Can you answer these real 'Jeopardy!' clues about American history?

Written by:
August 30, 2020
Kris Connor // Getty Images

Can you answer these real “Jeopardy!” clues about American history?

Like Little Leaguers harboring dreams of making the big leagues, just about everyone who’s watched “Jeopardy!” pictures themselves in one of the three stalls on the blue stage, chatting it up with Alex Trebek, buzzer in hand. How much will you wager on your daily double? Do you sneak in a cute message to a loved while writing your Final “Jeopardy!” answer?

Before you take a swing at the big stage, start out with Stacker’s quiz: Can you answer these real “Jeopardy!” questions about American history?

Stacker dug into past “Jeopardy!” questions, which are memorialized in the J! Archive and constantly updated after every new episode, to compile the following list of 25 “Jeopardy!” questions about American history. Questions up to June 2020 were used, as the last season ended on June 12. Each question contains a slide with the clue, category, value, and episode air date, followed by the answer in standard “Jeopardy!” format, and some additional data about the question or answer.

For example, do you know about the first African American to win a Pulitzer Prize, who was also poet laureate of Illinois? Or the notorious traitor who was once fawned over as “blessed with almost superhuman energy and endurance”? What about the Civil War rivals who once fought on the same side?

Take a trip back in time to learn about pillars of this country, like the first Chinese American governor, and the literary stylings of some of the most revered writers of the Harlem Renaissance. It’s all covered, from aviation to sports, and even some background about daylight saving time, which may have originated with a certain colonial known for bifocals and flying kites. Click through to see if you can answer this smorgasbord of American history questions, and gauge if you have what it takes to one day reach game show glory.

You may also like: 50 endangered species that only live in the Amazon Rainforest

1 / 50
Kris Connor // Getty Images

Clue #1

- Clue: The first African American to win a Pulitzer Prize; in 1968 she was named poet laureate of Illinois.
- Category: AFRICAN AMERICAN FIRSTS
- Value: $2000
- Date episode aired: Tuesday, May 8, 2018

2 / 50
Bettmann // Getty Images

Answer #1: Who is Gwendolyn Brooks?

Gwendolyn Brooks won the Pulitzer Prize in 1950, for her work “Annie Allen,” which also won the Eunice Tietjens Memorial Prize in 1949, awarded by Poetry magazine. In Chicago, Brooks mentored poets like Nikki Giovanni. Brooks' works have been described as “devoted to small, carefully cerebrated, terse portraits of the Black urban poor.”

3 / 50
Kris Connor // Getty Images

Clue #2

- Clue: This Connecticut native was a general in both the American and the British armies during the war.
- Category: THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION
- Value: $2000
- Date episode aired: Monday, July 4, 2011

4 / 50
MPI // Getty Images

Answer #2: Who is Benedict Arnold?

Most Americans learn in school that Benedict Arnold betrayed the United States during the American Revolution, but he was also once described as “blessed with almost superhuman energy and endurance,” “handsome and charismatic,” and “the most accomplished and graceful skater” some had ever seen. Arnold spent much of his early life in Norwich and New Haven, Connecticut, and died in London in 1801.

5 / 50
Kris Connor // Getty Images

Clue #3

- Clue: Title of a 1985 Bruce Springsteen hit, or a book about him by Dave Marsh.
- Category: ’80s ROCK
- Value: $600
- Date episode aired: Friday, Jan. 31, 2003

You may also like: U.S. Marine Corps history from the year you were born

6 / 50
Steve Granitz // Getty Images

Answer #3: What is Glory Days?

“Glory Days” was a hit single off Springsteen’s 1984 album "Born in the U.S.A." Part of the inspiration for the song was Springsteen’s Little League teammate in Freehold, New Jersey. On the diamond, Springsteen, who played right field, was nicknamed “Saddie.”

7 / 50
Kris Connor // Getty Images

Clue #4

- Clue: In 1773, she put out the first book of poetry by an African American.
- Category: AFRICAN-AMERICAN HISTORY
- Value: $2000
- Date episode aired: Monday, Feb. 17, 2014

8 / 50
Stock Montage // Getty Images

Answer #4: Who is Phillis Wheatley?

Phillis Wheatley’s work has been cited as a catalyst for the country’s early anti-slavery movement. Growing up in West Africa, Wheatley was an enslaved woman sent to Boston. Wheatley engrossed herself in the Bible, and Greek and Latin classics as she formulated her poetic stylings.

9 / 50
Kris Connor // Getty Images

Clue #5

- Clue: Civil War opponents Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee fought on the same side in this war.
- Category: WEIRD HISTORY
- Value: $400
- Date episode aired: Friday, June 14, 2013

10 / 50
Photo12 // Getty Images

Answer #5: What is the Mexican-American War?

Both Lee and Grant attended West Point. At the time of the Mexican-American War, Lee had ascended to captain, while Lee was a lieutenant. In Mexico, Lee and Grant participated in a march from Veracruz to Mexico City.

You may also like: States sending the most young people to the military

11 / 50
Kris Connor // Getty Images

Clue #6

- Clue: In 2015, she made history as the first African American female principal dancer with the American Ballet Theater.
- Category: SHE DID IT!
- Value: $800
- Date episode aired: Friday, May 11, 2018

12 / 50
Hiroyuki Ito // Getty Images

Answer #6: Who is Misty Copeland?

Misty Copeland began ballet studies in California at 13. She joined the American Ballet Theater Studio Company in 2000, and has authored a memoir, children’s books, and was named to the “2015 Time 100” by Time magazine.

13 / 50
Kris Connor // Getty Images

Clue #7

- Clue: In 1807, Marshall wrote the opinion for United States vs. this politician, making standards of evidence for treason.
- Category: MARSHALL LAW
- Value: $1600 clue (Daily Double $2000)
- Date episode aired: Monday, Sept. 24, 2012

14 / 50
Nawrocki/ClassicStock // Getty Images

Answer #7: Who is Aaron Burr?

John Marshall presided over Aaron Burr’s treason trial; Burr was eventually acquitted. Thomas Jefferson directed the prosecution team, and later it was recorded that Jefferson considered Burr “a danger to the republic.” Burr infamously killed Alexander Hamilton in 1804.

15 / 50
Kris Connor // Getty Images

Clue #8

- Clue: In 1926, she became curator of ethnology at the American Museum of Natural History.
- Category: THE MEADIA
- Value: $800
- Date episode aired: Friday, June 28, 2002

You may also like: Most imported endangered animals to America

16 / 50
Bettmann // Getty Images

Answer #8: Who is Margaret Mead?

Margaret Mead was more than an anthropologist. She was an author, lecturer, and a “general among the foot soldiers of feminism.” Mead was also president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1975.

17 / 50
Kris Connor // Getty Images

Clue #9

- Clue: An Arkansas toothpick was a large one of these.
- Category: CIVIL WAR SLANG
- Value: $500
- Date episode aired: Wednesday, June 2, 1999

18 / 50
Michal Ninger // Shutterstock

Answer #9: What is a bowie knife?

The bowie knife was made famous by James Bowie in the 19th century, and further popularized as a weapon of choice for Hollywood combat heroes. However, the knife also apparently served as inspiration as the stage name for David Bowie, who told the BBC that he liked the name because, “the Bowie knife was sharpened on both sides so it cuts both ways.”

19 / 50
Kris Connor // Getty Images

Clue #10

- Clue: In 1579, during his trip around the world, he stopped near present-day San Francisco and named the area Nova Albion.
- Category: EARLY AMERICAN HISTORY
- Value: $800
- Date episode aired: Wednesday, March 8, 2017

20 / 50
Unknown // Wikimedia Commons

Answer #10: Who is Sir Francis Drake?

Sir Francis Drake was regarded by the English as one of the foremost explorers of the West Indies and Roanoke Island, and a valuable asset for England’s territorial expansion in the Americas. However, he was also a pirate and slave trader, and in frequent battle with Spanish armies.

You may also like: Most popular baby names in the 21st century

21 / 50
Kris Connor // Getty Images

Clue #11

- Clue: On Jan. 22, 1970, this first jumbo jet took flight with 324 passengers from New York City to London.
- Category: AVIATION FIRSTS
- Value: $800
- Date episode aired: Monday, Sept. 22, 2014

22 / 50
Skycolors // Shutterstock

Answer #11: What is a 747?

At the time of its inception, the 747 was the largest civilian airplane in the world, and it was built in about 16 months. One year of test flights preceded the maiden voyage; the original 747 even included space for a cocktail lounge.

23 / 50
Kris Connor // Getty Images

Clue #12

- Clue: In 1989, Bertram Lee and Peter Bynoe became the first Black owners of a major sports franchise, this city’s NBA Nuggets.
- Category: AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY
- Value: $100
- Date episode aired: Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2001

24 / 50
Andrew Zarivny // Shutterstock

Answer #12: What is Denver?

The Nuggets joined the NBA in 1976, having previously played in the American Basketball Association. After purchasing the team, Lee evoked images of Jackie Robinson breaking baseball’s color barrier. The sale price of the team was for a reported $65 million.

25 / 50
Kris Connor // Getty Images

Clue #13

- Clue: Brother to “The Prophet,” this Shawnee leader organized 18th-century Native American resistance in Ohio and Indiana.
- Category: NATIVE AMERICAN HISTORY
- Value: $2000
- Date episode aired: Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018

26 / 50
Unknown // Wikimedia Commons

Answer #13: Who is Tecumseh?

A legend surrounding Tecumseh is that he was born as a great meteor flashed across the sky. Throughout his life, he helped combine Native American forces throughout North America, even as American and British forces continued to colonize the land. Tecumseh aligned with the British during the War of 1812, in his hopes that such an alliance could lead to construction of an independent nation for Native Americans.

27 / 50
Kris Connor // Getty Images

Clue #14

- Clue: Her, in 1869 in a women’s suffrage newspaper: “Join the union, girls, and together say equal pay for equal work.”
- Category: QUOTATIONS IN AMERICAN HISTORY
- Value: $800
- Date episode aired: Friday, Oct. 30, 2015

28 / 50
Universal History Archive // Getty Images

Answer #14: Who is Susan B. Anthony?

The Susan B. Anthony quote reportedly appeared in a newspaper called “The Revolution.” A leader of the women’s suffrage movement, Anthony was raised in a Quaker household and she had seven brothers and sisters who passionately fought for the emancipation of slaves.

29 / 50
Kris Connor // Getty Images

Clue #15

- Clue: This Civil War general’s left arm is buried at Ellwood Plantation; the rest of him is interred at the Virginia Military Institute.
- Category: HISTORIC VIRGINIA
- Value: $1200
- Date episode aired: Monday, July 14, 2008

30 / 50
Nathaniel Routzahn // Wikimedia Commons

Answer #15: Who is “Stonewall” Jackson?

Now named Ellwood manor, one of Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson’s burial sites was built around 1790 by William Jones. After Jackson was wounded by friendly fire at Chancellorsville, Virginia, surgeons removed his left arm and chaplain Beverly Tucker Lacy buried it in the graveyard at Ellwood.

You may also like: From Barnum & Bailey to Annie Oakley: History of traveling entertainment in America

31 / 50
Kris Connor // Getty Images

Clue #16

- Clue: To combat fuel shortages, Congress enacted this for almost 10 months in 1974, from January to October.
- Category: “D” IN AMERICAN HISTORY
- Value: $600
- Date episode aired: Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017

32 / 50
Bettmann // Getty Images

Answer #16: What is daylight saving time?

Allegedly, Benjamin Franklin conjured up a concept similar to daylight saving time to conserve energy. Germany enacted a daylight saving time system during World War I to conserve fuel. This year, daylight saving time ends on November 1.

33 / 50
Kris Connor // Getty Images

Clue #17

- Clue: Around 1790, Benjamin Banneker helped survey the land that became this city
- Category: AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY
- Value: $1600
- Date episode aired: Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015

34 / 50
Pixabay

Answer #17: What is Washington D.C.?

In addition to urban planning, Benjamin Banneker was a scientist, author, and farmer. Although Banneker helped survey Washington D.C., which now has a population of more than 705,000, he was raised in Baltimore County.

35 / 50
Kris Connor // Getty Images

Clue #18

- Clue: A prominent member of the Harlem Renaissance, she wrote the 1937 novel “Their Eyes Were Watching God.”
- Category: AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY
- Value: $1600
- Date episode aired: Monday, Feb. 1, 2016

You may also like: States with the most multi-generational households

36 / 50
Corbis // Getty Images

Answer #18: Who is Zora Neale Hurston?

“There is no book more important to me than this one,” said Alice Walker of “Their Eyes Were Watching God." Hurston was also the author of children’s books and a nonfiction tome, “Barracoon: The Story of the Last ‘Black Cargo,'” which was published posthumously in 2018.

37 / 50
Kris Connor // Getty Images

Clue #19

- Clue: Gary Locke of this “Evergreen State” is the first Chinese American governor in U.S. history.
- Category: ASIAN AMERICAN ACHIEVERS
- Value: $100
- Date episode aired: Monday, May 22, 2000

38 / 50
emperorcosar // Shutterstock

Answer #19: What is Washington?

Gary Locke has also been secretary of commerce and U.S. ambassador to China. Currently, he is the interim president of Bellevue College in Bellevue, Washington.

39 / 50
Kris Connor // Getty Images

Clue #20

- Clue: When King George VI visited this woman and her husband in 1939, she made news by serving hot dogs.
- Category: PRESIDENTS AND FIRST LADIES
- Value: $1200
- Date episode aired: Monday, Sept. 15, 2008

40 / 50
PhotoQuest // Getty Images

Answer #20: Who is Eleanor Roosevelt?

Supposedly, King George VI had never eaten a hot dog before. He ate two hot dogs and drank a beer. The hot dogs were served on a silver platter, but consumed on paper plates.

You may also like: 30 famous student protests

41 / 50
Kris Connor // Getty Images

Clue #21

- Clue: Was the first Republican president.
- Category: THE U.S. PRESIDENT WHO ...
- Value: $600
- Date episode aired: Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2006

42 / 50
Alexander Gardner // Getty Images

Answer #21: Who is Abraham Lincoln?

Overall, there have been 19 Republican presidents. According to Abraham Lincoln’s White House biography, his debates against Stephen A. Douglas for a Senate seat won him acclaim; despite losing that election in 1858, he won the Republican nomination for president two years later.

43 / 50
Kris Connor // Getty Images

Clue #22

- Clue: More Frenchmen than Americans participated in the 1781 siege of this town, the last major battle of the American Revolution.
- Category: AMERICAN HISTORY
- Value: $400
- Date episode aired: Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019

44 / 50
Universal History Archive // Getty Images

Answer #22: What is Yorktown?

British General Charles Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown on Oct. 19, 1781. Yorktown was established in 1691, and it also became a site for battles during the Civil War.

45 / 50
Kris Connor // Getty Images

Clue #23

- Clue: Oct. 18, 1977: This Yankee star hits 3 home runs off the Dodgers in game 6 of the World Series.
- Category: YANKEE STADIUM MOMENTS
- Value: $200
- Date episode aired: Monday, May 17, 2010

You may also like: Most popular baby names shared by Oscar winners

46 / 50
Bettmann // Getty Images

Answer #23: Who is Reggie Jackson?

Reggie Jackson, nicknamed “Mr. October,” was named most valuable player of the 1977 World Series. In total, Jackson won five World Series titles, and bashed 563 career home runs. He also memorably appeared in the film, “The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad.

47 / 50
Kris Connor // Getty Images

Clue #24

- Clue: This education reformer took John Quincy Adams’ seat in the House of Representatives, where he vigorously opposed slavery.
- Category: AMERICAN HISTORY
- Value: $2000
- Date episode aired: Friday, May 29, 2020

48 / 50
Hulton Archive // Getty Images

Answer #24: Who is Horace Mann?

Horace Mann began his career as a lawyer and legislator, but later became known for his devotion to public education. Mann pushed for women to be recruited as teachers. Today, a prestigious school bearing his name is located in the Bronx, New York.

49 / 50
Kris Connor // Getty Images

Clue #25

- Clue: In August 2009, former President Bill Clinton helped win the release of two journalists after meeting with this North Korean leader.
- Category: WORLD LEADERS
- Value: $800
- Date episode aired: Thursday, March 18, 2010

50 / 50
noboru hashimoto // Getty Images

Answer #25: Who is Kim Jong-il?

During the 1990s, the Clinton administration worked ardently at establishing ties with North Korea. Almost a decade after leaving office, Clinton helped captives Euna Lee and Laura Ling—reporters with a media outlet founded by Clinton’s vice president Al Gore—in their release from North Korea.

You may also like: The most obedient dog breeds

Trending Now