Published on: February 5th, 2021

1776 Report Calls for a Return to America’s Founding Principles in Our Schools

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2021, the President’s Advisory 1776 Commission on education released their 1776 Report.  The report calls for American classrooms to focus civics education on the enduring and unifying principles articulated in the Declaration of Independence.

Hillsdale College President Dr. Larry Arnn was asked to serve as Chairman of the 1776 Commission, which he accepted in his personal capacity.  Additionally, Dr. Matthew Spalding, Vice President of Washington Operations and Dean of the Van Andel Graduate School of Government in Washington, D.C., went on sabbatical to serve as Executive Director of the commission.

Created in large part to prepare the nation for the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the 1776 Report emphasizes the importance of the Declaration, the principles it espouses, and the Constitution created to protect those principles.

The report’s primary recommendation is that our nation must unify upon the ideals of individual rights and human equality. It recommends teaching a patriotic education - one that tells the whole truth about the American story instead of a skewed narrative to fit a political agenda.

As the report states, “The core assertion of the Declaration, and the basis of the Founders’ political thought, is that ‘all men are created equal.’” 

Dr. Spalding further explains, in a detailed interview with The Epoch Times, that this claim undergirds the entire American project. He continued:

“No one is born king. No one is born subject. Also, no one is born a slave, and no one is born a master. That’s a fundamental, inherent, deep moral truth at the core of America. That doesn’t mean we always lived up to it, or we weren’t flawed…but that’s our aspiration. That’s the principle.”

The report itself was produced by a team of highly qualified academics, historians, and other respected leaders. Some members of the commission included retired law school professor Carol Swain as Vice Chair, historian Dr. Victor Davis Hanson, Claremont Institute’s Dr. Charles Kesler, historian Wilfred McClay, Heritage Foundation scholar Mike Gonzales, as well as many others.

The work of the 1776 Commission is not over.

President Joe Biden might have cancelled the 1776 Commission on his first day in office, but America’s founding principles cannot be cancelledthe work to defend American history will go on, especially at Hillsdale College.

About Hillsdale in D.C.

Hillsdale in D.C. is an extension of the teaching mission of Hillsdale College to Washington, D.C. Its purpose is to teach the Constitution and the principles that give it meaning. Through the study of original source documents from American history—and of older books that formed the education of America’s founders—it seeks to inspire students, teachers, citizens, and policymakers to return the America’s principles to their central place in the political life of the nation.

About Hillsdale College

Hillsdale College is an independent liberal arts college located in southern Michigan. Founded in 1844, the College has built a national reputation through its classical liberal arts core curriculum and its principled refusal to accept federal or state taxpayer subsidies, even indirectly in the form of student grants or loans. It also conducts an outreach effort promoting civil and religious liberty, including a free monthly speech digest, Imprimis, with a circulation of more than 4.5 million. For more information, visit hillsdale.edu.