The 1776 Commission published its report on the history and principles of the American founding on Monday. The 45-page account explored the key individuals, events, and documents informing this country’s founding. It addressed the contextual history and meaning of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, ideologies that both historically and presently challenge American principles, and a series of proposals to restore national unity.
The appendices included the entirety of the Declaration of Independence, as well as further insight on the topics of religious faith, identity politics, and a strong civics education. In an interview with The Tennessee Star, Vice Chair Dr. Carol Swain explained that the report focuses on the virtues and ideals of this country that unite and benefit American citizens.
“I think it’s one of the great things that President Trump has done in his tenure. He’s really reached out to Black and Hispanic Americans – this document is unifying,” stated Swain. “It brings us all back to our nation’s founding. I think we’ve lost the positivity when we think back to our founding. It’s an effort to re-educate people. America – though it’s been imperfect as all nations are – it is a great nation. It does have the principles to allow us to get through the Civil War, and World War II, and it allowed us to progress to the Civil Rights Act.”
The report explored, in depth, the context of this nation’s founding. Swain told The Star that this perspective balances out the current consensus shared by most on the meaning of America.
“One thing that’s been lost is this historical knowledge and a context for it, and this is a document that points us back to where we were as a nation,” explained Swain. “My desire would be to see people focus on the positives of American history. I hope [the nation] will receive the message, which is to make a positive contribution to a discussion in a time when we are under attack by people who associate the United States with evil regimes. My desire would be for people to read it, to debate it. I don’t want a one-sided conversation.”
Swain shared that the commission hopes that educators, as well as the general public, read and implement the report in their curriculum to introduce a diversity of thought and invite conversations rather than echo chambers.
The 1776 Commission was formed by President Donald Trump one day before the general election. Its express purpose was to provide a more accurate understanding of the nation’s founding and history, through a written report and advisory roles.
It is unclear whether President-elect Joe Biden will allow the 1776 Commission to continue with its work following the inauguration.
However, Dr. Swain shared that their commission plans on working together, even if the commission is ended by Biden’s administration.
“If we are eliminated, many of us are dedicated to the cause, to continuing our work without the White House’s approval,” said Swain. “But we believe this report should be non-controversial. There’s no reason for it to be controversial. This is a team of reputable scholars, and we’ve put together solid work.”
In addition to the report, the commission is also tasked with ensuring school compliance with Constitution Day and federal resource prioritization in support of the Founding. It also functions as an advisory board to the 250th anniversary of the American founding.
Read the full report:
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