The Trump White House on Monday released the report of the presidential “1776 Commission,” a sweeping attack on liberal thought and activism that calls for a “patriotic education,” defends America’s founding on the basis of slavery and likens progressivism to fascism.
President Trump formed the commission in September, saying that American heritage was under assault by revolutionary fanatics and that the nation’s schools required a new “pro-American” curriculum.
Its report, released on Martin Luther King’s Birthday, denounces the charge that the American founders were hypocrites who preached equality even 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,” it says.
The report argues that “distorted histories” of the United States “labor under the illusion that slavery was somehow a uniquely American evil,” and that the institution must “be seen in a much broader perspective,” including “the unfortunate fact” that slavery “has been more the rule than the exception throughout human history.”
“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 is the product of the 18-member commission, which is chaired by Larry Arnn, a Trump ally and president of the conservative Hillsdale College. Other members include Charlie Kirk, a conservative activist, and Mr. Trump’s former domestic policy adviser, Brooke Rollins.
The document asserts that the civil rights movement evolved into “identity politics,” which it said “teaches that America itself is to blame for oppression.”
It also said that progressives had created a “fourth branch of government” or “shadow government” which operates with no checks or balances, and likened American liberals to the Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini, who it said “sought to centralize power under the management of so-called experts.”
The commission and its report are in part a rebuke to The New York Times Magazine’s 1619 Project, which reframes American history around the consequences of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans. The report denounces the project, as did Mr. Trump in his September speech announcing the commission.
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