Try This Quiz -- Famous Dates in American History
October 2, 2001 10:41 AM   Subscribe

Try This Quiz -- Famous Dates in American History We all love to take an online quiz, so...Boston.com has a quiz today that asks you to match specific dates to important moments in U.S. history. Just how well do you really know your history, gang?
posted by briank (68 comments total)
 
Not to polish my own apple, but I got them all correct on the first try.
posted by briank at 10:42 AM on October 2, 2001


Knowing history and knowing specific dates are two different things.
posted by alan at 10:47 AM on October 2, 2001


I got the Sputnik one wrong. Right year, wrong date.
posted by alumshubby at 10:49 AM on October 2, 2001


The reason I ####### these quizzes:

Robert E. Lee surrenders.
You said April 14, 1865. The correct answer is April 9, 1865.


And there it is, eternalized on bloody Boston.com for future historians to "poor bastard" me and countless others until Kingdom come.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 10:52 AM on October 2, 2001


I missed Sputnik too, off by a month and a half. Who knew all those things happened in 1957?
posted by gleuschk at 10:55 AM on October 2, 2001


I got them all right too, but I couldn't have done it without having dates to choose from. I knew all the years, but only about five of the actual dates off the top of my head.
posted by rabi at 10:55 AM on October 2, 2001


Same as you, alumshobby. Sputnik: right year, wrong date.
posted by mac at 10:55 AM on October 2, 2001


17 out of 17, bay-bee!!!
posted by byort at 10:58 AM on October 2, 2001


Hey, me too: 94%, off by a month on Sputnik.
posted by nicwolff at 10:59 AM on October 2, 2001


17 for 17! Top that.
posted by msacheson at 11:00 AM on October 2, 2001


They left out September 11, 1973 - the CIA-backed overthrow of the democratically elected Allende government in Chile. U.S. Naval attache Patrick Ryan characterized September 11 as "our D-Day," and stated that "Chile's coup de etat [sic] was close to perfect".
posted by scotty at 11:02 AM on October 2, 2001


same as above, all right except Sputnik: year right, date wrong. But that's Russian history, ain't it?

Yar, mumble mumble...
posted by Awol at 11:04 AM on October 2, 2001


Anyway, how is Sputnik American history?
posted by msacheson at 11:04 AM on October 2, 2001


I'm starting to think we're all right about Sputnik, and the test is wrong (too lazy to type 7 characters into google and find out for myself, I'll just choose to believe that).

Wasn't Patrick Ryan the protagonist of all those Clancy books?

(oh, and sorry if the explicit date up there is a "spoiler" - didn't occur to me at the time.)
posted by gleuschk at 11:04 AM on October 2, 2001


Yes but HOW LONG did you take? Surely that has to be factored in...
posted by MiguelCardoso at 11:07 AM on October 2, 2001


I got them all right (guessed on the order of two close dates), but what alan says above is insightful.

I aced history and I can memorize anything for a test, yet it was years later that I actually started to read and get interested in history, and the context of each event in history.
posted by mathowie at 11:13 AM on October 2, 2001


what alan says above is insightful

Well, he's not just insightful but completely correct, of course, but that spoils the fun of taking the quiz, don't you think?

It's like saying those Myers-Briggs tests don't really give you the full nuance of human personality. Of course they don't, but people love the exercise just the same.
posted by briank at 11:18 AM on October 2, 2001


I only got 14. The 2 Watergate/Nixon questions I was off by a couple of years. And Sputnik I chose the August date in 57 too. Those 50's and 60's have always been too muddy for me.

Aw who cares, anyway, it's all before I was born. ;)
posted by witchstone at 11:29 AM on October 2, 2001


15/17 because I reversed the Lee surrender and Lincoln assassination. My grasp on the end of the Civil War is not as strong as I might have thought.

Hopefully, quizzes like this will influence some people to trundle off to Google or wherever and search on the items that they missed (or found a new interest in) to get to the context and meaning of these significant events. I am looking at a timeline of Civil War events right now, to get my facts in order.
posted by Dreama at 11:30 AM on October 2, 2001


18 out of 18 right
posted by Snotty at 11:30 AM on October 2, 2001


Tripped up by Sputnik...perfect otherwise. (Under breath, a la Homer Simpson)...stupid Sputnik...
posted by schmedeman at 11:39 AM on October 2, 2001


16 out of 17 without cheating... missed the Sputnik question as well, but I was off by 11 years... Had 1968 down... DOH!

Oh well, the others were somewhat easy, just try to remember the order that they happened in and then it's a process of elimination...
posted by da5id at 11:39 AM on October 2, 2001


I got 17 right, the Sputnik one wrong. As far as the American history question, part of Sputnik IV came down in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. To this day there's still a little copper ring in the middle of North Eighth Street marking where it crashed.
posted by mrbula at 11:40 AM on October 2, 2001


Er, I meant 16 out of 17.
posted by mrbula at 11:41 AM on October 2, 2001


I got 16 out of 17 (Sputnik). I knew about two-thirds of the dates, but then I know lots of useless stuff.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:44 AM on October 2, 2001


That test hurts my eyes, it needs a usability makeover
posted by corpse at 12:02 PM on October 2, 2001


Can someone explain to me what the Sputnik issue is? I saw a multiple choice test where you could only pick one date per one event. If you only got one question wrong, wouldn't you have one date blank and two events on the same date? Also (apparently I got 100% right but I did it based on process of elimination), it tells me that Sputnik was put in orbit in 1957. There are no choices but one that have the year 1957 so how are people getting the right year but wrong date? I think I'm just not getting something, but a clarification would be great. Thanks.
posted by buddha9090 at 12:04 PM on October 2, 2001


Did anyone else notice the preponderance of the month of April as a date for these events?
posted by bob bisquick at 12:08 PM on October 2, 2001


Wow. I got a 76%. I make a MUCH better beauty queen than I do historian.
posted by kcmoryan at 12:12 PM on October 2, 2001


Scrap my last question please. Didn't realize that there were 20 possible answers (I was just looking at the correct answers page when I posted).
posted by buddha9090 at 12:20 PM on October 2, 2001


wow. apparently i'm the most historically ignorant person here. (please note that the preceding statement does not rule out my being all other sorts of ignorant). do i get a sash or something? maybe a tiara?
posted by totee at 12:20 PM on October 2, 2001


stupid Sputnik. I just went all Academic Decathlon with it - a lot of those dates I actually had memorized, but some were a question of what goes before/after what. (bomb before end of war, assasination after surrender, that sort of thing)

and I always get Watergate/Nixon questions right, it's just a thing. (long, long story)

mmmm. that's what I was kick-ass at in school, remembering sets of dates. okay, that's not entirely true, but close enough.

(I totally agree with corpse, tho - what hideous design!)
posted by epersonae at 12:43 PM on October 2, 2001


Sputnik got me also.
i think we got the sputnik one wrong because it was the same year, and the other events didn't really have "fake" dates available. Two of the trick dates were Sputnik, the other off in 1933, which would have been what, the New Deal or something?
posted by th3ph17 at 12:43 PM on October 2, 2001


msacheson: Sputnik counts as american history in spades - our school systems went from readin', ritin' and rithmatic to AP physics and the like thanks to oodles of gummit money. Them durn ruskies beat us into space! Better education was the answer. Government sponsored research a la National Science Foundation took off too.

And look where it got us.

Say, maybe better education is the answer to the Current Situation! No? Well, at least I tried.

(Sputnik got me, too.)
posted by skyscraper at 12:48 PM on October 2, 2001


I got them all right, but I don't think I'd be able to rattle off the specific dates each event happened--my brain's not wired that way. I know about when each event happened, so I was able to place things on their proper dates. And process of elimination, too.
posted by eilatan at 1:06 PM on October 2, 2001


Hmmm, I got 12/17(71%) I was really clueless about when Nixon was president, and the space race thing. I actually thought Kennedy came after Nixon. I think it's just because he looks younger. Anyway, it appears I just fall into the ingorant americans category.
posted by tru at 1:16 PM on October 2, 2001


Corpse, I'm with you. That test is a usability nightmare.

16 out of 17... that pesky Sputnik is rocking all of us.
posted by redshifter at 1:17 PM on October 2, 2001


15/17, I reversed Lee's surrender and Lincoln's assassination. Meh.
posted by headspace at 1:27 PM on October 2, 2001


"You scored 88% (15 out of 17 correct)."

I obviously only remembered about 5 of the actual (to the day) dates. The rest I deduced based on where I was when they happened, or what preceeded what in American history.

I think there was more deduction at work, which makes it a bad test.

I do think it's nice that so many of us did pretty good.
posted by perplexed at 1:30 PM on October 2, 2001


Well my boyfriend got 16 out of 17 and he's Welsh. Wonder how many of you know when Owen Glendower rebelled against the English.
posted by Summer at 1:45 PM on October 2, 2001


Well my boyfriend got 16 out of 17 and he's Welsh. Wonder how many of you know when Owen Glendower rebelled against the English.
posted by Summer at 1:46 PM on October 2, 2001


Well my boyfriend got 16 out of 17 and he's Welsh. Wonder how many of you know when Owen Glendower rebelled against the English.
posted by Summer at 1:46 PM on October 2, 2001


I scored 82% (14 out of 17 correct). I messed up on sputnik too, as well as not knowing that Lee surrenderred before Lincoln's death.

Not bad for a Canadian that avoided showing up to History class in high-school as often as possible. But there's no way, if asked point blank without having the answers there to pick through, could I have given even one of those dates. Knowing the year was difficult enough, but the day? I have a hard enough time remembering birthdays wiithout looking at my calendar.
posted by mb01 at 1:50 PM on October 2, 2001


Gagarin? What Gagarin? Don't sob, folks. For gloating purposes, why not enjoy a Russian perspective on this so sadly missed anniversary?
Enticing first sentence: Russia is entering the new millenium with a clear intention to remain great space power.
Yeah, right.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 1:50 PM on October 2, 2001


I couldn't have told you the first time you asked.
posted by fusinski at 1:52 PM on October 2, 2001


Owen Glendower, the well known TV host, did he rebel in:
a)1300
b)1400
c)1500
d)1600
or
e)some other date not ending in a hundred?
posted by MiguelCardoso at 1:55 PM on October 2, 2001


I actually thought Kennedy came after Nixon. I think it's just because he looks younger.

He not only looks younger, he was younger.

I can't believe how many people are reversing Lee/Lincoln. Lee's surrender was one of the factors that led to Lincoln's death.
posted by ljromanoff at 1:55 PM on October 2, 2001


b
posted by ljromanoff at 1:56 PM on October 2, 2001


Well my boyfriend got 16 out of 17 and he's Welsh. Wonder how many of you know when Owen Glendower rebelled against the English.
posted by Summer at 1:57 PM on October 2, 2001


Apologies for the multiple posts, browser trouble.
posted by Summer at 1:58 PM on October 2, 2001


Stupid Sputnik! Why I'll...
posted by RevGreg at 1:59 PM on October 2, 2001


OK, summer, we got it and we're all jealous of you and your Welsh boyfriend! Do you know how long I've wanted one? *muffled sob*
posted by witchstone at 1:59 PM on October 2, 2001


You can have mine if you like.
posted by Summer at 2:02 PM on October 2, 2001


The movie October Sky is the tipoff about Sputnik. . .btw, while submitting answers, the site keeps timing out so I don't have any idea how smart I am. . .*smile*
posted by Danf at 2:31 PM on October 2, 2001


Everything but bloody Sputnik (got the month wrong). And I guessed that Lee surrendered before Lincoln was shot, since we didn't give that much time to the US Civil War in our history classes ;)
posted by holgate at 2:35 PM on October 2, 2001


I can't believe how many people are reversing Lee/Lincoln. Lee's surrender was one of the factors that led to Lincoln's death.

See, that's the thing -- I can discuss the factors and motivations behind the war until the cows come home, but I cannot remember an academic setting in which the factors and motivations behind the assassination were discussed. The death of the 16th president was always couched in terms of great tragedy and the act of a disgruntled actor. . .
posted by Dreama at 2:38 PM on October 2, 2001


All right the site finally hit. . .100%, but then I was 7 when sputnik happened, so a lot of this stuff, I was alive for. .
posted by Danf at 2:42 PM on October 2, 2001


Got another 17/17 right here, baybee! Although I had to really ponder two of them- Sputnik I changed at the last minute because I counted and realized there were more dates than events, and remembered the "October Sky" movie as well- see, movies really are edumacational! The rest were easy since the year alone was the answer or just understanding the general path of history.

It's interesting how many people posting here are/were
A) ace students who can blitz any test just out of habit, regardless of interest or comfort in the material
B) Former Academic Decathletes or similar types
C) Also quick to point out that the dates are less important than understanding the historical forces and motives behind these events.

Man, MeFi is like the "Mensa" of smartie-pants communities...
posted by hincandenza at 3:38 PM on October 2, 2001



15 out of 17, not too bad for an old brain.
posted by bjgeiger at 3:44 PM on October 2, 2001


16/17. That was fun. Sputnik got me too.
Is there any reason why this quiz is so 20th century biased? That's half of America's history you're missing there.
posted by Charmian at 4:41 PM on October 2, 2001


In 11th grade(Go Dutchmen!), I took Integrated Studies, a class that combined American History and English. We studied the context of historical events, not the actual dates themselves. We were more concerned with the How and Why of historical events, and of course, cultural impact. Many people pooh-poohed our program, saying that we NEEDED to memorize the dates of all these events at the expense of actually understanding the events themselves. Well, you know, five years later, I scored 15 out of 17 on this quiz, mixing up the dates but not the years of the Hiroshima Bomb and the day WW2 ended. So, shoot me.
posted by CraftyHotMelt at 5:52 PM on October 2, 2001


All the people that missed the sputnik date, remember this: October Sky, the movie and book (originally titled rocket boys) was about a boy becoming a NASA engineer. One of the big moments in his teenaged life was seeing sputnik fly by in the night sky. The October night sky.

Now, go forth and never miss a pointless trivia question again!
posted by mathowie at 6:14 PM on October 2, 2001


16/17, but only by comparing dates. And of course there was no way to compare anything to that bleeping Sputnik thing.

This was a good quiz for exercising that old chronology muscle. And I didn't remember that Lincoln was assassinated only 5 days after Lee surrendered -- I guess terrorism didn't require so much planning in the old days.
posted by mattpfeff at 6:19 PM on October 2, 2001


also, I've had "Sunday Bloody Sunday" (U2) in my head since trying to remember the MLK date (April 4).
posted by mattpfeff at 6:40 PM on October 2, 2001


I got 11 right.

Now, I'll set up a test with 17 Australian history questions, and we'll see how many Americans can get that right.
posted by Neale at 8:15 PM on October 2, 2001


Abraham Lincoln's death date (?) is the same as sinking of Titanic (which I think pops up occasionally as Easter). Watergate happened in summer of 72, before the November election; Nixon resigned during the long, hot summer.
Dates are important to get an order to history or else causes and effects float around independent of other events (I'm thinking of the English gent, writer of Connections).
Was the (un)usability a part of the test, a short-term memory component, or a design flaw?
I didn't know 9-11-73.
17-17. Canadian.
posted by philfromhavelock at 10:24 PM on October 2, 2001


16/17

&@!&%@ Sputnik did me in too. Of course, that was the only one that was very hard, since most of the others weren't set up too trickily or anything. Just matter of having a rough idea when something happened, and of the order in which things occurred, in a couple of cases.

It's a lot more about test-taking skills than actual knowledge of history. Of course, you could say the same for most of the rest of American education, in my experience. Lots of facts, with precious little context.
posted by jdunn_entropy at 11:36 PM on October 2, 2001


Aw who cares, anyway, it's all before I was born. ;)

You type awfully well for somebody born after April 1999. ;)

And yeah, Sputnik was the only one that got me. I just saw "1957" and went with it, without seeing the other option for the same year. Dang.
posted by diddlegnome at 3:16 AM on October 3, 2001


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