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Question of The Week:

A.P. U.S. History and A. P. Government and Politics

Go to This Week's Question

Each week I will ask a question relating to either American history or politics. You should e-mail me the answer to get extra credit. Please put QOW in your email subject line. Try your luck at guessing or researching the answers to this week's question. Answers will be posted after I have posted the answer at school on the following Monday. No answers will be accepted after 6:00 AM on that Monday morning. Please put QOW in the heading of your email and be sure to tell me what period you are in.

Go to This Week's Question - By Monday morning, this link will take you to the new question for next week, so be sure you answer the question for the correct week. If your answer comes in after I've already posted the answer, you will not get credit. I will always let you know if you've gotten the answer right so if you don't hear back from me within 24 hours, I probably didn't receive your email. If you're wrong, you can try again and again until you're successful; however, that will change after the first grading period.


Week of August 15 - 27

President Trump has made his second nomination to the Supreme Court.  Lots of presidents have had two nominations seated on the Court.  Only six presidents have named a majority of the Court – that means, at least five of their nominees were confirmed and seated.  President Grant had five nominated and confirmed, but Edwin Stanton died just four days after being nominated so Grant doesn’t qualify for this list.  Name the six presidents who did nominate and see at least five justices confirmed to sit on the Court.

George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, William Howard Taft, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Dwight D. Eisenhower

Week of August 27 - September 3

In honor of Labor Day, here is a labor-related question.  While unions today usually support the Democrats, they have, on occasion supported a Republican. 

A. What union, which had endorsed the Republican candidate in 1980, went on strike in August, 1981 thinking that it would have the support of the American people and force the President to give in to his demands? 

PATCO or Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization

B. Name that president who, despite their prior support for him, fired all the striking workers from the union in Question A and replaced them based on federal law that bans strikes by government employees?  This moment is regarded as one of the turning points in the history of labor in recent decades.  Ronald Reagan

C. Another turning point came about as a result of an earlier action taken by a man whom the president in Question B greatly admired.  While governor of Massachusetts, prior to becoming president, this man responded to a strike by Boston police by firing many of the striking police officers, hiring unemployed WWI veterans, and saying, "There is no right to strike against the public safety, anywhere, anytime."  Public admiration for his actions led to his being put on the GOP ticket in 1920.  Name that future president. Calvin Coolidge

September 3 - 10

We’ve talked in AP Government about felon voting rights.  However, there are several figures in American history who had been convicted of a crime and either ran for office from prison or with convictions on their records.  Answer these questions about such men.

1) Identify this man who ran for the presidency five times on the Socialist Party ticket, the last time he was in jail having been convicted under the Sedition Act which had been passed during WWI. Eugene V. Debs

2) Name this member of the House of Representatives from both Vermont and Kentucky who, in a famous episode from American history, had written editorials charging that the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 were unconstitutional and was convicted of violating those laws and put in jail.  He ran for office from his jail cell and won election. Matthew Lyon

3) Name this former mayor of Washington, D.C. who was arrested by the FBI as part of a sting operation that caught him smoking crack cocaine.  He was convicted and sent to prison.  When he finished his sentence, he was elected again to serve as mayor and then served on the Council of the District of Columbia until his death in 2014. Marion Barry

September 10 - 17

Name these lesser known, yet still important, Founding Fathers.

1. This man wrote much of the actual words of the Constitution, including the famous “We the People…” preamble.  He was known for his many love affairs and reportedly lost his leg when he jumped from a window to escape a jealous husband.  He served as ambassador to France during the Reign of Terror. Gouverneur Morris   

2. This man was a major financier of the Revolution, managing the economy of the new country.  He personally financed most of the ships American privateers used in the war and paid for an estimated 80% of the bullets used in the war and supplied the funds to supply Washington’s army at Yorktown.  In 1781, he also paid much of the debt of the country out of his personal fortune.  Despite all his efforts to finance the newborn country, he, unfortunately, lost most of his fortune after he speculated in land.  Robert Morris

3. This founder served as a governor (or as it was titled at the time – the president) of both Pennsylvania and Delaware.  Despite his arguments against the British power to tax the colonists, he sought reconciliation with Britain and opposed declaring independence.  He refused to sign the Declaration of Independence, but resigned from the Continental Congress and joined the Pennsylvania and later the Delaware militia.  He also drafted the Articles of Confederation.  He donated his library to a Pennsylvania college that is now named for him. John Dickinson


September 17 - 24

Name these vice presidents or vice-presidential candidates who resigned. 

1. Name this famous 19th century politician who has the distinction of having served for two consecutive presidents who actually had faced each other in election.  He resigned his position under the second president he served and became a senator from South Carolina. John C. Calhoun

2. Only the second vice president to resign his office, this man had to resign to face charges of accepting bribes while he had been both Governor of Maryland and Vice President.  Name this man who resigned as part of plea deal to escape worse charges and whose resignation triggered the first use of the 25th Amendment. Spiro T. Agnew

3. This man never became vice president.  Name this man who was only briefly on the Democratic presidential ticket.  During the election campaign, it was revealed that he’d received electric-shock treatment for depression.  The presidential candidate first said that he supported this man “1000 per cent,” but despite this mathematically impossible level of support, the ensuing uproar led this man to resign from the campaign.  He was replaced by the man who would one day be Arnold Schwarzenegger’s father-in-law. Thomas Eagleton

September 24 - October 1

From now on, you will not receive a second chance if you get the answer of any part of the question wrong. So double-check your answers and make sure you "Answer the Question!"

Since we will discuss in GoPo key moments in the history of political debates this unit, here are some questions about the history of presidential debates in American elections.

1) In what year and during a debate between what two candidates, did the audio feed from the debate go out?  For 27 minutes, the two candidates just stood there on camera without speaking.
1976 between Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter

2) Which Democratic candidate used a Wendy’s slogan that had become a popular catchphrase in the 1980s to such good effect to indicate the emptiness of another Democratic candidate’s call for “new ideas” that it helped him win the nomination, although he went on to lose in the general election? Walter Mondale

3) Which presidential and vice presidential candidates both referred to one of their opponents having a gay daughter during their debates?  These episodes consumed much of the post-debate discussion and led that daughter’s mother to say that the presidential candidate was “not a good man.” John Kerry and John Edwards

October 1 - 8

From now on, you will not receive a second chance if you get the answer of any part of the question wrong. So double-check your answers and make sure you "Answer the Question!"

Name the holders of these codenames that the Secret Service has used for presidents.  It might not surprise you that the nickname for President Trump is “Mogul.”

A. Lancer - John F. Kennedy

B. Scorecard - Dwight D. Eisenhower

C. Searchlight - Richard Nixon

D. Deacon - Jimmy Carter

October 8 - 15

From now on, you will not receive a second chance if you get the answer of any part of the question wrong. So double-check your answers and make sure you "Answer the Question!"

Answer these questions about the media and presidents.

1. Which president’s wife owned both a radio and a television station? Lyndon Johnson's wife, Lady Bird Johnson

2. Which president had a list of political opponents, including several journalists, politicians, and even actors, that was known as his “Enemies List” or “Political Enemies Project”?  The list was used to get the IRS to audit their taxes and use the government in other ways to “screw our political enemies.”  Many of those on the list were quite proud of being there. Richard Nixon

3. Which president’s Justice Department seized the phone records of many journalists for the Associated Press to try to track down a leak? Barack Obama

October 15 - 22

From now on, you will not receive a second chance if you get the answer of any part of the question wrong. So double-check your answers and make sure you "Answer the Question!"

We’ve been talking about the temperance movement in APUSH so here are some questions inspired by the history of presidents and alcohol. 

1. Which president’s wife earned the nickname “Lemonade Lucy” because she was a big supporter of the temperance movement and her husband had banned alcohol from being served in the White House? Rutherford B. Hayes' wife, Lucy

2. During Prohibition, which president, who had actually voted for Prohibition as a senator, ignored the law and would kick back with friends to drink alcohol and smoke during regular poker games in the White House?  One story has that a guest brought a pet monkey to the gathering and the monkey poured a bottle all over that president’s white suit.  Warren G. Harding

3. Which president campaigned for the White House promising to repeal federal Prohibition laws and the 18th Amendment, partly to bring in new tax revenues, saying “What America needs now is a drink.”  Franklin D. Roosevelt

4. Which vice president went to visit his friend, the Speaker of the House for a drink when he was told to return immediately to the White House where he found out that the president he died and he was now president? Harry Truman

October 22 - 29

From now on, you will not receive a second chance if you get the answer of any part of the question wrong. So double-check your answers and make sure you "Answer the Question!"

With the possibility that the majority in the Senate could change hands this election, I thought we could look back at past majority leaders of the Senate.  The position of Senate Majority Leader is relatively recent, dating back to the 1920s.  Name these prominent men who have served in that position.

1) Only one Senate Majority Leader went on to become president. Name him. Lyndon B. Johnson

2) In addition to the answer for #1, there was one other Senate Majority Leader who received his party’s nomination for the presidency, although he lost to the incumbent president.  He had previously run, also unsuccessfully, for the vice presidency.  Name that man. Bob Dole

3) One Senate Majority Leader was the son of a former president.  He was regarded as one of the greatest senators of history with the nickname “Mr. Republican.” He wished to run for president, but never received the nomination.  Name that man. Robert Taft

October 29 - November 5

From now on, you will not receive a second chance if you get the answer of any part of the question wrong. So double-check your answers and make sure you "Answer the Question!"

In honor of Halloween, answer these questions about ghosts that supposedly have haunted the White House.

1. The ghost of which president, the first to have died in the White House, is said to haunt the attic? William Henry Harrison

2. Name this First Lady, the first to inhabit the White House, who hung her laundry to dry in the East Room and whom the White House staff still claim to see heading to the East Room with her laundry which they claim to be able to smell. Abigail Adams

3. Mary Todd Lincoln who held séances to try to contact her dead sons, said that she heard a former president stomping and swearing around.  Name that president whose former bedchamber, the Rose Room, is supposed to be one of the most haunted rooms in the White House. Andrew Jackson

4. Name this other president whose ghosts lots of famous people have claimed to see.  Reportedly, Winston Churchill came out of his bath stark naked and saw this president leaning on the fireplace’s mantle.  Churchill said, “Good evening, Mr. President.  You seem to have me at a disadvantage.“ The ghost then vanished, but maybe he just didn’t want to see Churchill naked.  Abraham Lincoln

November 5 - 12

Answer these questions about unfortunate bystanders to presidential assassinations or assassination attempts.

1.  On the night that Abraham Lincoln was shot at the theater, there was a young engaged couple who accompanied them.  The young man, a major in the Union army, tried to grab John Wilkes Booth, but Booth slashed open his arm.  Although this couple later married and had three children, the husband had increasing episodes of some sort of mania, perhaps a form of PTSD from the assassination.  He became crazed with jealousy and eventually murdered his wife.  Name this tragic man. Henry Rathbone

2. Before Franklin Roosevelt became president, there was an assassination attempt on the president elect when he was visiting Florida.  FDR was not hurt but the mayor of Chicago, who had been shaking hands with the future president at the time of the assassination attempt, died from the injuries he suffered.  Name that unfortunate mayor who reportedly told FDR, “I’m glad it was me instead of you.” Anton Cermak

3. When John Hinckley tried to kill Ronald Reagan, the press secretary was standing next to him.  This unfortunate man was left partially paralyzed, slurred speech, and memory loss.  He and his wife formed an organization to control gun violence and a 1993 law that mandated federal background checks is named for him.  Name this man whose death 33 years later was ruled a result of homicide. James Brady

November 12 - 19

Answer these questions that come from Jeopardy about Secretaries of State.

1. This question comes courtesy of the Final Jeopardy Battle of the Decades tournament a few years ago.  The entire contest to find the overall best Jeopardy champion and winner of the $1,000,000 grand prize came down to a question from American history.  See how you can do.

Name the only two Secretaries of State, serving 160 years apart, who were the only Secretaries of State never to have married.  One of them went on to become our only bachelor president.

James Buchanan and Condoleezza Rice

2) This question is from a couple of years ago on Jeopardy.  Name these two Secretaries of State who both graduated ten years apart in political science from Wellesley.

Madeleine Albright and Hillary Clinton

November 19 - 26

Name these cabinet officials who were involved in scandals.

1. Name this Secretary of War under President Ulysses Grant who had to resign for taking bribes in return for appointing contracts for trading posts on Native American land. William Belknap

2. Name this Secretary of the Interior under President Warren G. Harding who had accepted bribes for leasing to drill on federal land at Teapot Dome, Wyoming.  He became the first cabinet officer sentenced to prison. Albert Fall

3. Name this former Attorney General under Richard Nixon who was sentenced to prison after having been found guilty of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and perjury for his role in the Watergate scandal. John Mitchell

November 26 - Dec. 3

This will be the last set of QOW’s for the semester.  Check back over break for next semester’s first question.

Name these famous figures from the Civil War who went on to build political careers after the war.

1) This man who, as a young man, was one of Abraham Lincoln’s two private secretaries, and went on to serve as Secretary of State to Presidents McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt. John Hay

2) The major general who was a three-time governor of Rhode Island.  He also served as the first president of the National Rifle Association. Ambrose Burnside

3) This controversial major general and one-time commander-in-chief of the Union Army who was later elected governor of New Jersey. George McClellan

Week of January 7 - 14

Answer these questions about metaphorical language in American politics.

1) A “dark horse” candidate is a little-known candidate who surprises observers by winning a nomination or election.  Who is regarded as the first dark-horse candidate for the American presidency who won the election? James K. Polk

2) The term “smoke-filled room” has been used to refer to a group of political power brokers gathering together to select who should be the nominee for the party.  In what year was the term first used for choosing a presidential nominee?  And who was the candidate chosen at that convention who eventually went on to be elected president?  Make sure to give both the year and candidate. Warren G. Harding in 1920

3) The term “front-porch campaign” has been used to refer to a candidate who stays home and makes speeches to supporters who come to visit the campaign at his home.  Although the term has sometimes been used to refer to the 1880, 1888, and 1920 presidential campaigns, it is most often used to refer to the campaign of which ultimately successful candidate whose home was visited by more than 700,000 supporters?   Make sure to give both the year and candidate. William McKinley in 1896

Week of January 14 - 21

Answer these questions about the passage of amendments to the U.S. Constitution

1) Which is the only amendment that was ratified using state ratifying conventions instead of ratification by state legislatures? 21st Amendment

2) The efforts to ratify the 19th Amendment in 1920 so that women could vote in that year’s election came down to one state where political divisions cast the outcome in doubt.  There was intense lobbying on both side and allegations that one young member of that state’s legislature had been bribed by the pro-suffrage forces.  This man made a statement on the legislature floor denying any bribery and saying that one reason he was voting in favor of suffrage was because he knew a boy should follow his mother’s advice and she had advised him to vote for ratification.  Name that state whose vote ensured that women would get the vote in time to vote in the 1920 election. Tennessee

3) Which state was admitted to the Union on October 31, 1864 in order to have another state to vote to ratify the proposed Thirteenth Amendment?  Although some people claimed that this territory was too “superfluous and petty” to be a state, President Lincoln supposedly said that it was easier to admit this state “than to raise another million of soldiers.”  This state now celebrates this day as a state holiday and until 2000 celebrated Halloween on October 30 so as not to conflict with their celebration of their admission to the Union. Nevada


Week of January 21 - 28

In honor of the football playoffs, answer these questions about football and presidents.

1) Which president is credited for saving football by helping to negotiate changes in the game to end the violence that had led to severe injuries and even deaths on the field?  There had been a serious movement to abolish the sport until this president stepped in.  As a result of his mediation, certain types of tackling were banned, the number of yards for a first down was changed to ten yards, and the forward pass was introduced. Teddy Roosevelt

2) Which future president played football in college leading the University of Michigan Wolverines to two national titles?  He turned down offers from the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers in order to go to Yale Law School.  As president, he often had the Naval band play the Michigan fight song instead of “Hail to the Chief.” Gerald Ford

3) Which president is said to have called in a play to Redskins coach, George Allen, in a playoff game against 49ers?  Richard Nixon

Week of January 28 - February 4

Answer these questions about the appearance of three presidents.

1. Which president worked briefly as a male model and actually appeared on the 1942 cover of Cosmopolitan? Gerald Ford

2. About which president did Harry Truman write the following in his memoirs? He was “one of the best-looking men ever in the White House. He was also one of the vainest men ever to occupy of the White House, which I guess was on account of the fact that he was so good looking.” Franklin Pierce

3. When I was young, I heard a comedian of the day, David Steinberg, say that he was going to tell us something about a president and we were “never going to see him the same way again, because…the strange, mystical thing about the truth is, once you’ve heard it, it remains lodged in your memory forever.” And he was right, I’ve never been able to forget Steinberg’s description of this president as having “a face that looks like a foot.” And once you look this up, you’ll never forget it when you see pictures of that president. Name the president with a face like a foot. Richard Nixon

Week of February 4 - 11

Answer these questions about the health of three presidents.

1) Which president, while watching an NFL playoff game got a pretzel stuck in his throat which caused him to temporarily pass out? George W. Bush

2) Which president used to invite opponents into the White House to box with him?  One time his sparring partner hit him so hard in his eye that his retina was detached and he became blind in one eye.  He stopped boxing, but took up jiu jitsu instead. Theodore Roosevelt

3) Which president secretly had surgery for a tumor in his mouth while he was aboard a yacht so that his health scare would be kept secret from the public because of nervousness as the country had entered a depression? Grover Cleveland

Week of February 11 - 18

In honor of Presidents Day, find out which presidents are depicted in the following movies.

  1. Amistad John Quincy Adams and Martin van Buren
  2. Sunrise at Campobello Franklin Delano Roosevelt
  3. The Buccaneer Andrew Jackson
  4. PT 109 John F. Kennedy
  5. The Wind and the Lion Theodore Roosevelt

Week of February 18 - 25

Regarding State of the Union addresses, there is a historic tradition that journalists have taken to referring to as “Lenny Skutniks.”  Answer these questions about Lenny Skutnik.

1) What is this tradition? His presence started the trend of presidents inviting guests to sit with the First Lady during the State of the Union Address and then to be pointed out during the speech.

2) Who was Lenny Skutnik?  What was it he had done that made him temporarily famous? He had rescued a woman when a plane crashed into the Potomac by diving into the icy water and saving her when the rescuers were unable to help her.

3) Who was the president who began the Lenny Skutnik tradition? Ronald Reagan

Week of February 25 - March 4

Even before we had a president who starred in a reality show, TV and politics have often had a strange alliance.  Answer these questions about some famous moments in TV and political history.

1) Name this TV show featuring two brothers that became so controversial in the 1960s because of their satire of current politics, the war in Vietnam, and racial relations that CBS finally cancelled it.  It also featured comedian Pat Paulsen who launched his own comedic runs for the presidency in 1968, 1972, 1980, 1988, 1992, and 1996. Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour

2) Name this other comedy- variety show that ran from 1968 – 1972 that featured short sketch comedy on which Richard Nixon appeared during the 1968 campaign saying the show’s signature line, “Sock it to me?” Nixon later claimed that that appearance on the show helped him get elected, especially since his opponent, Hubert Humphrey, declined an appearance. Rowan and Martin's Laugh In

3) On which popular evening talk show did Bill Clinton in 1992 wearing sun glasses and playing “Heartbreak Hotel” on the saxophone?  That appearance marked a change the success of Clinton appealing to a younger, more hip audience than politicians had done previously. Arsenio Hall Show

Week of March 4 - 11

Answer these questions about people who had trouble with their nominations to the Supreme Court.

1. Who was the man Ronald Reagan nominated for the Supreme Court whose name had to be withdrawn when it was disclosed that he had smoked marijuana with some of his students in the 1970s? Douglas Ginsburg

2. Name this Supreme Court justice who had previously been appointed as a lawyer in one of the Court’s most famous cases.  He was a close friend of the president who had convinced another justice to resign so that there would be an opening.  After this justice was put on the Court he provoked criticism for supposedly giving the president political advice while sitting on the Court.  When he was nominated to be the Chief Justice, his opponents planned a filibuster over news that he had accepted payment for speeches from business groups that might appear before the Court.  He eventually withdrew his name for the Chief Justice nomination.  He was forced later to resign when a new scandal came to light about his accepting money from a financier under investigation for securities violation.

 Abe Fortas

3.  Richard Nixon had couple of his nominees turned down in the Senate.  One of those nominees was criticized for his supposed support for racial segregation and for being mediocre.  In his defense, a Republican senator argued, “Even if he were mediocre, there are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers. They are entitled to a little representation, aren't they, and a little chance?”  Unsurprisingly, this was not considered a persuasive argument. 

G. Harrold Carswell

Week of March 11 - 18

When Neil Gorsuch was confirmed to a seat on the Supreme Court, there was one way that he stood out on the current Court.   He is Protestant.  In the history of the Supreme Court, almost all of the justices have been Protestants.  However, we have an anomalous situation now when the religious make-up of the Court is three Jews and five Catholics and one lone Protestant. Answer these questions about religion and the Supreme Court.

1) Name all five Catholic justices on the current Court. (Hint: remember that Anthony Kennedy is no longer on the Court.) John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Sonia Sotomayor, and Brett Kavanaugh

2) Name the first Catholic justice in the history of the Supreme Court. Roger Taney

3) Name the first Jewish justice in the history of the Supreme Court. Louis Brandeis

Week of March 18 - 25

Last week President Trump issued his first veto so it’s time to answer these questions about presidential vetoes:

1) There is only one president who served two full terms yet who had zero vetoes. Name him. Thomas Jefferson

2) Which president had the most vetoes overridden by Congress? Andrew Johnson

3) Of president who served two terms or fewer, which one had the most vetoes? Grover Cleveland

Week of March 25 - April 1

Following the NCAA tournament brings back memories of a time when the final game almost had to be postponed because it fell on the day of the assassination attempt against Ronald Reagan.  Answer some questions about that day.

1) The NCAA tournament was going to be postponed, but it was finally decided to let the game go forward.  Which two teams played that evening and who won? Indiana, led by Isaiah Thomas, defeated UNC

2) The assassin shot Reagan in an attempt to become a national figure and impress an actress.  Name that man who almost killed Reagan and the actress whose attention he was trying to win. John Hinckley was obsessed with Jodi Foster

3) Although the NCAA tournament did go on as scheduled that night, what other nationally televised event, which the assassin even asked about as he was arrested, was postponed one night out of respect for the President?  The Oscars

Week of April 1 - 8

The question from April 1 - 8 is the last QOW for the year. GoPo will have a last quiz this week and so won't need more extra credit. APUSH has the last question next week and so won’t need any more QOW points, but you also have lots of extra credit opportunities by coming to the review sessions.

Thank you for participating. Check back in the Fall for next year's questions.

In honor the start of baseball season, answer these questions about U.S. presidents and baseball

1) It is now a tradition, but who was the first president to throw out the opening pitch?  Some rumors credit him with solidifying the tradition of the seventh inning stretch when he stood up to stretch during a game. William Howard Taft

2) Which president had worked as a young man as a sports announcer for the Chicago Cubs calling baseball games?  As president, he also became the only president to do call play-by-play while in office. Ronald Reagan

3) Which president had partial ownership of a baseball team and was the managing general partner of that team? George W. Bush

4) Which president was reportedly playing baseball with friends when messengers came to tell him he’d won the presidential nomination for his party?  He supposedly said of the news, "I am glad to hear of their coming, but they will have to wait a few minutes until I get my turn at bat." Abraham Lincoln 









You should e-mail me the answer to get extra credit. Try your luck at guessing or researching the answers to this week's question. Answers will be posted after I have posted the answer at school on the following Monday. No answers will be accepted after 6:00 AM on that Monday morning.