How Well Do You Know 20th Century American History?


By: Heather Cahill

6 Min Quiz

Image: rauskels2260

About This Quiz

America went through a lot during the 20th century, from devastation to innovation and everything in between. The history of the country during this time will forever be remembered for what the U.S. has become today. What moment of American history is most memorable for you?

Do you know which illness devastated the American people in the 20th century? What about the country that bombed Pearl Harbor causing America to enter World War II? Can you name the members of the Barrow Gang? The country saw its share of bad during this time but always managed to prosper through it.

Do you know what city the Children's March was held in? How about the revolutionary accomplishment of the Wright Brothers? Do you know about the most important court trials of the century? Do you have knowledge of America's involvement in the space race? The 20th Century was a time of civil rights, bravery, and the accomplishment of the American people.

The history of America during the last century was important to not only the country but the world as well. America adapted and evolved, and encouraged other countries to do the same. So if you think you remember this fascinating time period of American history, take the quiz to see your score!

Who was the United States competing against to be the first to go to space?

The United States was competing with the Soviet Union to be the first to go to space. While Russia was the first to launch a satellite, the United States was the first to land on the moon.


What struck San Francisco in 1906?

An earthquake struck San Francisco in 1906. This natural disaster occurred before the Richter Scale was invented, but it is estimated to have been 7.8 magnitude.


What took place in the 1930s?

The Great Depression took place in the 1930s. This period started after the fall of the stock market and left the country devastated for around a decade.


What was founded in 1942?

The Congress of Racial Equality was founded in 1942. The organization was created to fight for equality for everyone, and it played a crucial role during the Civil Rights Movement.


What was approved in the 1960s?

The birth control pill was approved in the 1960s. This was another crucial step for women's rights and had an impact on the number of women who were going to -- and staying -- in school.


What ended in 1991?

The Cold War ended in 1991 after the Soviet Union had become mostly non-Communist. The destruction of the Berlin Wall was one of the final steps in ending the war.


What did the Twenty-Second Amendment do?

The Twenty-Second Amendment allowed presidents to serve only two terms. The only president who served more than two terms was Franklin D. Roosevelt.


When was the Children's March?

The Children's March took place in 1963 in Birmingham, Alabama. The children involved in the march were attacked by dogs and some were even sent to jail.


What did the Wright Brothers do in 1903?

The Wright Brothers went for the first successful flights in a plane. This took place in December of 1903 in North Carolina where they successfully completed four different flights.


Which act set a precedent for minimum wage?

The Fair Labor Standards Act set a precedent for minimum wage. It was signed in 1938 and also set a standard for overtime work and tips.


Who disappeared in 1937?

Amelia Earhart disappeared in 1937. She was flying over the Pacific Ocean alongside Fred Noonan. It is unknown if she or Fred survived.


Lieutenant Colonel John Glenn was the first American to do what?

Lieutenant Colonel John Glenn was the first person to orbit the Earth. He made history after circling the Earth three times which only took five hours!


Who was assassinated in 1963?

President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. He was shot by Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas, Texas. Two days later, Lee Harvey Oswald was shot and killed by Jack Ruby.


When was the first Earth Day held?

The first Earth Day was held in 1970. It was created by Senator Gaylord Nelson to celebrate and encourage taking care of the environment for generations to come.


Which volcano erupted in the 1980s?

Mount St. Helens erupted in the 1980s. The volcano is located in Washington State and there were more than 50 deaths due to its eruption.


What became illegal in the United States in the 1950s?

Segregation became illegal in the 1950s. This took place at the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement with many prominent figures in the movement, like Rosa Parks.


What was legalized in 1973?

Abortion was legalized in 1973 after a court case called "Roe vs. Wade." Prior to the case, abortion was illegal in 30 states and only legal under certain circumstances in others.


What event that was documented in a movie took place in 1912?

The sinking of the Titanic took place in 1912. More than 100 Americans were killed in the wreck after the ship struck an iceberg in the Atlantic Ocean.


What country bombed the United States in 1941?

Japan bombed the United States on December 7, 1941, which led to a declaration of war on Japan. This was one of the reasons the United States ultimately joined World War II.


Which automobile company was created in 1903?

The Ford Motor Company was created in 1903. The company was founded by Henry Ford, who paved the way for other automobile companies.


What did women achieve in 1920?

Women in the 1920s achieved the right to vote. This became official after the 19th Amendment was passed and it would not have become official if it weren't for the Suffragists.


Who was assassinated in 1965?

Malcolm X was assassinated in 1965. Thomas 15X Johnson, Talmadge Hayer, and Norman 3X Butler were originally believed to be his killers. However, Talmadge Hayer served time in prison and signed affidavits for Johnson and Butler.


Where did a massacre take place in 1933?

The Kansas City Massacre took place in Kansas City in 1933. The massacre happened after a gang attempted to free a prisoner. One of the individuals said to be present was Charles "Pretty Boy" Floyd.


Which President signed the Civil Rights Act?

President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act in 1964. The meant that no one could be discriminated or segregated in any public place. This was a crucial step in working to create equality.


What did the Americans With Disabilities Act do?

The Americans with Disabilities Act protected anyone with a disability from discrimination. Disabled Americans could not be discriminated against based on a disability and employers would have to ensure that they were properly accommodated.


What sickness affected much of the United States in 1918?

Influenza affected much of the United States in 1918. The outbreak claimed millions of lives worldwide and more than 600,000 lives in America alone.


Which city went on strike in 1934?

San Francisco went on strike in 1934. The day that the strike started is known as "Bloody Thursday," which spread from the ports to the rest of the city, creating the General Strike.


In what year did the "Star-Spangled Banner" become the national anthem?

The "Star-Spangled Banner" became the national anthem in 1931. The lyrics were written in 1814 by Francis Scott Key and the music was composed by John Stafford Smith.


Which president served for three terms?

President Franklin D. Roosevelt was the only president to serve three terms. He was elected for a fourth term but died a short time after the election.


Edwin Aldrin Jr. and Neil Armstrong were the first men to do what?

Edwin Aldrin Jr. and Neil Armstrong were the first men to walk on the moon. Neil Armstrong was most famous for saying, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."


Which gang was active in the United States in the 1930s?

The Barrow Gang was active in the United States in the 1930s. The gang was known to rob banks and gas stations. They were lead by Clyde Barrow.


When did the stock market crash?

The stock market crashed in 1929, leaving the American economy devastated. The country was deeply affected for about ten years after the crash.


Which President signed the Free Trade Agreement?

President Bill Clinton signed the Free Trade Agreement. President George H.W. Bush had been in negotiations with Canada but Clinton, the newly-elected president, sealed the deal.


What trial took place in 1925?

The Scopes Monkey Trial took place in 1925. The trial was held to convict John Scopes of teaching human evolution, which was against the law in Tennessee.


What country did America go to war against in the 1950s?

The United States went to war against Vietnam in the 1950s. The United States was allied with South Vietnam and joined them in their fight against North Vietnam, losing more than 58,000 Americans during war.


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