Outgoing President Trump’s 1776 Commission’s report defending nation’s history draws leftist fire

By Virginia Allen | The Daily Signal

The political left is criticizing the President’s Advisory 1776 Commission report, which aims to bring clarity about the facts of America’s founding.

The report—released Monday on Martin Luther King Jr. Day—aims to create “consensus on what [the] historical facts” of America’s founding are, said Mike Gonzalez, a member of the 1776 Commission and a senior fellow at The Heritage Foundation, in a phone interview Tuesday with The Daily Signal.

President Donald Trump named Gonzalez and 17 others to the 1776 Commission in December. The group was tasked with creating a report that would “better enable a rising generation to understand the history and principles of the founding of the United States in 1776,” according to the White House press release announcing the commission.

“The 1776 Report” uses historical facts and key principles found in the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution to refute the progressive claims argued in The New York Times’ controversial 1619 Project and other left-wing curriculums.

Wikimedia Commons/Haxorjoe

“The 1776 Report”refutes the New York Times’ controversial 1619 Project and other left-wing curriculums.

“The core assertion of the Declaration, and the basis of the Founders’ political thought, is that ‘all men are created equal,’ the report states. “From the principle of equality, the requirement for consent naturally follows: If all men are equal, then none may by right rule another without his consent.”

The 18 commissioners address slavery directly in the new report, arguing that the Founders intentionally inserted the truth that “all men are created equal” into the declaration in order to provide a means for slavery to one day be abolished.

Many on the political left quickly discounted “The 1776 Report,” contending that it makes false assertions about the Founding Fathers and the nation’s past.

Ibram X. Kendi, author of the book “How to Be an Antiracist,” criticized the report in a thread of tweets Monday, writing, “This report makes it seem as if slaveholding founding fathers were abolitionists; that Americans were the early beacon of the global abolitionist movement; that the demise of slavery in the United States was inevitable … .”

“Kendi’s statement misses the key points that the Founders were deeply troubled by slavery even while participating in the ‘peculiar institution,’” Carol Swain, a retired political science professor, author, and the vice chairwoman of the commission, told The Daily Signal in an email Tuesday.

Swain, who is black, added that the men who signed the “Declaration of Independence and [the] U.S. Constitution … laid the groundwork for the abolition of slavery in the very language of the documents.”

CNN was also quick to criticize the work of the 1776 Commission.

“A commission stood up by President Donald Trump as a rebuttal to schools applying a more accurate history curriculum around slavery in the U.S. issued its inflammatory report on Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day,” CNN reporter Maegan Vazquez’s wrote in a piece, “Trump administration issues racist school curriculum report on MLK day.

Gonzalez called the CNN article “an embarrassment to journalism,” noting that the headline falsely calls the report “racist,” but then did “not even bother to back that up” with any evidence.

The New York Times also assailed Monday’s report, writing that the 18-member commission “includes no professional historians, but a number of conservative activists, politicians, and intellectuals.”

The New York Times failed to recognize at least three historians who sit on the commission, including Larry Arnn, the president of Hillsdale College and the author of several historical books, including “The Founders’ Key: The Divine and Natural Connection Between the Declaration and the Constitution, and What We Risk by Losing It”; Victor Davis Hanson, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and the author of a number of historical books, including “The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won”; and Charles Kesler, a senior fellow at the Claremont Institute, editor of the Claremont Review of Books, and the editor of “Saving the Revolution: The Federalist Papers and the American Founding.”

The attacks on America’s history are deeply troubling because the “left does not believe in absolute truth or transcendent truth,” Gonzalez said, adding that many on the left think that history can be changed and used as a tool “to gain power, erase what has happened, and … change the future.”

The left is seeking ultimately to change the future of America by changing our understanding of the past, Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez and Swain told The Daily Signal they are proud to have played a role in the creation of “The 1776 Report.

“It was an honor to participate in the creation of a report that documents key elements of our shared history and offers Americans a road map for digging deeper into original documents and the events that have shaped our shared history,” Swain said.

She added that while America is an imperfect nation, “we have made tremendous progress in becoming a fairer and more inclusive society, despite the fact some would like to take us backwards when it comes to race relations.”

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Haxorjoe

5 thoughts on “Outgoing President Trump’s 1776 Commission’s report defending nation’s history draws leftist fire

  1. Censorship has begun. I clicked on the link to the White House 1776 Report this morning and it worked fine. Click on the link now – post inauguration – and nothing. The link has been taken down.

  2. An even more interesting topic is a book called “1491”, the year before Columbus arrived in the Caribbean.

    His arrival set in motion quite a few facts “on the ground” in the New World, which was occupied by at least 100 million people in North and South America, as many as in Europe at that time.

    A large proportion was enslaved by the Spanish, and perished.

    The Pilgrims were against slavery, when they landed in 1620 at the site of an abandoned native village, now known as Plymouth.

    Slavery (buying and selling, transporting) was practiced in Georgia, Florida, etc., from 1492, i.e., well before 1776.

    In Europe slavery was being abolished about that time, but it continued in the US, until Lincoln freed ALL the slaves in 1863

    Many former US slaves joined the US Continental Army to help defeat the Confederate Army.

    Rewriting history is a live and well on both sides of the Atlantic.

    The EU and the US have been rewriting the history of World War 2, with the aim of belittling Russia’s role and contribution.

    Fortunately, Russia has a very-well documented video and photographic history in its Archives, which show the Russian Army was welcomed in East Europe, the same way as the US army was welcomed in West Europe, as liberators.

    Remember, Russia’s invasions had come from the West, i.e., France (it lost big time) and Germany (it lost big time).

    • The north was just a guilty or even more guilty for slavery then the south. Many slaves also joined the southern army to fight against the north. Going further, most of the saves were transported here on ships owned by people in the north and were owned by them, until sold. And they were put in slaver by their own people in Africa. And one top of that, if people in the north were really against slavery there would not have been an underground rail road. They simply would have written a law making any slave free when they entered a norther state.

      That being said, the man that really led us to civil was no other then Vermont’s Justin Morell who with the tariffs he pushed through made the war necessary for freedom of the southern states. And it was all about money the south would pay for the north. Then there is also the Corwin Amendment, proposed by the North that would have allowed slavery to continue…

      There is always a lot of information left out about what really occurred and who was really at fault.

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