I never give tests or quizzes in my class–I make them write a number of papers–but I gave this quiz to my class today to make a point about what our history textbooks are leaving out and how they as future teachers must do their best to represent a richer version of our past that includes the stories of all races, genders, religions, etc. and the good and the bad of our past actions. Don’t worry I didn’t grade my students, and i won’t grade you! Answers are at the bottom of the page. Good luck!



1. Circle all that are true about the life of Helen Keller.

            A. She was deaf and blind and learned to read and write.

            B. She was a radical socialist activist.

            C. She was an animal behaviorist.

            D. She graduated college.


2. Who was the first person to send slaves across the Atlantic Ocean?


3. Where was the first, non-native, United States settlement?


4. Circle all that are true about President Woodrow Wilson.

            A. He led the United States into WWI.

            B. He was an outspoken white supremacist.

            C. He invaded six Latin American countries during his presidency.

D. He led the struggle to create the League of Nations, the precursor to today’s United Nations.


5. Of the 102 settlers aboard the Mayflower, how many were Pilgrims?

            A. 102                                                                         B. 97

            C. 75                                                               D. 35

            E. 0


6. Who discovered America?


7. What political party referred to itself as the ‘white man’s’ party for nearly century?


8. What was Columbus’s main purpose in setting sail in 1492?


9. True or False, when Columbus set sail most Europeans thought the world was flat.


10. True or False, Columbus died poor, not knowing what he had ‘discovered’?


11. Over what legislation did Senators carryout the longest filibuster in U.S. history?


12. What was the first colony to legalize slavery?


13. What countries fought in the Vietnam War?


14. How many of Thomas Jefferson’s 267 slaves, did he set free upon his death?

            A. all of them                                                    B. 150

            C. 5                                                                 D. None of them

15. Which of these is not true of the United States? Circle all that apply.

            A. We were the first country into outer space.

            B. We played a role in bringing down the elected government of Chile in 1973.

            C. We rigged the 1957 election in Lebanon, which entrenched the Christians on top and led to the Muslim revolt and civil war the next year.

            D. We played a role in bringing down the elected government of Guatemala in 1954.



1. A,B,C

2. Columbus

3. In 1526, 500 Spaniards and 100 black slaves founded a town perhaps near the mouth of the Pee Dee River in South Carolina. (Not Jamestown or even St. Augustine)

4. A,B,C,D

5. D

6. Let us imagine all of the possibilities, starting with the first ‘Native Americans’ who came over on the ice bridge that existed between Russia and Alaska (70000 BC-12000 BC) to the Vikings (1000 AD) to about thirteen other possibilities, all of which predate Columbus in 1492.

7. The Democrats

8. GOLD!

9. False

10. False

11. Senators mounted the longest filibuster in U.S. history (more than 534 hours!) to oppose the 1964 Civil Rights bill.

12. Massachusetts

13. Vietnam (North and South) and the U.S.

14. 5–all blood relatives

15. A


How did you do?

If you want to find out more check out the wonderful book, Lies My Teacher Told Me, by James Loewen.