The 1776 Report
|Fiction over fact|
|How it didn't happen|
The 1776 Report is a propaganda piece written by the 1776 Commission, published in the last few days of the Trump administration. Its purpose is to facilitate "patriotic education", that is to help brainwash American students with a politically correct, white supremacist, and rabidly anti-liberal/anti-communist version of US history.
The 1776 Commission was an advisory committee established by Trump. Trump had referenced "patriotic education" as a priority of his several times in the autumn of 2020, and likely established the commission within months of the end of his term. The establishment of the Commission (and the eventual publication of the Report) was seemingly a response to the Black Lives Matter movement in general and The New York Times' 1619 Project in particular; the latter being a collection of essays that frame American history in the context of Black slavery and civil rights movements.
Members of the Commission
The Commission did not have any professional historians who specialized in United States history. A few members are tangentially qualified — a few academics here, a constitutional lawyer there — but most are pundits or politicians. The Commission included:
- Larry Arnn, committee chair and president of Hillsdale College (a private conservative Christian college)
- Carol Swain, committee co-chair and former professor at Vanderbilt Law School
- Matthew Spalding, committee executive director, professor of Constitutional Government at Hillsdale College
- Phil Bryant, former Republican Governor of Mississippi
- Jerry Davis, president of College of the Ozarks, a Christian college
- Michael Farris, constitutional lawyer and CEO of Alliance Defending Freedom
- Gay Hart Gaines, chair of a GOP PAC
- Mike Gonzalez, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation
- John Gibbs, pundit turned HUD official under Trump
- Victor Davis Hanson, Classical and military historian (i.e. specializing in ancient Greek and Roman warfare)
- Charles R. Kesler, professor of Government at Claremont McKenna College and conservative book reviewer
- Charlie Kirk, co-founder and director of Turning Point USA
- Peter Kirsanow, labor lawyer and member of the US Commission on Civil Rights
- Thomas Lindsay, former president of Shimer College and current think tank executive
- Bob McEwen, former Republican Ohio Congressman
- Scott McNealy, co-founder of a number of tech companies
- Brooke Rollins, former director of the U.S. Domestic Policy Council under Trump
- Ned Ryun, founder and CEO of the conservative activist organization American Majority
- Julie Strauss, lawyer and former Trump appointee
The Report included no scholarly citations, and it was not stated which of the commission members were the primary author(s).
Chapter IV: Challenge to America's principles
|The "report"||RationalWiki response|
|The report dismisses accusations that owning slaves made the Founders hypocrites, by pointing out that other civilizations throughout history also engaged in slavery. It also points out that George Washington freed his slaves.||Washington freed his slaves after his death, through a will, when they no longer would be useful to him. He also mistreated his slaves and placed them in inhuman conditions. In 1798, a Polish visitor once remarked that, while Washington treated his slaves kindly by the low standards of the US, Polish peasants lived happier lives and that the most miserable of peasants had better cottages than the slaves.|
|Accusations by right-wingers that progressives do not believe in objective truth are ancient, going back at least to Atlas Shrugged. Ironically, it is usually right-wingers leading the assault on truth with methods including the use of "alternative facts" and attacking fact-checking. Right-wingers regularly form alternate realities when claims of theirs such as widespread voter fraud are debunked. The vast majority of Republican voters still refuse to accept that Joe Biden won the 2020 U.S. presidential election. As early as 1964, racist whites had already developed much of the rhetoric used to avoid needing reform on racial issues, such as the friend argument, claims of reverse racism, and blacks "receiving everything on a silver platter".|
|RACISM AND IDENTITY POLITICS:|
guaranteed the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
|Substantial majorities of white Americans during the Civil Rights Era opposed the efforts of reformers such as MLK Jr, especially with regards to educational and residential segregagation. Large amounts of whites of the time similarly believed that civil rights organizations were collaborating with communists, echoing segregationist rhetoric.|
|It seemed, finally, that America’s nearly two-century effort to realize fully the principles of the Declaration had reached a culmination. But the heady spirit of the
original Civil Rights Movement, whose leaders forcefully quoted the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the rhetoric of the founders and of Lincoln, proved to be short-lived.
Identity politics makes it less likely that racial reconciliation and healing can be attained by pursuing Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream for America and upholding the highest ideals of our Constitution and our Declaration of Independence.
- The 1776 Report (January 2021) Trump White House Archives.
- NBC News: "Trump pushes for 'patriotic education' in schools" (Updated: Sep 2, 2020 / 06:38 AM EDT) NBC4i.
- Proclamation on the Birthday of Founding Father Caesar Rodney Trump White House Archives.
- AP News: "Biden revokes Trump report promoting 'patriotic education'"
- Trump’s 1776 Commission Critiques Liberalism in Report Derided by Historians: The report charges that Americans are being indoctrinated with a false narrative of the nation’s founding and identity, including the role of slavery in its history. by Michael Crowley & Jennifer Schuessler (Published Jan. 18, 2021; Updated Jan. 20, 2021) The New York Times.
- Matthew Spalding Hillsdale College.
- College of the Ozarks leader named to White House's advisory 1776 Commission by Claudette Riley (Published 4:46 p.m. CT Dec. 20, 2020; Updated 10:12 a.m. CT Dec. 21, 2020) Springfield News-Leader.
- Gay Hart Gaines NNDB.
- White House to Appoint Heritage’s Mike Gonzalez to President’s Advisory 1776 Commission 'Heritage Foundation.
- Julie Strauss U.S> Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad.
- Julie Alexa Strauss Prabook (archived from May 7, 2022).
- NYT Dissection
- Encyclopedia Virginia, George Washington and Slavery
- Neil steinberg, Chicago Sun Times, "Both facts and fact-checking a threat to GOP"
- Probably the first use of the term
- good article on the emergence of an alternate right-wing reality after the 2020 election
- Good article on the subject from FiveThirtyEight
- 1964 NYT Article, Poll Shows Whites in City Resent Civil Rights Drive; Majority Queried in Times Survey Say Negro Movement Has Gone Too Far, but Few Intend to Change Votes
- Trends in white attitudes toward Negroes, 1967 report by Mildred Schwartz
- Public Opinion on Civil Rights: Reflections on the Civil Rights Act of 1964