WASHINGTON — The White House launched the report on Monday of the presidential 1776 Commission, a sweeping assault on liberal thought and activism that requires a “patriotic education,” defends America’s founding towards prices that it was tainted by slavery and likens progressivism to fascism.
President Trump shaped the 18-member fee — which incorporates no skilled historians however plenty of conservative activists, politicians and intellectuals — in the warmth of his re-election marketing campaign in September, as he forged himself as a defender of conventional American heritage towards “radical” liberals. Not beforehand recognized for his curiosity in American historical past or training, Mr. Trump insisted that the nation’s colleges had been infiltrated by anti-American thought and required a brand new “pro-American” curriculum.
The fee shaped a part of Mr. Trump’s bigger response to the antiracism protests, a few of them violent, that adopted the June killing of George Floyd, a Black man, by a white police officer in Minneapolis.
In his remarks on the National Archives asserting the fee’s formation, Mr. Trump stated that “the left-wing rioting and mayhem are the direct result of decades of left-wing indoctrination in our schools.”
The fee’s report prices, in phrases rapidly derided by many mainstream historians, that Americans are being indoctrinated with a false critique of the nation’s founding and identification, together with the function of slavery in its historical past.
“Historical revisionism that tramples honest scholarship and historical truth, shames Americans by highlighting only the sins of their ancestors, and teaches claims of systemic racism that can only be eliminated by more discrimination, is an ideology intended to manipulate opinions more than educate minds,” the report says.
The report drew intense criticism from historians, a few of whom famous that the fee, whereas stocked with conservative educators, didn’t embody a single skilled historian of the United States.
James Grossman, the chief director of the American Historical Association, stated the report was not a piece of historical past, however “cynical politics.”
“This report skillfully weaves together myths, distortions, deliberate silences, and both blatant and subtle misreading of evidence to create a narrative and an argument that few respectable professional historians, even across a wide interpretive spectrum, would consider plausible, never mind convincing,” he stated.
“They’re using something they call history to stoke culture wars,” he stated.
The fee’s report depicts a nation the place liberals are seething with hatred for their very own nation, and whose divisions over its historical past and that means recall these resulting in the American Revolution and the Civil War.
It portrays an America whose establishments have been infiltrated by leftist radicals whose views echo these of current totalitarian actions and argues that progressives have created, in the so-called administrative state, an unchecked “fourth branch” or “shadow government.”
And American universities, the report contends, “are often today hotbeds of anti-Americanism, libel, and censorship that combine to generate in students and in the broader culture at the very least disdain and at worst outright hatred for this country.”
The report likens the American progressive motion of the early twentieth century to the fascism of leaders like Benito Mussolini, who it stated “sought to centralize power under the management of so-called experts.”
“The biggest tell in the 1776 report is that it lists ‘Progressivism’ along with ‘Slavery’ and ‘Fascism’ in its list of ‘challenges to America’s principles,’” Thomas Sugrue, a historian at New York University, wrote on Twitter. “Time to rewrite my lectures to say that ending child labor and regulating meatpacking = Hitlerism.”
Released on Martin Luther King’s Birthday, the report even takes intention on the legacy of the Civil Rights motion, saying that it “was almost immediately turned to programs that ran counter to the lofty ideals of the founders.”
Some of the strongest criticism was for the report’s remedy of slavery, which the report suggests was an unlucky actuality all through the world that was swept away in America by the forces unleashed by the American Revolution, which is described as marking “a dramatic sea change in moral sensibilities.”
The report’s authors denounce the cost that the American founders have been hypocrites who preached equality at the same time as they codified it in the Constitution and held slaves themselves.
“This charge is untrue, and has done enormous damage, especially in recent years, with a devastating effect on our civic unity and social fabric,” they write. Men like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, whereas they owned a whole lot of enslaved individuals, abhorred slavery, the report contends.
“The White House 1776 Report seems to regard calling the Founders hypocritical about slavery as worse for the country than actual slavery,” Seth Masket, a professor of political science on the University of Denver, wrote on Twitter.
And in a line that drew explicit fireplace from historians, the report calls John C. Calhoun “perhaps the leading forerunner” of identification politics.
“Like modern-day proponents of identity politics,” it claims, “Calhoun believed that achieving unity through rational deliberation and political compromise was impossible; majority groups would only use the political process to oppress minority groups.”
The fee is led by Larry Arnn, a Trump ally and the president of the conservative Hillsdale College. Its co-chairwoman is Carol Swain, a distinguished Black conservative and former Vanderbilt University legislation professor. Other members embody Mississippi’s Republican former governor Phil Bryant; the conservative activist Ned Ryan; Mr. Trump’s former home coverage adviser Brooke Rollins; and Charles Kesler, the editor of the influential conservative publication The Claremont Review of Books.
The fee and its report are in half a rebuke to The New York Times Magazine’s 1619 Project, which reframes American historical past across the penalties of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans. The report denounces the challenge, as did Mr. Trump in his September speech asserting the fee.
“This project rewrites American history to teach our children that we were founded on the principle of oppression, not freedom,” Mr. Trump stated on the time.
Mr. Trump’s fee produced its report simply 4 months after it was created and fewer than a month after Mr. Trump publicly introduced its members. By distinction, a fee on race created by President Bill Clinton in June 1997 issued its first report 15 months later.
While billed by the White House as “definitive,” the report included no scholarly footnotes or citations, not was it clear who its main authors have been.