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American Civil War: How Much Do You Really Know?

Updated on June 11, 2014
Nick Burchett profile image

Nick is a US Army veteran, husband and father of three, and has a BA in History. He is a Civil War aficionado and also enjoys genealogy.

In the Hands of Providence Limited Edition Print Chamberlain at Fredericksburg, Va., Dec. 13, 1862  The Official Gods and Generals Collection
In the Hands of Providence Limited Edition Print Chamberlain at Fredericksburg, Va., Dec. 13, 1862 The Official Gods and Generals Collection | Source

The American Civil War undoubtedly is one of the most pivotal, if not the pivotal, points in American history. As the late author Shelby Foote said in Ken Burn's Civil War documentary, "Any understanding of this nation has to be based, and I mean really based, on an understanding of the Civil War. I believe that firmly. It defined us. The Revolution did what it did. Our involvement in European wars, beginning with the First World War, did what it did. But the Civil War defined us as what we are and it opened us to being what we became, good and bad things. And it is very necessary, if you are going to understand the American character in the twentieth century, to learn about this enormous catastrophe of the mid-nineteenth century. It was the crossroads of our being, and it was a hell of a crossroads."

A current survey shows that the average high school curriculum covers more foreign history than US history and that the American Civil War, for most cases, is left with a very brief overview that basically involves slavery and the assassination of President Lincoln. Nothing about the facts that civil war almost erupted during the Andrew Jackson presidency, the Missouri Compromise, "Bleeding Kansas", the Dred Scott case or any of the battles other than a mention of Gettysburg. Most college students have no understanding of the Civil War - many don't even know who the war - let alone it's importance.

Below is a brief quiz to test your knowledge of the American Civil War. It is by no means inclusive, but also presents information that should be taught in high school and college and thus should be general knowledge of the Civil War. Good Luck!


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    • stevarino profile image

      Steve Dowell 6 years ago from East Central Indiana

      I got bit on the habeas corpus question, but the other question I missed was a careless, typographical error. Oh well, %80 passes doesn't it.


    • grayghost profile image

      grayghost 6 years ago

      Hey, that was a tough quiz! I flat out guessed on the second question, and totally missed the Lee question. You're right about kids today missing the opportunity to study that pivotal time in America's history. Maybe this 150th anniversary will gin up a little more interest. The Centennial was quite a big deal when I was a kid, and helped foster a lifelong interest in history for me.

    • conradofontanilla profile image

      conradofontanilla 6 years ago from Philippines

      I like the compassion of Lincoln for the secessionist, that the South were not to be punished should they lose in the civil war. His Secretary of War disagreed. Johnson, who took over the slain Lincoln, pursued Lincoln's policy and so did Gen. Ulysses S. Grant when he became president.