The ultimate July 4 challenge: Test your knowledge of early American history

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Benjamin West
A — The Treaty of Paris

Prior to the formal peace talks with Great Britain in 1782, Benjamin Franklin rejected informal peace overtures that would provide the states with some autonomy within the British empire, and insisted instead on British recognition of American independence.

Franklin, John Jay and John Adams acted as America's representatives during formal negotiations.

Preliminary articles of peace were signed on November 20, 1782, and the Treaty of Paris, which formally ended the war, was signed on September 3, 1783. The Continental Congress ratified the treaty on January 14, 1784.

Two crucial provisions of the treaty with Britain were British recognition of U.S. independence and the delineation of boundaries that would allow for western expansion in America, ourdocuments.gov said.

The half-finished portrait seen here remains incomplete, according to history.state.gov, because the British negotiators chose not the sit for their half of the portrait.
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Oroville, WA

What a fun way to review history and learn. Thank you!

Huntington Beach, CA

Great Quiz. Loved doing it. Some of those I don't remember learning, but I did know more than 3/4 of them.

Encinitas, CA

Who said, "Give me liberty or give me death." NO ONE ever spoke those words; they were written into the mouth of Patrick Henry by William Wirt in his book, Sketches of the Life and Character of Patrick Henry. Thomas Jefferson, a friend of Wirt, considered the book a work of fiction.

Salt Lake City, UT

@Hughcpa, you seem quite certain that Henry never uttered those words.

Interesting reference to Wirt. The Liberty or Death speach was popularized by William Wirt - who, as you mentioned, wrote a biography of Henry in 1817. It is not known if minutes were taken at this convention or if Henry spoke from prepared notes. How, then, did Wirt reconstruct the content and style of the speaches attributed to Henry, or were his writings, as you have strongly claimed, works of fiction?

One way he did so was by corresponding with people who remembered Henry and who were there during these events. Thomas Jefferson was one such correspondent, and many of the letters between Jefferson and Wirt have been preserved. About Henry, Jefferson said that he "through a long and active life had been the idol of his country beyond any man who ever lived." Another correspondent was a Judge Winston, who had married Henry's widow. Wirt also obtained information about Henry from newspapers (from 1763 on) and court documents.

Patrick Henry was much more than a spirited orator. Here's a guy who became a lawyer at 24 and within a couple years had successfully argued one of the most notable case in the state of the era (the Parson's Cause). At the age of 28 was arguing the case for expanded sufferage before the Virginia House of Burgesses. At the age of 29 was one of the very few non-aristocrats elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses and, and a freshman member, immediately led the successful Stamp Act resistance in that body. By age 40 he was the Colony's first non royal appointed governor.

Then again, as we examine history, how many accounts are truly accurate? Did Paul Revere's midnight ride occur as we have leaned?

Hugh, enjoy your weekend. I hope that we all can agree that great sacrifices were made for this land.

Sasha Pachev
Provo, UT

We do have taxation without representation today. A legal alien, for example, that has a work US visa pays taxes, but does not get to vote.

We have a nominal representation for those who are US citizens. Sure if you do not like a certain tax or how your taxes are spent you could write to your representative. He will send you a letter of response saying he feels for you, but even if he has the best of intentions he alone cannot do much about it. With the technology available to us today I think we can do better than that. Those who pay taxes should be able to have a more direct say in how the money is spent. At least part of the federal and state budget could be voted on online with the vote limited to those who actually pay the taxes that go into those budgets.

Henry Drummond
San Jose, CA

Nicely done. I especially enjoyed having the capsule summary instead of just the correct answer.

Howard Beal
Provo, UT

24/25, thought Long Island was our worst defeat. Oh well, good quiz, good information...

South Jordan, UT

I loved this quiz, but then I love America and its rich history in the founding of our country. I only missed five of these questions.

I also highly recommend the film, "America, Imagine Life Without Her" now showing in theaters across the country. I have seen it twice now. It's an outstanding documentary!

God Bless America! May we be a more informed citizenry,

Burley, ID

Tough quiz, but I only missed only four. Does that qualify me as a history nut?

Nan BW
ELder, CO

Reviewing these events is a great little activity for Independence Day. I am so grateful to our valiant founding fathers!

Farmington, UT

21 out of 25, missed mostly the number of casualties in specific battles. I agree, it was a fun little quiz. Thanks!

Ogden, UT

25 out of 25. I've always loved history.

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