New York, NY, January 22, 2021 — Shortly after taking the oath of office, President Biden signed an executive order disbanding the 1776 Commission and revoking President Trump’s executive order on “Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping” (EO 13950, Sept. 22, 2020). This act signals that President Biden will support radical activists pretending to be historians, such as Nikole Hannah-Jones, whose dubious rewrites portray American history as a chronicle of slavery and oppression. The National Association of Scholars (NAS) will continue to advocate for an American history that gives the nation’s children an appreciation of the exceptional triumphs of our forefathers in establishing customs and civil institutions that gave enduring protection to liberty. To this end, NAS will provide the 1776 Commission’s report, released Monday, a permanent home on our website.
“Disbanding the 1776 Commission, alongside the executive order on race and sex stereotyping, does nothing but insult the American character,” said NAS president Peter Wood. “Without constant vigilance, especially by the federal government, we leave the door open for our children to be taught by snake-oil salesmen who proclaim that America’s problems will be solved forever if we just accept the teachings of Critical Race Theory—although their 'solution' requires abandoning liberty, equality, and justice.”
Former President Trump announced the 1776 Commission during the first-ever White House Conference on American History on September 17, 2020. The event, at which Peter Wood spoke, was organized as a response to the pseudo-history permeating American journalism and education, most notably that of the New York Times’ 1619 Project. The 1619 Project, published in August 2019, spins a convoluted web of historical lies and half-truths to depict America as a fundamentally oppressive nation, which requires systemic revolution to relinquish its oppressive nature. Wood’s recent book, 1620: A Critical Response to the 1619 Project, catalogues how distinguished historians have critiqued the Project for fundamental, easily checkable errors of fact and interpretation.
The 1619 Project’s character assassination of American history nevertheless has progressed speedily in American K-12 history education. The Times partnered with the Pulitzer Center to create K-12 history curricula centered on the 1619 Project, curricula which are now used by school districts all across the country. Trump formed the 1776 Commission as a means to remind Americans of their true history, in which they can take extraordinary pride. The 1776 Commission’s work included—and, alas, concluded with—last Monday’s publication of The 1776 Report.
Wood adds: “The Report, and Executive Order 13950, was the first step in returning truth to the story of America—truth once thought to be universal, timeless, and indisputable. The Report examines the meaning of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution; the intentions of America’s Founding Fathers; the various challenges to America’s principles we have faced over the centuries, including slavery, communism, and identity-group politics; and puts forth an outline of what Americans must do to preserve their nation’s heritage of liberty—and its future. All Americans should study the Report—particularly America’s youth.”
We recommend The 1776 Report for your perusal and we urge the Biden administration to follow the 1776 Commission’s recommendations on how to reform the instruction of American history and civics. The Biden administration could do nothing more valuable for the country than to reject Critical Race Theory, “antiracism,” and all the other bigoted, illiberal theories that the 1776 Commission so wisely recommended should be shorn from American’s study of their history and their government.
NAS is a network of scholars and citizens united by a commitment to academic freedom, disinterested scholarship, and excellence in American higher education. Membership in NAS is open to all who share a commitment to these broad principles. NAS publishes a journal and has state and regional affiliates. Visit NAS at www.nas.org. If you would like more information about this issue, please call Chance Layton at 917-551-6770, or email [email protected].