Commentary | Center for 1776

Op-Ed: The importance of 1776 today more than ever

By Brooke Rollins, Carol Swain and Phil Bryant in The Washington Times

One year ago today, President Trump signed the historic executive order that formally established the 1776 Commission.

This important commission convened a group of the Nation’s brightest scholars dedicated to restoring a genuine and fair understanding of the American founding as an exceptional advancement in human political thought and individual freedom. Such a restoration was sorely necessary because the value and virtue of our Declaration of Independence, our, Constitution, and the polity those documents established have been under unremitting attack for decades.

The intellectual basis for this attack may have begun in academia, but has now spread to all facets of our society.

The effect has been a measurable decline in both civic knowledge and national pride. In 2016, the Annenberg Public Policy Center poll found that only a quarter of Americans could name the three branches of government, a statistically significant decline from just five years prior.

Meanwhile, national pride has plummeted: a Gallup poll found that those who considered themselves “extremely proud” to be Americans has been in decline since the early 2000s, with only 43% of Americans expressing that sentiment in 2021. When Gallup asked Americans whether or not they were proud of a list of particular things, only 32% expressed pride in “the American political system” that the Constitution established.

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President Biden clearly felt threatened by the thought of scholars restoring a fair understanding of American history, because on his first day as President he disbanded the Commission.

Americans that receive an honest and genuine education on the American founding are able to point out the hypocrisy and big government lies of the left’s “equity and inclusion” crusade. They recognize that these are mechanisms intended divide the American people based on skin color for political gain, not to achieve true equality. The Biden administration could not allow for that.

Instead, in typical fashion, Biden called for the Domestic Policy Council to “embed equity principles across the federal government” in an effort to combat “systemic racism.” In practice, these efforts have amounted to attempts to distribute or deny government resources to Americans on the basis of race, and have been successfully challenged in court for violating non-discrimination laws.

As was stated in the 1776 Commission report, “Americans are deeply divided about the meaning of their country, its history, and how it should be governed. This division is severe enough to call to mind the disagreements between the colonists and King George, and those between the Confederate and Union forces in the Civil War.” 

Thomas Paine wrote during that first trying time in our young Nation’s history, “these are the times that try men’s souls.”

No doubt aware of this divide, the Biden administration is desperately trying to ensure their vision of a racist and dishonorable America prevails. They have taken it upon themselves to begin pushing these indoctrinating messages in our Nation’s schools, brainwashing entire generations of Americans to believe their lies. 

The Biden administration is also now distributing federal educational grants to efforts like the 1619 Project and other critical race theory-based initiatives that divide Americans into warring camps on the basis of race.

The America First Policy Institute and the Texas Public Policy Foundation will continue to fight today, and every day, to restore a genuine understanding of the American founding and the universal principles of equality for all Americans that it embodies.

President Biden can disband a commission, but its members remain strong and united in their efforts. This truly is a fight to save the country, and we will not back down.

Brooke L. Rollins is President and CEO of the America First Policy Institute and served as the Director of the Domestic Policy Council during the Donald J. Trump Administration. Dr. Carol Swain previously served as Vice Chair for President Donald Trump’s 1776 Commission and is a Distinguished Senior Fellow for Constitutional Studies at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. Phil Bryant serves as a senior advisor for the AFPI’s Center for 1776 and is the former governor of Mississippi.

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