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A bit of July Fourth trivia for all you Yankee Doodle Dandies

Just in time for the Fourth of July, the American flag waves atop a newly installed flagpole at Tina Barritt’s North Side home. COLIN MULVANY (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Just in time for the Fourth of July, the American flag waves atop a newly installed flagpole at Tina Barritt’s North Side home. COLIN MULVANY (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

So, you consider yourself a good American, a true patriot who dons star-spangled underwear, says “red, white and blue” when asked for your favorite color and knows that a Minuteman is more than a person who can make it to the refrigerator, open a beer and be back in front of the TV during a timeout in a Zags game without missing a play.

For all people so inspired, Spin Control presents its annual July Fourth All American Trivia Quiz of 13 questions, one for each of the original colonies. Some are pretty easy, some may help you stump your friends at today’s barbecue.

1. When we set off fireworks to celebrate Independence Day, we are following a practice that originated in what country?

A. England

B. France

C. Germany

D. China

2. Who wrote the Declaration of Independence, the document which all the politicians will be extolling today, even if it seems unlikely they’ve ever read it?

A. Alexander Hamilton

B. John Adams

C. Thomas Jefferson

D. Ben Franklin

3. Which of the following was not one of the original 13 colonies?

A. Rhode Island

B. Georgia

C. Connecticut

D. Vermont

4. The declaration was ratified on July 4, 1776. What day did the Continental Congress vote to declare independence from Great Britain?

A. July 1

B. July 2

C. July 3

D. July 4

5. Of the following, who signed both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution?

A. Alexander Hamilton

B. George Washington

C. Thomas Jefferson

D. Ben Franklin

6. Which of these lines is not in the declaration?

A. When in the course of human events…

B. We the People of the United States…

C. We hold these truths to be self-evident…

D. We mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

7. When the Continental Congress voted for independence from Great Britain, each colony had one vote. How many delegations voted yes?

A. 7

B. 10

C. 12

D. 13

8. What treaty formally ended the American Revolution?

A. The Treaty of Paris

B. The Treaty of Westphalia

C. The Treaty of Versailles

D. The Treaty of London

9. John Jay was among the Founding Fathers who negotiated the treaty to end the Revolution. What position did he later hold in the new nation?

A. Vice President

B. Speaker of the House

C. Chief Justice of the Supreme Court

D. Treasury Secretary

10. In the years immediately after the Revolution but before the Constitution was ratified, what did the new country use to set up its government?

A. The Declaration of Independence

B. The Articles of Confederation

C. The Emancipation Proclamation

D. The Magna Carta

11. What was the configuration of the “Star-Spangled Banner” that flew over Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore in 1814 and inspired Francis Scott Key?

A. 13 stars, 13 stripes

B. 15 stars, 13 stripes

C. 15 stars, 15 stripes

D. 16 stars, 16 stripes

12. Without peeking, how many stars would you have if you added together the top two rows on your 50-star flag?

A. 10

B. 11

C. 12

D. 13

13. In the U.S. Constitution as originally written, how were slaves to be counted for figuring the number of representatives each state would have?

A. One-fourth of a person

B. One-half of a person

C. Three-fifths of a person

D. Two-thirds of a person


1. D. Fireworks date back to the discovery of gunpowder in ancient China, where they were used to mark important events.

2. C. Jefferson wrote the final version because he was considered the best writer of a group chosen to draft it, which included Franklin and Adams.

3. D. Vermont was originally territory that was claimed by both New York and New Hampshire. For a brief period, it declared itself an independent republic.

4. B. The vote for independence occurred on July 2; ratification came two days later, and that’s the date at the top of the declaration.

5. D. Franklin signed both. Washington was leading the Army, and Hamilton was serving in it in 1776, but both were at the Constitutional Convention in 1787. Jefferson was in France in 1787.

6. B. That’s the opening line to the Constitution.

7. C. The New York delegation abstained, waiting for authorization from their provincial congress, which came later in the month. and the New York delegates signed the declaration.

8. A. The British, the Americans and their allies all gathered in Paris.

9. C. Jay was the first chief justice of the Supreme Court, from 1789 to 1795. It wasn’t a very strenuous job, the court ruled on only a handful of cases over six years.

10. B. The Articles of Confederation, which set up a weaker federal government, eventually proved unworkable.

11. C. By that time, Vermont and Kentucky had become states, and Congress added both stars and stripes for each. Eventually they realized that was going to make an unwieldy flag, so they went back to 13 stripes, and just added stars.

12. B. A 50-star flag has alternating rows of six stars and five stars.

13. C. As part of a compromise between Northern and Southern states, slaves had no rights but were counted in the census as three-fifths of a person for awarding House seats.


0-3: Might have to turn in your American flag lapel pin.

4-6: Could’ve paid more attention in American History class.

7-10: Might pass the test to become a naturalized citizen.

11-13: George Washington would be proud.

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