Friday, April 13, 2012

Presidential Trivia of the Week

Presidential Trivia Questions to Share
with the Young People in Your Life!

Copyright (c) 2008 Wendell Minor
Are YOU playing presidential trivia?! In honor of this year's presidential campaign, the NCBLA is posting three presidential trivia questions each week. Check out this week's questions and have fun sharing the questions and answers with the kids in your life!

This Week's Trivia Questions 
  1. The American Revolution earned America's independence from Great Britain, but in the years after the war, the United States continued to struggle with Britain due to a continued presence of British troops in American territory and the impressment of American ships attempting trade with France. During which president's tenure was war again declared on Britain? 
  2. Who was president when the stock market crashed to trigger the Great Depression?
  3. Which president is credited with confronting America's energy crisis in the late 1970s by creating the Department of Energy and a national energy policy?
A go-to resource for discovering more about America's presidents is the NCBLA's interdisciplinary anthology Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out, and it's coordinating educational website! An incomparable collection of essays, personal accounts, historical fiction, poetry, and a stunning array of original art, Our White House offers a multifaceted look at America’s history through the prism of the White House.

Answers and Information for Learning MORE!
  1. James Madison. Madison's term as president was overwhelmed with the ongoing problem of the war between France and Britain. Shipping rights continued to be denied and trade thwarted as America's ships were constantly attacked. The U.S. declared war on Britain, and continued to lose many more ships. In 1814 the British launched an oppressive assault against the U.S.: fifty ships carrying 4,000 troops landed 35 miles from Washington. The Americans were not prepared, and the British aggressively attacked and burned Washington, D.C., including the White House. An observer noted that “not an inch, but its crack'd and blacken'd wall remained” of the White House the day after it was burned. Victory for the U.S. at Baltimore was then followed by the decisive victory in New Orleans, at which time the peace treaty had already been signed to end America's second war of independence and ensure Madison's term ended with the nation at peace. Learn more about James Madison and his legacy in the Presidential Fact Files on AND, read all about the War of 1812 in the essay "The White House Prepares for War: 1812" by Ralph Ketcham in Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out.
  2. Herbert Hoover. Hoover was president for less than a year when the stock market was seized by the most devastating crash in American history, plunging the U.S. into the period known as the Great Depression and initiating an international economic crisis. The consequences of the crash were devastating as businesses went bankrupt, banks failed, and millions became unemployed. People lost their homes, farmers lost their land, and many lost their life savings. By the end of 1930 more than 1,300 banks had closed across the country. Ultimately the Great Depression witnessed the failure of 10,000 banks and the loss of $2 billion in deposits. Nearly five million Americans were out of work by January 1931. Unfortunately, the economic situation continued to deteriorate and by 1933 nearly 13 million people were unemployed.

    In the days following the crash, Hoover announced his intention to maintain a balanced budget, but to also cut taxes and increase public works spending as a means of providing employment. Though Hoover attempted to rally the people, he firmly believed that providing direct aid to the destitute was not the job of the federal government. Rather, he believed that local communities should take charge of administering assistance to those in need.

    Hoover did intervene, however, through the creation of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) in January 1932, an independent federal agency authorized to lend money to rebuild the U.S. economy. The RFC distributed $1.5 billion by the end of 1932 in the form of aid to state and local governments and loans to banks, railroads, farm mortgage associations, and other financial institutions. The RFC also lent money for public works projects, such as hydroelectric plants and toll bridges, that would eventually pay for themselves. Many blamed Hoover for the Depression, and he was easily beaten by Franklin Roosevelt in the following election. Today many historians believe that Hoover could not possibly have solved the economic crisis, though he might have eliminated human suffering by authorizing direct relief.
    Learn more about Herbert Hoover and his legacy in the Presidential Fact Files on AND, check out the comic strip titled "Hoover's One Term" by Matt Phelan in Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out.
  3. James Earl Carter.  Carter attempted to control the energy crisis by creating the Department of Energy and a national energy policy. He appealed directly to the public regarding the need to reduce consumption on an individual level. Carter also strengthened environmental protection laws, expanded the national park system to protect 103 million acres of Alaskan wilderness, and signed legislation to ensure the financial solvency of Social Security. Learn more about Jimmy Carter and his legacy in the Presidential Fact Files on
Our White House is available
in both hardcover and paperback from Candlewick Press.
Ask for it at a library or bookstore near you!

And be sure to check out the companion educational website,, which provides expanded book content that includes additional articles, resources, activities, and discussion questions related to book topics as well exclusive resources and articles regarding the presidency, presidential campaigns, and presidential elections.