by John K. Wilson
January 18, 2021
On November 2, the day before he lost re-election (in a failed attempt to lure voters with his faux patriotism), Donald Trump signed an executive order creating the 1776 Commission, which worked quickly to produce a report before Joe Biden could take office and rescind this terrible idea and the terrible people assigned to complete it. Today, the 1776 Commission issued its hastily assembled report purporting to reveal the “true” history that must be taught.
We can only be grateful that Trump’s loss means this report will be consigned quickly to the dustbin of history, rather than becoming the guiding force attempting to control how history is taught and silence its enemies.
The 1776 Commission is essentially a division of right-wing Hillsdale College (which has proudly remained on the AAUP’s censure list since 1988).The Chair of the Commission is Hillsdale president Larry Arnn, and Hillsdale professor Matthew Spalding, Vice President for Washington Operations, served as the Commission’s Executive Director.
Today, the White House celebrated the 1776 Commission Report, with a press release titled “1776 Commission Takes Historic and Scholarly Step to Restore Understanding of the Greatness of the American Founding,” which called the report “a dispositive rebuttal of reckless “re-education” attempts that seek to reframe American history around the idea that the United States is not an exceptional country but an evil one.” As we all know, historians are only allowed to describe America as “exceptional” or “evil.” Anyone who claims otherwise obviously thinks America is evil and must be dealt with. And it’s hard to see anything scholarly in a report with no footnotes, no sources, and no real arguments beyond straw figures.