James Wilson

Quiz


1. What was James Wilson’s country of birth?

2. True or False: James Wilson signed the Constitution but not the Declaration of Independence.

3. True or False: At the Constitutional Convention, Wilson was one of the relatively inactive members.

4. Who appointed Wilson to the Supreme Court?

5. True or False: During the War for Independence, Wilson was sent to negotiate with the Indians.

6. What teaching position did Wilson hold concurrent to his time in the Supreme Court?


A Lost Founder

One Founding Father we should definitely remember was James Wilson, born on September 14, 1742. Take the above quiz and see what you know about him!

In the modern rewriting of our American history, some of our nation’s Founding Fathers have been wrongly misportrayed as people not worthy of study, but most have simply been ignored. As a consequence, many worthy heroes are now forgotten. Fortunately, the Scriptures encourage us to study the past: “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning” (Romans 15:4).

James Wilson can teach us much that is relevant today, including about the important role that religion plays in civil law:

Far from being rivals or enemies, religion and law are twin sisters, friends, and mutual assistants. Indeed these two sciences run into each other. The Divine law, as discovered by reason and the moral sense, forms an essential part of both.1

Take some time to learn about James Wilson, and then share what you learn with others. Wilson is one of the heroes who helped make America a great nation!


How did you do? Check your answers!

1. Wilson was born in Scotland in 1742, he immigrated to America in 1766.2

2. False. James Wilson signed both the Declaration of Independence3 and the Constitution.4

3. False. James Wilson was the second most-active delegate at the Constitutional Convention, speaking 168 times on the floor of the Convention.5

4. George Washington. James Wilson was one of the original Supreme Court justices, serving from 1789 to 1798.6

5. True.7

6. Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania. Wilson organized the first systematic legal training in America, teaching classes to law students while simultaneously sitting as a Justice on the US Supreme Court.8 Prior to Wilson’s law classes, law students were largely individually trained and apprenticed in the law.


Endnotes

1 James Wilson, The Works of the Honourable James Wilson, ed. Bird Wilson (Philadelphia: Lorenzo Press, 1804), III:106.
2 “James Wilson,” B. J. Lossing, Biographical Sketches of the Signers of the Declaration of American Independence (New York: George F. Cooledge, 1848), 126.
3 “Signers of the Declaration: Biographical Sketches,” National Park Service, accessed December 15, 2023.
4 “Signers of the Constitution: Biographical Sketches,” National Park Service, accessed December 15, 2023.
5 See, for example, Mark David Hall, “Justice, Law, and the Creation of the American Republic: The Forgotten Legacy of James Wilson,” June 1, 2009, The Heritage Foundation; “Forgotten Founders: Gouverneur Morris,” June 8, 2020, National Constitution Center.
6 “Wilson, James,” Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, accessed December 15, 2023.
7 “James Wilson,” Lossing, Biographical Sketches of the Signers (1848), 128.
8 “A Biography of James Wilson,” University of Groningen, accessed December 15, 2023.

Dr. Benjamin Rush


Take the Benjamin Rush Quiz!

  1. Which two former Presidents did Benjamin Rush help reconcile?
  2. What was the name of the society that Benjamin Rush helped form to start Sunday Schools?
  3. What other Founding Father helped Benjamin Rush found America’s first anti-slavery society?
  4. How many colleges and universities did Benjamin Rush help establish?
  5. What was the name of the colonial law requiring children to know how to read, and establishing public schools for that purpose?

Dr. Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was considered by John Adams to be one of America’s three most notable Founding Fathers, ranking alongside George Washington and Benjamin Franklin. 1 But his contributions to America were not purely political, even though those were very significant. 2

Rush is also known as the “Father of American Medicine.” 3 He was a founding member of America’s first Bible Society 4 and is credited with helping begin the American Sunday School movement. 5  He helped organize America’s first Anti-Slavery society 6 and was a leader in the national abolition movement. 7 He held multiple university professorships, 8 and is properly titled “The Father of Public Schools Under the Constitution,” being an advocate for free public schools for all youth. 9

As families across the nation send millions of children back to school 10 each year, it is a good time to review the intent behind America’s original educational system: for students to receive a sound academic education based on God’s Word. 11

In fact, in 1791, Dr. Rush wrote a lengthy piece providing a dozen or so reasons why America would continue teaching the Bible in our public schools. (To see a portion of the letter as it was printed by the American Tract society in 1830, visit our website.)


See How you did!

  1. Which two former Presidents did Benjamin Rush help reconcile?
    John Adams and Thomas Jefferson (To see the story behind the reconciliation, read this article.)
  2. What was the name of the society that Benjamin Rush helped form to start Sunday Schools?
    First Day Schools
  3. What other Founding Father helped Benjamin Rush found America’s first anti-slavery society?
    Benjamin Franklin (To see what the Founding Fathers thought of slavery, see here.)
  4. How many colleges and universities did Benjamin Rush help establish?
    Five (The College of Philadelphia, the University of the State of Pennsylvania, the Young Ladies’ Academy of Philadelphia, Dickinson College, and Franklin College)
  5. What was the name of the colonial law requiring children to know how to read, and establishing public schools for that purpose?
    The Old Deluder Satan Act (For additional information, check out Four Centuries of American Education.)

Endnotes

1 John Sanderson, Biography of the Signers to the Declaration of Independence (Philadelphia: R. W. Pomeroy, 1823), IV:283; John Adams to Richard Rush, May 5, 1813, L. H. Butterfield, “The Reputation of Benjamin Rush,” Pennsylvania History, January 1950, XVII:1:9.
2 For example, Dr. Rush pushed for the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, as well as adoption of the 1790 Pennsylvania State Constitution. He was appointed Treasurer of the U.S. Mint by President John Adams, a position which he held under Presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.
3 Thomas D. Mitchell, The Character of Rush (Philadelphia: Published by the Class, John H. Gihon, Printer, 1848), 4.
4 The First Report of the Bible Society Established at Philadelphia; Read before the Society at their Annual Meeting, May 1, 1809 (Philadelphia: Printed by Order of the Society; Fry and Kammerer, Printers, 1809); “Rush, Benjamin,” Dictionary of American Biography.
5 Edwin Wilber Rice, The Sunday-School Movement and the American Sunday-School Union (Philadelphia: American Sunday School Union, 1917 ), 44-45.
6 Constitution of the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery, and the Relief of Free Negroes, Unlawfully Held in Bondage. Begun in the Year 1774, and Enlarged on the 23rd of April, 1787. (Philadelphia: Francis Bailey, 1788), 8; “Rush, Benjamin,” Dictionary of American Biography; Thomas Clarkson, Abolition of the African Slave-Trade, by the British Parliament (Augusta: P.A. Brinsmade, 1830), 1:66-69.
7 Centennial Anniversary of the Pennsylvania Society, for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery, the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage, and for Improving the Condition of the African Race (Philadelphia: Grant, Faires, & Rodgers, 1875), 15.
8Benjamin Rush,” University of Pennsylvania, accessed October 26, 2023.
9 David Ramsay, An Eulogium upon Benjamin Rush, M. D. (Philadelphia: Bradford and Inskeep, 1813), 107; Benjamin Rush, “Of the Mode of Education Proper in a Republic,” Essays, Literary, Moral and Philosophical (Philadelphia: Thomas and Samuel F. Bradford, 1798), 6-20.
10Public and private elementary and secondary teachers, enrollment, and pupil/teacher ratios: Selected years, fall 1955 through fall 2021,” National Center for Education Statistics, accessed October 26, 2023.
11 Alexis de Tocqueville, The Republic of the United States of America and Its Political Institutions, Reviewed and Examined, trans., Henry Reeves (Garden City, NY: A. S. Barnes & Co., 1851), 41; Edward Kendall, Travels through the Northern Parts of the United States, in the Years 1807 and 1808 (New York: I. Riley, 1809), I:270-271.

How much do you know about the Constitution?

Here are some questions relating to the United States Constitution so you can test your knowledge!

  1. Of the 39 signers of the Constitution, how many had previously signed the Declaration of Independence?
  2. The Constitution was signed in 1787, but was not binding until it was ratified. When did that happen?
  3. Which state was the first to ratify the new constitution?
  4. Which state was the last to ratify the Constitution?
  5. How many articles does the Constitution contain?
  6. Which article is the longest, and why?
  7. The Constitution Convention met in Philadelphia for the purpose of creating a document that would establish a new government for the States. True or False?

On September 17th 1787, in a warm room in Philadelphia, 39 men signed the document that formed our nation: the United States Constitution. With each passing year, America continues her record of having the longest on-going constitutional republic in history. Discover more resources, including lesson plans and activities, on our Constitution Hub!


How’d you do?

  1. Six: Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, Robert Morris, George Clymer, George Read, and James Wilson1
  2. It was ratified on June 21, 1788, when New Hampshire became the 9th state to ratify the Constitution, as specified in Article 7 of the Constitution. The new government under the Constitution came into effect on March 4, 1789.2
  3. Delaware, on December 7, 17873
  4. Rhode island, on May 29, 17904
  5. Seven5
  6. Article I is the longest. It organizes and governs the legislative branch, which was the branch closest to the people and the most important of the three branches. It was therefore given the most, and the most powerful responsibilities.6
  7. False. The purpose was to address and solve the weaknesses that had become apparent under the Articles of Confederation, the document under which the country had been governed during the American Revolution.7

Endnotes

1 “Signers of the Declaration Biographical Sketches,” National Park Service, accessed December 15, 2023.
2 “About the Constitution: FAQs,” National Constitution Center, accessed December 15, 2023.
3 “Observing Constitution Day: Background,” National Archives, accessed December 15, 2023.
4 “Observing Constitution Day: Background,” National Archives, accessed December 15, 2023.
5 “The Constitution of the United States: A Transcript,” National Archives, accessed December 15, 2023.
6 “The Constitution of the United States: A Transcript,” National Archives, accessed December 15, 2023.
7 “Constitution of the United States: Primary Documents in American History,” Library of Congress, accessed December 15, 2023.

Test Your Knowledge: John Quincy Adams

How much do you know about John Quincy Adams?
Take the following quiz to find out!

(Answers at the bottom.)

1. How old was John Quincy Adams when he accompanied his father John Adams (who had been appointed as ambassador) to France, where he became his secretary?

2. Who told John Quincy Adams “[I] would much rather you should have found your grave in the ocean you have crossed, or that any untimely death crop you in your infant years, than see you an immoral, profligate, or graceless child…”?

3. True or False: John Quincy Adams was 18 years old when he received a congressional appointment as secretary to Francis Dana, the American ambassador to Russia.

4. True or False: John Quincy Adams was one of three individuals who served in the U.S. House of Representatives after being President of the United States.

5. True or False: The House of Representatives passed a gag rule to keep John Quincy Adams from introducing petitions calling for the abolition of slavery.

6. What famous Supreme Court case did Adams argue on behalf of a group of captured Africans who had revolted and regained their freedom while on board a ship transporting them into slavery?


Evacuation Day

test-your-knowledge-john-quincy-adams-1March 17 is annually celebrated in Boston as “Evacuation Day,” commemorating the departure of the British from the city after an eleven month occupation at the start of the American Revolution.1 April 19, 1775 through March 17, 1776 was the Siege of Boston. This time encompasses some of the early events of the American Revolution, including the Battles of Lexington and Concord,2 the Battle of Bunker Hill,3 and George Washington taking command of the American army.4

John Quincy Adams, whose family lived near Boston, personally watched the Battle of Bunker Hill at the age of 8.5 Just a few months before, he had performed military drills with the local militia and Minutemen — an event that John Quincy remembered in detail over 50 years later!6

John Quincy Adams spent 68 years of his life in public service for America. Today, on Evacuation Day, his is truly a life worth honoring.


How did you do?

1. He was 10 years old. John Adams went to France in February, 1778 (in his diary, he even talks about a battle his vessel had in early March during the ocean crossing7). John Quincy Adams, born on July 11, 1767, would have been several months shy of his 11th birthday when he accompanied his father.

2. Abigail Adams. See the complete letter from Abigail to John Quincy.8

3. False. John Quincy Adams was 14 years old when he was appointed as Francis Dana’s secretary and translator.9

4. False. Nineteen Presidents have served in the House of Representatives,10 but John Quincy Adams is the only one who was elected to Congress after being president.11

5. True. The “gag rule” was passed by each Congress from 1836-1844, and John Quincy Adams was the leader in the effort that eventually repealed this rule.12

6. United States v. The Amistad, decided in 1841. John Quincy Adams was 73 years old at the time.13 This event is depicted in the famous Hollywood movie Amistad.


Endnotes

1 “The Siege of Boston,” Massachusetts Historical Society, accessed December 8, 2023.
2 “Lexington and Concord,” ushistory.org, accessed December 8, 2023.
3 Bernard Bailyn, “The Battle of Bunker Hill,” Massachusetts Historical Society, accessed December 8, 2023.
4 “Washington takes command of Continental Army in 1775,” April 15, 2016, US Army.
5 “Letter (draft) from John Quincy Adams to Joseph Sturge, March 1846,” Massachusetts Historical Society.
6 John Quincy Adams, entry for August 20, 1827, Memoirs of John Quincy Adams, ed. Charles Francis Adams (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1875), VII:325.
7 John Adams, entry for March 14, 1778, The Works of John Adams, ed. Charles Francis Adams (Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1851), III:108.
8 Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams, June 1778, Letters of Mrs. Adams, ed. Charles Francis Adams (Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1840), I:122-125.
9 Office of the Historian, “Biographies of the Secretaries of State: John Quincy Adams (1767–1848),” Department of State, accessed December 8, 2023.
10 “House Members Who Served as President,” United States House of Representatives, accessed December 8, 2023.
11 “The Election of John Quincy Adams of Massachusetts,” United States House of Representatives, accessed December 8, 2023.
12 “The House “Gag Rule”,” United States House of Representatives, accessed December 8, 2023.
13 “The Amistad Case,” National Archives, accessed December 8, 2023.

Who Was Charles Carroll?

Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Who in the world is Charles Carroll? Sadly, few Americans today know the answer to this question. Test your knowledge of this famous Founding Father by taking the following quiz!

 

  • True or False: Charles Carroll was the last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence.
  • True or False: He was present for the vote on the Declaration of Independence.
  • True or False: He was involved with a bill for the abolition of slavery in Maryland.
  • True or False: He helped create a major railroad company in America.
  • How many children did Carroll have?
  • Charles Carroll was the only signer of the Declaration to be a member of what religious group?

Charles Carroll was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, helped draft the 1776 original constitution of Maryland, and was an original United States Senator where he helped frame the Bill of Rights.

At WallBuilders, we have a vast collection of historical documents, including several handwritten letters from Charles Carroll. In an interesting one from 1825 to Charles Wharton (an Episcopal clergyman), Carroll makes a very clear statement about his personal faith, declaring:

Too much of my time & attention have been misapplied on matters to which an impartial Judge, penetrating the secrets of hearts, before whom I shall soon appear, will ascribe merit deserving recompense. On the mercy of my redeemer I rely for salvation and on His merits; not on the works I have done in obedience to His precepts [Ephesians 2:8-9].


How did you do? Check your answers below!

  • True: Charles Carroll died on November 14, 1832.
  • False: The actual vote for the Declaration of Independence took place on July 4, 1776, but Carroll was not present for the vote.
  • True: In December 1789, Charles Carroll was on the committee in the Maryland state senate who were instructed to confer on a bill for the “gradual abolition of slavery.” Carroll reported on behalf of the committee in favor of discussing this bill, but his recommendation was ignored and the bill did not pass.
  • True: Charles Carroll helped establish the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company in 1828.
  • Seven
  • Catholic

*Originally Posted: Jan. 2, 2017