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 cancelled—the work to defend American history will go on, especially at Hillsdale College.