Oh, Say Did You Know?
Freedom, liberty and independence are the bedrock themes celebrated every year at this time, when millions of Americans roll out barbecues, unfurl flags or light up sparklers to mark the national holiday.
But even if your idea of liberty is ordering takeout chicken instead of shucking corn on the cob, most everybody flashes a bit of patriotism on July 4, a celebration of that time 223 years ago when 13 maverick colonies declared independence from British rule.
In case the conversation turns to Independence Day trivia, you might want to refresh yourself on subjects including the actual day the Declaration was signed, and a few that say nothing about America’s founding but speak fondly of Americana.
And so as you prepare for the weekend symphony of lawn mowers or Jet Skis or cable television marathons, take a shot at our Independence Day quiz, a wide-ranging brush-up on traditional--and nontraditional--historical items.
1. Who warned the American colonists, “The British are coming!”?
A. William Dawes, a cobbler.
B. Paul Revere, a silversmith.
C. Samuel Prescott, a doctor.
D. All of the above.
2. Where did the Battle of Bunker Hill, which was the first major engagement of the Revolution and which cost the British many troops, take place?
A. Bunker Hill.
B. Breed’s Hill.
C. Phantom Hill.
D. Nob Hill.
3. On what date was the Declaration of Independence signed by assembled delegates of the Continental Congress?
A. July 4, 1776.
B. July 15, 1776.
C. Aug. 2, 1776.
D. April 1, 1776.
4. So what historical event did occur on July 4?
A. The staging of the Boston Tea Party.
B. The founding of the Grand Old Party.
C. The adoption of the Declaration of Independence (a draft version of which was signed that day only by Congress Secretary Charles Johnson and Congress President John Hancock).
D. The approval of the U.S. Constitution.
5. “A little rebellion now and then is a good thing” was said by whom?
A. Thomas Jefferson.
B. Abbie Hoffman.
C. Marlon Brando.
D. Dr. Benjamin Spock.
6. Speaking of the independent-minded, name the independent label in Memphis for which American legends Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins all made their first recordings.
A. Crown Records.
B. Phillips Records.
C. Imperial Records.
D. Sun Records.
7. During the siege of Vicksburg in the Civil War, the Confederates took a beating in order to surrender on July 4. Why?
A. They had run out of ammunition.
B. They thought the symbolism would be most powerful.
C. They hoped Union generals would be more merciful.
D. Under protest, they surrendered only at Gen. Robert E. Lee’s orders
8. Two American heroes who played essential roles in the Declaration of Independence died on the same day. Name them and the date.
A. John Quincy Adams and Thomas Paine, Dec. 25, 1820.
B. John Hancock and Thomas Jefferson, May 31, 1819.
C. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, July 4, 1826.
D. Benjamin Franklin and Alexander Hamilton, Feb. 15, 1796.
9. Who is considered the principal author of the Declaration of Independence?
A. Thomas Jefferson.
B. Benjamin Franklin.
C. John Hancock.
D. All of the above.
10. Who is reputed to have said, “Shoot if you must this old gray head, but spare your country’s flag”?
A. Andrew Jackson.
B. Barbara Fritchie.
C. Betty Friedan.
D. Jerry Garcia.
11. What did the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 do?
A. Freed the colonies from British rule.
B. Freed slaves and granted them two years’ back wages.
C. Freed slaves (although delayed by the Civil War).
D. None of the above.
12. The first woman to run for president of the United States was a spiritualist and free-love advocate whose name was:
A. Victoria Woodhull, suffragist whose running mate was Frederick Douglass.
B. Susan B. Anthony, suffragist and key figure fighting for a woman’s right to vote.
C. Betsy Ross, seamstress thought to have sewn America’s first flag.
D. Xaviera Hollander, controversial author.
13. Moving from free love to free press, which American president established the first presidential press secretary?
A. John F. Kennedy.
B. Richard M. Nixon.
C. Harry S. Truman.
D. Calvin Coolidge.
14. Who said, “It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress”?
A. Mark Twain.
B. Will Rogers.
C. Ronald Reagan.
D. Ralph Nader.
15. Women’s rights activists staging a demonstration at the 1968 Miss America pageant did which of the following as a political statement about liberation:
A. Burned their bras.
B. Banged pots and pans during the swimsuit competition.
C. Dropped their bras in a trash can.
D. Blew on kazoos during the talent portion.
16. On the subject of liberation, which baseball player fought successfully for and then played under free agent status, which allowed him to negotiate with any team he chose, and what year?
A. Curt Flood, 1969.
B. Bill Campbell, 1976.
C. Andy Messersmith, 1976.
D. Dave McNally, 1972.
17. On a musical maverick note, which performer’s rendition of the “Star-Spangled Banner” caused controversy at the 1968 World Series and why?
A. Jose Feliciano (too soulful).
B. Jimi Hendrix (drug slang inserted for “rockets’ red glare”).
B. Marvin Gaye (gave it a good dance beat).
D. Roseanne (disrespectfully off-key).
18. In a 1963 episode of “The Andy Griffith Show,” what did Sheriff Andy’s deputy, Barney Fife, claim to know by heart but in fact could not remember a word of?
A. The Mayberry municipal code.
B. The deputies’ oath of office.
C. The preamble to the Constitution.
D. Aunt Bee’s recipe for rhubarb pie.
* Bonus question: “The Andy Griffith Show” was which counterculture icon’s favorite TV program?
19. Why did a massive boulder outside Casper, Wyo., earn the name Independence Rock?
A. Because it is painted red, white and blue.
B. Because the country’s first known July 4 celebration took place there.
C. Because it was the backdrop for Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” video.
D. Because travelers on the Overland Trail needed to reach the rock by July 4 to assure passage to California or Oregon before the heavy snowfall.
20. What historical figure said this? “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There never was a democracy that did not commit suicide.”
A. John Adams.
B. John Lennon.
C. Marie Antoinette.
D. Karl Marx.
ANSWERS: 1-D; 2-B; 3-C; 4-C; 5-A; 6-D; 7-C; 8-C; 9-A; 10-B; 11-C; 12-A; 13-D; 14-A; 15-C; 16-C; 17-A; 18-C; bonus answer: Jimi Hendrix; 19-D; 20-A
Nancy Wride can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.
Sources: Chase’s 1999 Calendar of Events; Los Angeles Times, Newsday and other newspaper publications; World Book Encyclopedia; Encyclopedia Britannica; Encyclopedia American; “Fabulous Fallacies: More Than 300 Popular Beliefs That Are Not True” by Tad Tuleja (Harmony Books, 1982); Almanac of Famous People; “The Civil War” by Shelby Foote (Vintage Books, 1986); Patricia Nelson Limerick, professor of history and chairwoman of the Center of the American West at the University of Colorado at Boulder; “Feminist Chronicles 1953-1993" by Toni Carabillo (self-published, 1993), Judith Meuli and June Bundy Csida (self-published); “Total Baseball,” by John Thorn and Pete Palmer (Total Sports, 1989); “Remembering Slavery, African Americans Talk About Their Personal Experiences of Slavery and Emancipation,” edited by Ira Berlin, Marc Favreau and Steven F. Miller (The New Press, 1998); “Inside Mayberry: ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Handbook,” by Dan Harrison and Bill Habeeb (HarperCollins, 1984); “My Son Jimi,” by Al Hendrix (AlJas Publishing, 1999).