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10 Questions That Are Surprisingly Hard To Answer About American History

“One, two, three, four, JFK!”

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  1. Which event do we celebrate during the 4th of July?
    Correct
    Incorrect
    The ratification of the Constitution
    Correct
    Incorrect
    The signing of the Declaration of Independence
    Correct
    Incorrect
    The crossing of the Delaware River
    Correct
    Incorrect
    The anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    The signing of the Declaration of Independence

    While Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams all wrote that the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776, subsequent research has led some historians to believe that August 2 is the actual signing date. Most signatories wouldn't have even been members of Congress on July 4, technically.

  2. Which president was said to have been too honest to lie to his father about chopping down a cherry tree? 
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Abraham Lincoln
    Correct
    Incorrect
    James Monroe
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Thomas Jefferson
    Correct
    Incorrect
    George Washington
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    George Washington

    In an ironic twist, one of Washington’s first biographers, Mason Locke Weems, invented the story of Washington chopping down a cherry tree to valorize his honesty. The cherry tree myth wasn’t added until the book’s fifth edition was published. Abraham Lincoln earned the nickname "Honest Abe," just not because he ever chopped down any cherry trees.

  3. Why did the pilgrims come to America? 
    Correct
    Incorrect
    To search for religious freedom
    Correct
    Incorrect
    To own more property than they would in Europe
    Correct
    Incorrect
    To learn new farming techniques
    Correct
    Incorrect
    To meet new people
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    To search for religious freedom

    The Pilgrims left England because of religious persecution, but landed in Holland before making their way to America. They left Holland because they wanted to maintain their English identities and pursue better job opportunities.

  4. Who rode on horseback to warn the Minutemen that the British were coming during the Revolutionary War? 
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Thomas Paine
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Paul Revere
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Nathan Hale
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Paul Revere

    Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s 1860 poem “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere” immortalized Revere as a Patriot hero for his ride through Massachusetts, but he left out a couple of details. Revere’s ride was part of an established network the Sons of Liberty had set up to spread information. He never even made it to Concord and was temporarily detained by the British.

  5. Who is credited with the original American flag design? 
    Correct
    Incorrect
    George Washington
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Abigail Adams
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Betsy Ross
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Thomas Jefferson
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Betsy Ross

    The story of Betsy Ross's creation began to circulate when her grandson, William Canby, told the Historical Society of Pennsylvania that George Washington had commissioned her to create the flag. However, historians have found there’s little evidence to back up this claim.

  6. How many colonies were there, originally?
    Correct
    Incorrect
    11
    Correct
    Incorrect
    13
    Correct
    Incorrect
    50
    Correct
    Incorrect
    52
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    13

    Well, sorta. Delaware was considered “The Lower Counties of Pennsylvania,” meaning that there were 12 colonies instead of 13.

  7. Which American inventor is widely credited with inventing the lightbulb? 
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Benjamin Franklin
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Thomas Edison
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Jethro Tull
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Eli Whitney
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Thomas Edison

    Thomas Edison would accumulate 1,093 patents in his life, but he considered his greatest invention to be the light bulb. While light bulbs were already in use on a street-wide level, he was the first person to figure out a safe way to light the home.

  8. Which of these prompted the Boston Tea Party?
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Tea Act
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Coercive Acts
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Stamp Act
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Tine Act
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Tea Act of 1772

    New York, Charleston, and Philadelphia refused shipments of tea, as the act made it possible for the British East India Company to undersell to colonial merchants. Boston’s mayor accepted the shipments, so instead Sam Adams and the Sons of Liberty dumped 342 chests of tea into the harbor. They were dressed, regrettably, as Native Americans.

  9. Which famous traitor defected from the Continental Army to help the British in 1780?
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Joseph Reed
    Correct
    Incorrect
    John Burgoyne
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Edward Shippen
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Benedict Arnold
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Initial events, like the Boston Massacre, spurred many patriots into action. Arnold himself was said to have declared, “Good God, are the Americans all asleep and tamely giving up their glorious liberties?” upon hearing of the British shooting. But by 1776 many colonies had to work hard to recruit members for the Continental Army. Arnold ended up turning traitor due to personal, political, and financial reasons.

  10. Who is said to have discovered electricity when his kite was struck by lightning? 
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Nikola Tesla
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Alessandro Volta
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Benjamin Franklin
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Georg Wilhelm Richmann
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Benjamin Franklin

    Many experts now agree that, had lightning actually struck Franklin’s kite, he wouldn’t have lived to tell the tale. (In fact, that's what happened to Georg Wilhelm Richmann when he tried to reproduce the experiment.) Electricity was a known concept, used mostly for magic tricks, before Franklin’s famous experiment in 1752.

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