12.  What is the “rule of law”?

▪  Everyone must follow the law.

▪  Leaders must obey the law.

▪  Government must obey the law.

▪  No one is above the law.

13.  Name one branch or part of the government.

▪  Legislative (Congress)

▪  Executive (President)

▪  Judicial (the Courts)

14.  What stops one branch of government from becoming too powerful?

▪  checks and balances

▪  separation of powers

15.  Who is in charge of the executive branch?

▪  the President

16.  Who makes federal laws?

▪  Congress

17.   What are the two parts of the U.S. Congress?

▪  the Senate and House of Representatives

18.  How many U.S. Senators are there?

▪  100

19.  We elect a U.S. Senator for how many years?

▪  six

20.  Who is one of your state’s U.S. Senators now?

▪   California: Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinsteim

21.  The House of Representatives has how many voting members?

▪  435

22.  We elect a U.S. Representative for how many years?

▪  two

23.  Name your U.S. Representative.

* for Santa Clarita: Buck McKeon

24.  Who does a U.S. Senator represent?

▪  all people of the state

25.  Why do some states have more Representatives than other states?

▪  because of the state’s population

26.  We elect a President for how many years?

▪  four

27.  In what month do we vote for President?

▪  November

28.  What is the name of the President of the United States now?

▪  Barack Obama

29.  What is the name of the Vice President of the United States now?

▪  Joseph R. Biden, Jr.

30.  If the President can no longer serve, who becomes President?

▪  the Vice President

31.  If both the President and the Vice President can no longer serve, who becomes President?

▪  the Speaker of the House

32.  Who is the Commander in Chief of the military?

▪  the President

33.  Who signs bills to become laws?

▪  the President

34.  Who vetoes bills?

▪  the President

35.  What does the President’s Cabinet do?

▪  advises the President

36.  What are two Cabinet-level positions?

▪  Secretary of Agriculture

▪  Secretary of Commerce

▪  Secretary of Defense

▪  Secretary of Education

▪  Secretary of Energy

▪  Secretary of Health and Human Services

▪  Secretary of Homeland Security

▪  Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

▪  Secretary of the Interior

▪  Secretary of Labor

▪  Secretary of State

▪  Secretary of Transportation

▪  Secretary of the Treasury

▪  Secretary of Veterans Affairs

▪  Attorney General

▪  Vice President

37.  What does the judicial branch do?

▪  reviews laws

▪  explains laws

▪  resolves disputes

▪  decides if a law goes against the Constitution

38.  What is the highest court in the United States?

▪  the Supreme Court

39.  How many justices are on the Supreme Court?

▪  nine

40.  Who is the Chief Justice of the United States now?

▪  John Roberts

41.   Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the federal government.  What is one power of the federal government?

▪  to print money

▪  to declare war

▪  to create an army

▪  to make treaties

42.   Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the states.  What is one power of the states?

▪  provide schooling and education

▪  provide protection (police)

▪  provide safety (fire departments)

▪  give a driver’s license

▪  approve zoning and land use

43.  Who is the Governor of your state now?

▪   Jerry Brown

44.  What is the capitol of your state?

▪   Sacramento

45.  What are the two major political parties in the United States?

▪  Democratic and Republican

46.  What is the political party of the President now?

▪  Democratic

47.  What is the name of the Speaker of the House of Representatives now?

▪  John Boehner

48.  There are four amendments to the Constitution about who can vote.  Describe one of them.

▪  Amendment 26 Citizens 18 and older can vote.

▪  Amendment 24 You don’t have to pay a poll tax to vote.

▪  Amendment 19 Women given the right to vote.

▪  Amendment 15 A male citizen of any race can vote.

49.  What is one responsibility that is only for United States citizens?*

▪  serve on a jury

▪  vote in a federal election

50.  Name one right only for United States citizens.

▪  vote in a federal election

▪  run for federal office

51.  What are two rights of everyone living in the United States?

▪  freedom of expression

▪  freedom of speech

▪  freedom of assembly

▪  freedom to petition the government

▪  freedom of worship

▪  the right to bear arms

52.  What do we show loyalty to when we say the Pledge of Allegiance?

▪  the United States

▪  the flag

53.  What is one promise you make when you become a United States citizen?

▪  give up loyalty to other countries

▪  defend the Constitution and laws of the United States

▪  obey the laws of the United States

▪  serve in the U.S. military (if needed)

▪  serve (do important work for) the nation (if needed)

▪  be loyal to the United States

54.  How old do citizens have to be to vote for President?

▪  18 and older

55.  What are two ways that Americans can participate in their democracy?

▪  vote

▪  join a political party

▪  help with a campaign

▪  join a civic group

▪  join a community group

▪  give an elected official your opinion on an issue

▪  call Senators and Representatives

▪  publicly support or oppose an issue or policy

▪  run for office

▪  express their opinion to the media

56.  When is the last day you can send in federal income tax forms?

▪  April 15

57.  When must all men register for the Selective Service?

▪  between the ages of 18 and 26

58.  What is one reason colonists came to America?

▪  freedom

▪  political liberty

▪  religious freedom

▪  economic opportunity

▪  escape persecution

59.  Who lived in America before the Europeans arrived?

▪  Native Americans

60.  What group of people was taken to America and sold as slaves?

▪  people from Africans

61. Why did the colonists fight the British?

▪  because of high taxes (taxation without representation)

▪  because the British army stayed in their houses (boarding, quartering)

▪  because they didn’t have self-government

62.  Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?

▪  Thomas Jefferson

63.  When was the Declaration of Independence adopted?

▪  July 4, 1776

64.  There were 13 original states.  Name three.

▪  New Hampshire

▪  Massachusetts

▪  Rhode Island

▪  Connecticut

▪  New York

▪  New Jersey

▪  Pennsylvania

▪  Delaware

▪  Maryland

▪  Virginia

▪  North Carolina

▪  South Carolina

▪  Georgia

65.  What happened at the Constitutional Convention?

▪  The Constitution was written.

66.  When was the Constitution written?

▪  1787

67.  The Federalist Papers supported the passage of the U.S. Constitution.  Name one of the writers.

▪  James Madison

▪  Alexander Hamilton

▪  John Jay

▪  Publius

68.  What is one thing Benjamin Franklin is famous for?

▪  U.S. diplomat

▪  oldest member of the Constitutional Convention

▪  first Postmaster General of the United States

▪  writer of “Poor Richard’s Almanac”

▪  started the first free libraries

69.  Who is the “Father of Our Country”?

▪  George Washington

70. Who was the first President?

▪  George Washington

71.  What territory did the United States buy from France in 1803?

▪  Louisiana

72.  Name one war fought by the United States in the 1800s.

▪  War of 1812

▪  Mexican-American War

▪  Civil War

▪  Spanish-American War

73.  Name the U.S. war between the North and the South.

▪  the Civil War

74.  Name one problem that led to the Civil War.

▪  slavery

▪  economic reasons

▪  states’ rights

75.  What was one important thing that Abraham Lincoln did?

▪  freed the slaves (Emancipation Proclamation)

▪  saved (or preserved) the Union

▪  led the United States during the Civil War

76.  What did the Emancipation Proclamation do?

▪  freed the slaves

77.  What did Susan B. Anthony do?

▪  fought for women’s rights

78.  Name one war fought by the United States in the 1900s.

▪  World War I

▪  World War II

▪  Korean War

▪  Vietnam War

▪  Persian Gulf War

79.  Who was President during World War I?

▪  Woodrow Wilson

80.  Who was President during the Great Depression and World War II?

▪  Franklin Roosevelt

81. Who did the United States fight in World War II?

▪  Japan, Germany, and Italy

82.  Before he was President, Eisenhower was a general.  What war was he in?

▪  World War II

83.  During the Cold War, what was the main concern of the United States?

▪  Communism

84.  What movement tried to end racial discrimination?

▪  civil rights

85.  What did Martin Luther King, Jr. do?

▪  fought for civil rights

86.  What major event happened on September 11, 2001, in the United States?

▪  Terrorists attacked the United States.

87.  Name one American Indian tribe in the United States.

▪  Cherokee

▪  Navajo

▪  Sioux

▪  Chippewa

▪  Choctaw

▪  Pueblo

▪  Apache

▪  Iroquois

▪  Creek

▪  Blackfeet

▪  Seminole

▪  Cheyenne

▪  Arawak

▪  Shawnee

▪  Mohegan

▪  Huron

▪  Oneida

▪  Lakota

▪  Crow

▪  Teton

▪  Hopi

▪  Inuit

88.  Name one of the two longest rivers in the United States.

▪  Missouri River

▪  Mississippi River

89.  What ocean is on the West Coast of the United States?

▪  Pacific Ocean

90.  What ocean is on the East Coast of the United States?

▪  Atlantic Ocean

91.  Name one U.S. territory.

▪  Puerto Rico

▪  U.S. Virgin Islands

▪  American Samoa

▪  Northern Mariana Islands

▪  Guam

92.  Name one state that borders Canada.

▪  Maine

▪  New Hampshire

▪  Vermont

▪  New York

▪  Pennsylvania

▪  Ohio

▪  Michigan

▪  Minnesota

▪  North Dakota

▪  Montana

▪  Idaho

▪  Washington

▪  Alaska

93.  Name one state that borders Mexico.

▪  California

▪  Arizona

▪  New Mexico

▪  Texas

94.  What is the capitol of the United States?

▪  Washington, D.C.

95.  Where is the Statue of Liberty?

▪  New York Harbor

▪  Liberty Island

[Also acceptable are New Jersey, near New York City, and on the Hudson River.]

96. Why does the flag have            13 stripes?

▪  because there were 13 original colonies

97. Why does the flag            have            50 stars?

▪  because there are 50 states

98.  What is the name of the national anthem?

▪  The Star-Spangled Banner

99.  When do we celebrate Independence Day?

▪  July 4

100. Name two national U.S. holidays.

▪  New Year’s Day

▪  Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

▪  Presidents’ Day

▪  Memorial Day

▪  Independence Day

▪  Labor Day

▪  Columbus Day

▪  Veterans Day

▪  Thanksgiving

▪  Christmas

Test Your Knowledge Of U.S. History

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