Quiz on the War Between the States

Test your knowledge of the War Between the States with the following quiz. These questions are not intended to be "trick" questions, but the answers (which are below) may surprise you.


  1. True or False: The War Between the States proved the illegality of secession.
  2. True or False: The federal government, not the states, is the legal sovereign since the War Between the States.
  3. True or False: The Emancipation Proclamation freed all slaves in the United States.
  4. True or False: The Confederacy initiated the War Between the States by firing on Fort Sumter.
  5. True or False: The United States Constitution gives the President the authority to suppress rebellions in the states.
  6. True or False: The Constitution of the Confederate States of America is similar to that of the United States of America.
  7. Of the Constitution of the Confederate States and that of the United States, which had the strongest prohibition against the importation of slaves?
  8. In how many of the 13 original states was slavery legal when the Declaration of Independence was signed? In how many was slavery legal when the Constitution of 1787 was adopted?
  9. Which state was admitted into the Union under the Missouri Compromise?
  10. True or False: Delaware was the first state.
  11. As they observed the War Between the States from Europe, Karl Marx and Frederick Engels supported the revolutionary tactics of which party in America: a) Democrats, b) Whigs, c) Know-Nothings, d) Republicans?
  12. What was reconstructed during the post-War Reconstruction period: a) the buildings and infrastructure that had been destroyed during the War, b) the good-will between North and South, or c) the Constitution of the United States.
  13. The Constitution of the United States refers to the United States as a) singular, or b) plural.


  1. False. West Virginia successfully seceded from Virginia during the War Between the States, in spite of Article IV, Section 3 of the United States Constitution, which states that "no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or Parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress."
  2. False. As a de facto matter, the federal government acts as if it were sovereign. However, as a matter of law, the Colorado Constitution, adopted in 1876 (11 years after the close of the War Between the States), says, in Article II, Section 2, "The people of this state have the sole and exclusive right of governing themselves, as a free, sovereign and independent state; and to alter and abolish their constitution and form of government whenever they may deem it necessary to their safety and happiness, provided, such change be not repugnant to the constitution of the United States."
  3. False, on several grounds. First, everyone, including Lincoln, recognized that the Emancipation Proclamation was a legal nullity. Second, it specifically applied only to slaves in seceded states, and then only to those slaves in counties that were occupied by Confederate forces. Slaves in states such as Kentucky, Missouri, Maryland, and in federally occupied counties in Louisiana were specifically exempted from the Proclamation.
  4. False. It is pretty simple to judge which side started the war by the location of the early battles. Fort Sumter is in South Carolina, and Manassas is in Virginia. In each case, the Confederate forces were defending themselves from invasion.
  5. False, unless the legislature or the governor of the state has applied for such assistance. See Article IV, Section 4.
  6. True. There are only a handful of minor differences between the two.
  7. That of the Confederate States. It strictly prohibited the importation of slaves, while the United States Constitution left this matter in the control of Congress after 1808. As a practical matter, both effectively restricted the importation of slaves.
  8. In 1776, all of them. In 1787, all of them except Massachusetts.
  9. Maine, in 1820. By the time Missouri was admitted in 1821, the Missouri Compromise had been abandoned by the Northern states, and Missouri was admitted under a different set of principles. See Stephens' Constitutional View of the War Between the States, Vol. II, Colloquy XV (included on the "Cause of the South" CD).
  10. False. All thirteen of the original colonies became free, sovereign, and independent states simultaneously, regardless of whether they became so in 1776, when independence from Britain was declared, or when Britain recognized their independence in 1783. With regard to which state first became a state in the United States, there were at least five states that ratified the Articles of Confederation before Delaware did. With regard to the new Constitution of 1787, it is correct to say that Delaware was the first state to ratify it. However, since the new Constitution was not effective until the ratification of nine states, those nine states came under the jurisdiction of the new Constitution simultaneously upon the ratification of the ninth state.
  11. d. Marx and Engels correctly identified the tactics of the Republican party, waged with the resources of the United States, as being revolutionary, and strongly supported the Northern cause.
  12. c. The meaning of Reconstruction is that the Constitution of the United States was rebuilt on principles quite contrary to its original intent.
  13. b. The Constitution refers to the United States in the plural. See, for example, Article II, Section 1, paragraph 6 (in the original), where the President is prohibited from receiving additional payments "from the United States, or any of them." See also Article III, Section 3: "Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort."