11th Annual Bastille Day Quiz: All Around the World

2020 11th annual Bastille Day quiz: All Around the World
(Gleaned from Teaching Representations of the French Revolution, NY: MLA, 2019).

A. Revolutionary History in Europe and Abroad

1. Which leader, foreseeing the cold reception that French armies would face when they set out to liberate foreign peoples from their kings, warned that “no one likes armed missionaries”?

a. Maximilien Robespierre
b. Jacques Pierre Brissot
c. Napoléon Bonaparte
d. King Louis XVI

2. With whom was Queen Marie-Antoinette officially accused or rumored to have had regular sexual relations?

a. The Count of Artois, King Louis XIV’s younger brother (her brother-in-law)
b. The Duchess of Polignac, one of Marie-Antoinette’s best friends
c. Her own son, Louis-Charles (age 4 in 1789)
d. All of the above

3. Which country saw the first successful national revolution in Europe?*

a. France
b. Belgium
c. Greece
d. Italy

4. Which Enlightenment philosopher coined the terms “general will” and “social contract”—concepts which exerted a huge influence on revolutionary events—but did not live long enough to see the impact?

a. Voltaire (1694-1778)
b. Denis Diderot (1713-1784)
c. Montesquieu (1689-1755)
d. Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778)

5. Modern readers may be misled by the term gens de couleur as used in the 1792 legislation that granted full citizenship to those people, living in the French colony Saint-Domingue (now Haiti). While translated as “people of color,” the term actually designated which group?

a. African-born slaves
b. Free people of color, who were often both slave owners and owners of property
c. Creoles who immigrated from New Orleans
d. Indigenous peoples from the island of Hispaniola

6. One of the most famous laws passed during the Revolution made it legal to create a theater and perform plays for the public, without royal permission. That law is known as:

a. la loi Le Chapelier (1791)
b. la loi des suspects (1793)
c. la Constitution de l’An I (1793)
d. la loi du théâtre libre (1789)

7. Despite being commissioned by the National Assembly and portraying a crucial moment in history, why was Jacques-Louis David’s painting, Oath of the Tennis Court (begun 1791), never finished?

a. Several participants in the oath later embraced a counter-revolutionary stance; they would need to be eliminated, thus ruining the composition.
b. In its monumental dimensions (30 feet by 19 feet) it was too big and ambitious.
c. It was not uncommon for artists and clients to renege on commissions at this chaotic time.
d. All of the above.

8. Many radicals around Europe joined the revolutionary fight and were executed for their efforts. It may be surprising to learn that one German writer survived the Revolution despite his warm and well-publicized embrace of left-wing politics in 1789-90. Who was he?

a. Anacharsis Cloots
b. Adam Lux
c. Eulogius Schneider
d. J.H. Campe

9. Scientists consider the revolutionary era a turning point because of its inventions, new schools, and appreciation for rational systems. Which of the following inventions from the 1790s was considered proof of technology’s benefits for civil defense and communication?

a. the typewriter
b. the Morse code
c. the optical telegraph
d. the telephone

10. Edmund Burke, a British author, garnered fame for penning which of the following complaints in his Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790):

a. he calls protesters: the “swinish multitude”
b. he considers efforts to change the monarchy “a total contempt of all ancient institutions”
c. he laments the crudeness of modern times, writing: “the age of chivalry is gone”
d. All of the above

11. Students should be encouraged to learn more about the leaders of the revolution in Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti), such as Dutty Boukman. But it is hard to understand what exactly happened at an event led by Boukman in 1791. What was that event?

a. the voodoo ceremony at Bois Caïman
b. the pardon of troops at Cap Français
c. the ritual welcome to John Carter Brown
d. All of the above

12. Students should also be reminded of the famous acts of General Jean-Jacques Dessalines (the founder of Haitian independence), such as the moment when, surrounded by members of the army, he did what?

a. toppled a statue of a French king
b. ripped a French flag to create a new flag
c. invited soldiers to share their views on the French Constitution
d. ate dinner with a panther

13. In the 1790s, people who fled France—known as émigrés—were considered criminals: traitors who threatened the security of the state. But contrary to common assumptions, most of the people who emigrated abroad during the French Revolution were:

a. aristocrats
b. priests, nuns, members of the clergy
c. the Fourth Estate: artists and performers
d. the Third Estate: middle-class artisans, lawyers and professionals

14. No discussion of Latin American independence seems complete without mention of …, liberator of the vast region that is now Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, and Panama. Who was that wealthy youth, heir to the Enlightenment thinkers and witness to Napoleon’s rise to power, but who swore to free the slaves in his land?

a. Pancho Villa (1878-1923)
b. Simón Bolívar (1783-1830)
c. Che Guevara (1928-1967)
d. Francisco de Miranda (1750-1816)

B. Cultural Echoes and Reminders

15. Which revolutionary-era songs are recommended for teaching the French language?

a. La Carmagnole
b. Ça ira
c. La Marseillaise
d. All of the above

16. Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild collected prints of the Revolutionary decade which are kept at Waddesdon Manor (UK) and can be consulted digitally here:  but the architecture of the manor was inspired by a much earlier model. Which Loire chateau inspired the Manor’s chimneys?

a. Chambord
b. Blois
c. Chenonceau
d. Azay-le-rideau

17. What are faïences révolutionnaires ?

a. earthenware dishes made near the city of Nevers
b. tin-glazed pottery
c. household ceramics marked with political emblems and slogans from the 1790s
d. All of the above

18. In the fairy tale “Rotkäppchen” or Little Red Cap, the Brothers Grimm portray a hunter who kills the wolf at the end: what does that symbolize in political terms?

a. a peasant doing his job
b. a traitor fighting with his rival
c. a royal agent protecting the forest and monarchy
d. a murderer killing the monarch

19. Which Spanish artist famously captured the horror felt by the Spanish people in 1808 when French troops led by Joseph Bonaparte invaded their country, in his paintings, El dos de mayo and El tres de mayo?

a. El Greco
b. Pablo Picasso
c. Francisco de Goya
d. Salvador Dalí

20. Which American group recreated their own song of protest in the 1860s, based on the melody of La Marseillaise?

a. The Ku Klux Klan
b. The Tea Party
c. The Confederate Army
d. The Daughters of the American Revolution

21. Which provocative 1983 film so upset the president of France that he left the screening room?

a. Octopussy does Versailles
b. Flashdance
c. Danton
d. Wargames

22. Which of the following people have become famous in the 21st century for creating political poetry and rap music that speak to the brutal realities of minorities (known as la France métissée)?

a. Médine Zaouch, known as Médine
b. Abd al Malik
c. Kery James
d. All of the above

23. When the satirical French newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, was attacked by terrorists in 2015, people held vigils around the world. To show their sympathy with the slain journalists, people chanted:

a. “Mort aux tyrans” (Death to the tyrants)
b. “Je suis Charlie” (I am Charlie)
c. « Les vies noires comptent » (Black Lives Matter)
d. All of the above

24. When the Chinese Prime Minister Zhou Enlai was asked what he thought of the French Revolution, he made a reply which has since become legendary. What did he say?

a. “It is a monstrosity.”
b. “We owe our freedom to Robespierre.”
c. “It is too soon to tell.”
d. “It is the end of history.”

25. Extra credit question: Which new products celebrate a love of Paris and revolutionary French politics, but are made in the USA?

a. “Pretty Paris” face masks
b. “Paris révolutionnaire” pillows
c. A children’s book, Le Frankenstein du cageot à pommes, ou comment le monstre est né, de source (presque) sûre / The Frankenstein of the Apple Crate, A Possibly True Story of the Monster’s Origins
d. All of the above

*RE: question no. 3. This is sort of a trick question and may unleash hours of debate over what constitutes a “successful revolution” or a “national revolution”…

Come back tomorrow, July 15, for the answers. Or start reading the book now!  All the answers (except the last Q) can be found in here:




3 thoughts on “11th Annual Bastille Day Quiz: All Around the World

  1. Big thanks to you, the 482 people who took the quiz on July 14, 2020! How did you do? (It was pretty hard, I admit)

    1. Thank you for the quiz. I could not mark my answers, but it did not matter. I would like to have the correct answers promised for the 15th. Where did they appear?
      Thank you,

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