Declaration of Independence Quiz

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Declaration of Independence Quiz

This is a 20-question quiz that could be used at the start of a unit on the Revolutionary War to gauge previous knowledge and understanding or as an end of the unit review before test or quiz.

It is an on-line quiz that provides immediate feedback. The answers are included below so if you want to test your knowledge first, please click Declaration of Independence Quiz!

1. WHEN DID THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS ACTUALLY PASS A RESOLUTION OF INDEPENDENCE?

A          JULY 1

B          JULY 2

C          JULY 3

D          JULY 4

Detailed Explanation: The correct answer is “B” – July 2. On July 2nd, the Continental Congress officially voted to declare independence from Great Britain. Many, including John Adams, thought July 2 would be the date celebrated as America’s birthday. The final wording of the formal Declaration of Independence was approved on July 4, 1776, so that is the date that has traditionally been celebrated instead.

2. WHO WAS THE MAIN AUTHOR OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE?

A          JOHN ADAMS

B          BENJAMIN FRANKLIN

C          THOMAS JEFFERSON

D          JAMES MADISON

Detailed Explanation: The correct answer is “C” – Thomas Jefferson. Congress appointed a committee to write the Declaration, but the committee asked Jefferson to write the first complete draft.

3. WHO WAS ON THE COMMITTEE TO DRAFT THE DECLARATION?

A          FRANKLIN, JEFFERSON, SHERMAN AND WASHINGTON

B          HAMILTON, HANCOCK, AND LIVINGSTON

C          ADAMS, FRANKLIN, JEFFERSON, LIVINGSTON AND SHERMAN

D          FRANKLIN, JEFFERSON, MADISON AND WASHINGTON

Detailed Explanation: The correct answer is “C” – Adams, Franklin, Jefferson, Livingston, and Sherman. John Adams, Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Robert Livingston of New York, and Roger Sherman of Connecticut were all on the committee.

4. WHY DID ADAMS ASK JEFFERSON, THE YOUNGEST ON THE COMMITTEE, TO DRAFT A DECLARATION?

A          JEFFERSON HAD A REPUTATION AS AN ELOQUENT WRITER

B          ADAMS HIMSELF WAS UNPOPULAR AND HAD TO KEEP A LOW PROFILE

C          JEFFERSON WAS THE SMARTEST MAN ON THE COMMITTEE

D          BOTH A AND B

Detailed Explanation: The correct answer is “D” – Both A and B. At first, the committee asked Adams and Jefferson to write the first draft together. Instead, Adams asked Jefferson to write the first draft alone because of Jefferson’s reputation as a good writer. Also, Adams knew that he himself was unpopular and felt the declaration might be more easily accepted by the rest of the Continental Congress if he kept a lower profile.

5. WHICH DID CONGRESS CUT OUT OF JEFFERSON’S DRAFT OF THE DECLARATION?

A          ALL REFERENCES TO SLAVERY

B          SOME REFERENCES TO WOMEN

C          A PARAGRAPH WRITTEN IN LATIN

D          ALL REFERENCES TO RELIGION

Detailed Explanation: The correct answer is “A” – All references to slavery. The Congress made 86 changes, which eliminated 480 of Jefferson’s words. They removed all references to slavery, “the execrable commerce.” Jefferson, a slaveholder himself, had criticized Britain’s role in the slave trade in his original draft.

6. WHICH TWO KEY PLAYERS IN THE HISTORY OF THE DECLARATION DIED ON ITS 50TH ANNIVERSARY?

A          THOMAS JEFFERSON AND JOHN HANCOCK

B          GEORGE WASHINGTON AND JOHN ADAMS

C          THOMAS JEFFERSON AND JOHN ADAMS

D          BENJAMIN FRANKLIN AND JOHN ADAMS

Detailed Explanation: The correct answer “C” – Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both died within hours of each other on July 4, 1826, fifty years after the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776.

7. AT WHAT MEETING DID DELEGATES ADOPT THE FINAL DRAFT OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE?

A          THE FIRST CONTINENTAL CONGRESS

B          THE SECOND CONTINENTAL CONGRESS

C          THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION

D          THE BOSTON TEA PARTY

Detailed Explanation: The correct answer is “B” – The Second Continental Congress. The second Congress managed the colonial war effort and moved slowly towards independence. They formally adopted the final draft of the United States Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

8. WHO WAS KING OF GREAT BRITAIN AT THE TIME THE COLONIES ADOPTED THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE?

A          GEORGE III

B          ELIZABETH II

C          JAMES I

D          QUEEN VICTORIA

Detailed Explanation: The correct answer is “A” – George III. George III was King of Great Britain from 1760 until his death in 1820.

9. HOW MANY PEOPLE SIGNED THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE?

A.         13

B          26

C          34

D          56

Detailed Explanation: The correct answer is “D” – 56. Although 56 people eventually signed the Declaration of Independence, some of them signed after the official signing ceremony. Some of the late signers included Elbridge Gerry, Oliver Wolcott, Lewis Morris, Thomas McKean and Matthew Thornton.

10. WHERE IS THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE DISPLAYED?

A          ASSEMBLY ROOM OF THE PENNSYLVANIA STATE HOUSE IN PHILADELPHIA

B          LIBRARY OF CONGRESS BUILDING IN WASHINGTON, D.C.

C          NATIONAL ARCHIVES BUILDING IN WASHINGTON, D.C.

D          LIBERTY HALL IN PHILADELPHIA

Detailed Explanation: The correct answer is “C” – National Archives Building in Washington, D.C. The National Archives is an independent agency of the United States government charged with preserving and documenting government and historical records and with increasing public access to those documents. The “engrossed” copy of the Declaration that was signed on August 2, 1776, was moved there in 1952.

11. WHICH OF THE FOLLOWING IS NOT INCLUDED IN THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE?

A          A PREAMBLE

B          A DECLARATION OF RIGHTS

C          A BILL OF INDICTMENT

D          ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION

Detailed Explanation: The correct answer is “D” – Articles of Confederation. The Declaration did not include any articles of confederation. The Articles of Confederation, the first constitution of the United States, wasn’t ratified until 1781, five years after the Declaration of Independence was issued.

12. WHICH MEMBER OF THE COMMITTEE WHO WROTE THE DECLARATION REFUSED TO SIGN IT?

A          THOMAS JEFFERSON

B          JOHN ADAMS

C          ROBERT LIVINGSTON

D          ROGER SHERMAN

Detailed Explanation: The correct answer is “C” – Robert Livingston. Robert Livingston of New York was a member of the committee, along with Jefferson, Adams, Sherman and Franklin. In the end, Livingston refused to sign the Declaration of Independence because he believed it was too early to take such action.

13. WHO WERE THE YOUNGEST SIGNERS OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE?

A          EDWARD RUTLEDGE AND THOMAS LYNCH, JR.

B          THOMAS JEFFERSON AND ROGER SHERMAN

C          BENJAMIN HARRISON AND JOHN HANCOCK

D          WILLIAM HOOPER AND ALEXANDER HAMILTON

Detailed Explanation: The correct answer is “A” – Edward Rutledge and Thomas Lynch, Jr. Both Rutledge and Lynch were representing South Carolina and were only 26 when they signed the Declaration of Independence.

14. WHAT WAS THE NAME OF THE RESOLUTION PASSED ON JULY 2ND DECLARING INDEPENDENCE?

A          THE LEE RESOLUTION

B          THE INDEPENDENCE RESOLUTION

C          THE JEFFERSON RESOLUTION

D          THE DELIVERANCE RESOLUTION

Detailed Explanation: The correct answer is “A” – The Lee Resolution. The resolution to declare independence from Great Britain was proposed by Richard Henry Lee on June 7, 1776, so it was called the Lee Resolution. It was formally adopted by the Continental Congress on July 2, 1776.

15. WHO WAS NOT A MEMBER OF THE COMMITTEE WHO WROTE THE DECLARATION?

A          BENJAMIN FRANKLIN

B          JAMES MADISON

C          JOHN ADAMS

D          ROBERT LIVINGSTON

Detailed Explanation: The correct answer is “B” – James Madison. Madison eventually was the author of the first draft of the Constitution, but he was not one of the authors of the Declaration of Independence or a member of the committee who wrote the Declaration. The committee members were John Adams, Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Robert Livingston and Roger Sherman.

16. HOW MANY GRIEVANCES WERE LISTED IN THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE?

A          10

B          27

C          50

D          95

Detailed Explanation: The correct answer is “B” – 27. The grievances were specifically about King George III of Britain. Many of the grievances described government actions which the Bill of Rights would later prohibit the new American government from performing, such as “quartering large Bodies of Armed Troops among us” and “depriving us, in many Cases, of the Benefits of Trial by Jury.”

17. ACCORDING TO THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, WHERE DOES GOVERNMENT GET ITS POWER?

A          FROM ITS CONSTITUTION

B          FROM ITS MILITARY

C          FROM THE ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES

D          FROM THE CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED

Detailed Explanation: The correct answer is “D” – From the consent of the governed. Philosopher John Locke’s ideas were an important influence on the Declaration. Jefferson restated Locke’s contract theory of government in the Declaration when he wrote that governments derive “their just Powers from the consent of the people.”

18. MOST OF THE SIGNERS ACTUALLY SIGNED THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE ON WHAT DATE?

A          JULY 2

B          JULY 4

C          AUGUST 2

D          AUGUST 6

Detailed Explanation: The correct answer is “C” – August 2. Independence was declared on July 2 and the Declaration was formally adopted on July 4, but it was not signed until August 2, 1776.

19. WHICH SIGNERS OF THE DECLARATION WOULD LATER BE ELECTED PRESIDENT?

A          JOHN ADAMS AND JOHN HANCOCK

B          JOHN ADAMS AND THOMAS JEFFERSON

C          BENJAMIN FRANKLIN AND THOMAS JEFFERSON

D          THOMAS JEFFERSON AND JAMES MADISON

Detailed Explanation: The correct answer is “B” – John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were the second and third presidents, respectively, and they both signed the Declaration. Neither John Hancock nor Benjamin Franklin served as President. James Madison was the fourth president, but he was not one of the signers of the Declaration.

20. WHAT IS WRITTEN ON THE BACK OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE?

A          THERE IS NOTHING WRITTEN ON THE BACK

B          THERE IS A SECRET TREASURE MAP ON THE BACK

C          ORIGINAL DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, DATED 4TH JULY      1776

D          AMERICAN HISTORY DOCUMENT, DRAWER 4

Detailed Explanation: The correct answer is “C” – Original Declaration of Independence/ dated 4th July 1776. No one knows who wrote this on the back of the Declaration, but it is believed that it might have been written as a label when the document was being stored rolled up.

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