Did you pay attention in history class

March 24, 2006|by LISA PREJEAN

Imagine yourself in a trivia contest. The topic is U.S. history. It's your turn. The team's counting on a correct response to this clue:

This early document had two weaknesses. The government could not collect taxes and it had no power to settle disagreements between states.

What is the name of the document?

The wheels start turning, you reach back in the recesses of your mind, and the names of documents flash before your eyes.

Magna Carta? Treaty of Paris? Declaration of Independence? U.S. Constitution?

Then the irony of the clue makes you smile. Being unable to collect taxes was a weakness? If only the state of Maryland shared that sentiment on our property taxes. July will be here before we know it, tax bills will come, and gas prices probably will go even higher this summer with people traveling ... Oh. The contest judges are waiting for an answer, aren't they?


What would your response be?

If it's the Articles of Confederation, congratulations. You did pay attention in history class. Good for you!

Don't be too hard on yourself if your response was incorrect. After all, how many years has it been since you learned early American history? Some things stick. Some things don't.

There are a few things that all Americans should review from time to time. It's good to remember where we've been so we can evaluate where we're going.

Here are some things we've been learning and reviewing in fifth grade over the last couple of weeks. See how well you can do on this little quiz.


1. French and English claims to land along this river led to the French and Indian War.

2. Representation in this political body was an important English right that was denied to the colonists.

3. People who wanted America to be free from English rule were called this.

4. What was the name of the act that required a stamp or seal to be affixed to every document in the colonies?

5. The British eventually dropped all taxes on the colonists except for a tax on this beverage.

6. Who was the Massachusetts patriot who rode from Boston to warn the colonists at Lexington that the British were coming?

7. Name the Virginia patriot who said, "Give me liberty or give me death!"

8. Which battle showed the British that untrained Americans could fight?

9. Name the patriot who said, "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country."

10. This agreement signed by England gave the colonies their freedom.

11. He wrote the Declaration of Independence.

12. This document is the plan for the government of the United States that is still used today.

13. What are the three branches of government?

14. Who is given credit for doing the most work at the Constitutional Convention?

15. Name the two houses of Congress.

16. Who is said to have stitched the first U.S. flag?

17. This is a form of government in which the people and their elected representatives are limited by a constitution.


1. Ohio River

2. Parliament

3. Patriots

4. Stamp Act

5. Tea

6. Paul Revere

7. Patrick Henry

8. Battle of Bunker Hill

9. Nathan Hale

10. Treaty of Paris

11. Thomas Jefferson

12. United States Constitution

13. Executive, legislative, judicial

14. James Madison

15. Senate, House of Representatives

16. Betsy Ross

17. Constitutional Republic

Lisa Tedrick Prejean writes a weekly column for The Herald-Mail's Family page. Send e-mail to her at

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