University of Wisconsin–Madison

How well do you know the U.S. Constitution?

featuring questions from:

The Constitutional Convention of 1787 : a Comprehensive Encyclopedia of America's Founding

By way of introduction, this two volume set provides comprehensive treatment of the persons, philosophies, debates, and compromises involved in the drafting of the U.S. Constitution.  Biographies of all 55 delegates, analysis of competing political viewpoints, civil liberties, the scope of authority of the three branches of government, and a host of other constitutional issues are presented here in an easily accessible A-Z format.  You can find this fascinating and informative tome in the library's Reference Collection at KF4510 V55 2005.

For everyone's fun and entertainment, there is also a quiz: "How well do you know the U.S. Constitution?"  From among the 40 questions total, this week's column will present a selection of them to test your knowledge of the U.S. Constitution.  The answers will be presented below following the questions, but no peeking until you've at least tried to answer the questions first.

So without further ado:

1) By what name was the current state of Tennessee called at the Constitutional Convention?

2) What Maryland meeting preceded the U.S. Constitutional Convention?

3) What prominent orator refused to attend the Constitutional Convention reputedly because he "smelt a rat"?

4) Which Virginia delegate who attended the Constitutional Convention was the second law professor to be appointed in the English-speaking world?

5) What was the most important compromise between the large states and the small states?

6) What was the first state to ratify the Constitution?

7) Which Massachusetts delegate who refused to sign the Constitution was later elected as vice president?

8) Which delegate to the Continental Congress was most responsible for drawing up a continental government to replace that of Great Britain?

9) How many states were represented at the Constitutional Convention?

10) According to the Constitution, how many states would have to ratify the document before it went into effect?


1) Franklin, or Frankland.

2) The Annapolis Convention.

3) Patrick Henry.

4) George Wythe.

5) The Great Compromise or Connecticut Compromise involved state representation in the two houses of Congress.

6) Delaware.  Its license plates accordingly bear the logo "The First State."

7) Elbridge Gerry.

8) John Dickinson.

9) Twelve.  Rhode Island did not send delegates.

10) Nine.

Submitted by Eric Taylor, Evening Reference Librarian on March 24, 2015

This article appears in the categories: Law Library

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