Alumni | General Education

Word for Word/Pop Quiz; History 101: Snoop Doggy Roosevelt

NEW YORK TIMES   |  July 2, 2000 by Scott Veale

Listen up, class. We hate to spoil your holiday weekend, but an alarming new survey of  American history knowledge 2/3–released just days before Independence Day, no less 2/3–suggests that the nation is in desperate need of summer school. The report, sponsored by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, a Washington-based nonprofit group that promotes liberal arts study, posed 34 high school level questions randomly to 556 seniors at 55 leading colleges and universities, including Harvard, Princeton and Brown.

Only one student answered all the questions correctly, and the average score was a sobering 53 percent –even with a couple of gimmes about cartoon characters and rap stars tossed in. But maybe it’s not too surprising: according to the survey, none of the schools examined require American history courses for graduation.

So put down those tube steaks and sharpen your pencils. It’s time to match wits with tomorrow’s leaders.

1. When was the Civil War? 
a. 1750-1800 
b. 1800-1850 
c. 1850-1900 
d. 1900-1950 
e. after 1950 

2. Who said Give me liberty or give me death?” 
a. John Hancock 
b. James Madison 
c. Patrick Henry 
d. Samuel Adams 

3. What is the Magna Carta? 
a. The foundation of the British parliamentary system 
b. The Great Seal of the monarchs of England 
c. The French Declaration of the Rights of Man 
d. The charter signed by the Pilgrims on the Mayflower 

4. The term Reconstruction refers to: 
a. Payment of European countries’ debts to the United States after the First World War 
b. Repairing of the physical damage caused by the Civil War 
c. Readmission of the Confederate states and the protection of the rights of black citizens 
d. Rebuilding of the transcontinental railroad and the canal system 

5. Are Beavis and Butthead . . . 
a. A radio show 
b. Television cartoon characters 
c. A musical group 
d. Fictional soldiers 

6. The Scopes trial was about: 
a. Freedom of the press 
b. Teaching evolution in the schools 
c. Prayer in the schools 
d. Education in private schools 

7. The Emancipation Proclamation issued by Lincoln stated that: 
a. Slaves were free in areas of the Confederate states not held by the Union 
b. The slave trade was illegal 
c. Slaves who fled to Canada would be protected 
d. Slavery was abolished in the Union 

8. The purpose of the authors of the Federalist Papers was to: 
a. Establish a strong, free press in the colonies 
b. Confirm George Washington’s election as the first president 
c. Win foreign approval for the Revolutionary War 
d. Gain ratification of the U.S. Constitution 

9. Sputnik was the name given to the first: 
a. Telecommunications system 
b. Animal to travel into space 
c. Hydrogen bomb 
d. Man-made satellite 

10. The Missouri Compromise was the act that: 
a. Funded the Lewis and Clark expedition on the upper Missouri River 
b. Granted statehood to Missouri but denied the admission of any other states 
c. Settled the boundary dispute between Missouri and Kansas 
d. Admitted Maine into the Union as a free state and Missouri as a slave state 

11. Which document established the division of powers between the states and the federal
a. The Marshall Plan 
b. The Constitution 
c. The Declaration of Independence 
d. The Articles of Confederation 

12. When was Thomas Jefferson president? 
a. 1780-1800 
b. 1800-1820 
c. 1820-1840 
d. 1840-1860 
e. 1860-1880 

13. What was the lowest point in American fortunes in the Revolutionary War? 
a. Saratoga 
b. Bunker Hill 
c. Valley Forge 
d. Fort Ticonderoga 

14. In his farewell address, President George Washington warned against the danger of: 
a. Expanding into territories beyond the Appalachian Mountains 
b. Having war with Spain over Mexico 
c. Entering into permanent alliances with foreign governments 
d. Building a standing army and strong navy 

15. The Monroe Doctrine declared that: 
a. The American blockade of Cuba was in accord with international law 
b. Europe should not acquire new territories in Western Hemisphere 
c. Trade with China should be open to all Western nations 
d. The annexation of the Philippines was legitimate 

16. Who was the European who traveled in the United States and wrote down perceptive
comments about what he saw in Democracy in America? 
a. Lafayette 
b. Tocqueville 
c. Crevecoeur 
d. Napoleon

17. Identify Snoop Doggy Dog. 
a. A rap singer 
b. Cartoon by Charles Schultz 
c. A mystery series 
d. A jazz pianist 

18. Abraham Lincoln was president between: 
a. 1780-1800 
b. 1800-1820 
c. 1820-1840 
d. 1840-1860 
e. 1860-1880 

19. Who was the American general at Yorktown? 
a. William T. Sherman 
b. Ulysses S. Grant 
c. Douglas McArthur 
d. George Washington 

20. John Marshall was the author of: 
a. Roe v. Wade 
b. Dred Scott v. Kansas 
c. Marbury v. Madison 
d. Brown v. Board of Education 

21. Who was the Father of the Constitution? 
a. George Washington 
b. Thomas Jefferson 
c. Benjamin Franklin 
d. James Madison 

22. Who said, I regret that I have only one life to give for my country? 
a. John F. Kennedy 
b. Benedict Arnold 
c. John Brown 
d. Nathan Hale 

23. What was the source of the following phrase: Government of the people, by the people,
for the people? 
a. The speech: I have a Dream 
b. Declaration of Independence 
c. U.S. Constitution 
d. Gettysburg Address 

24. Who was the second president of the U.S.? 
a. Thomas Jefferson 
b. James Madison 
c. John Adams 
d. Benjamin Franklin 

25. Who was president when the U.S. purchased the Panama Canal? 
a. Theodore Roosevelt 
b. Jimmy Carter 
c. Franklin D. Roosevelt 
d. Woodrow Wilson 

26. Who was the leading advocate for the U.S. entry into the League of Nations? 
a. George C. Marshall 
b. Woodrow Wilson 
c. Henry Cabot Lodge 
d. Eleanor Roosevelt 

27. Who said, Speak softly but carry a big stick? 
a. William T. Sherman 
b. Sitting Bull 
c. John D. Rockefeller 
d. Theodore Roosevelt 

28. The Battle of the Bulge occurred during: 
a. The Vietnam War 
b. World War II 
c. World War I 
d. The Civil War 

29. Which of the following was a prominent leader of the Abolitionist Movement? 
a. Malcolm X 
b. Martin Luther King Jr. 
c. W.E.B. Du Bois 
d. Frederick Douglass 

30. Who was the president of the United States at the beginning of the Korean War? 
a. John F. Kennedy 
b. Franklin D. Roosevelt 
c. Dwight Eisenhower 
d. Harry Truman 

31. When the United States entered World War II, which two major nations were allied with Germany? 
a. Italy and Japan 
b. Italy and Poland 
c. Italy and Russia 
d. Russia and Japan 

32. Social legislation passed under President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society program
a. The Sherman Antitrust Act 
b. The Voting Rights Act 
c. The Tennessee Valley Authority 
d. The Civilian Conservation Corps 

33. Who was First in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen? 
a. George Washington 
b. Woodrow Wilson 
c. Dwight Eisenhower 
d. Abraham Lincoln 

34. Who was the leader of the Soviet Union when the United States entered World War II? 
a. Peter Ustinov 
b. Nikita Khrushchev 
c. Marshal Tito 
d. Joseph Stalin 

(The study was based on telephone interviews conducted by the Center for Survey Research and Analysis at the University of Connecticut in December 1999. The answers follow, along with the percentage of respondents who answered correctly.) 

1.C/60; 2.C/66; 3.A/56; 4.C/29; 5.B/99; 6.B/61; 7.A/26; 8.D/53; 9.D/89; 10.D/52; 11.B/60; 12. B/45; 13.C/38; 14.C/52; 15.B/62; 16.B/49; 17. A/98; 18.E/44; 19.D/34; 20.C/33; 21.D/23; 22. D/40; 23.D/22; 24.C/73; 25.A/53; 26.B/69; 27.D/70; 28.B/37; 29.D/73; 30.D/35; 31.A/67; 32. B/30; 33.A/42; 34.D/72


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