President Donald Trump signed an executive order in November establishing the 1776 Commission, a presidential advisory committee to “promote patriotic education.”
On Monday, the commission released the "1776 Report."
The White House called it a “scholarly step to restore understanding of the greatness of the American founding.”
The 40-page report came under immediate scrutiny from historians across the country.
The report, in part, defends the Founding Fathers and their ownership of slaves and criticizes the legacy of the civil rights movement.
“This report makes it seems as if slave-holding Founding Fathers were abolitionists,” historian Dr. Ibram X. Kendi tweeted.
This report makes it seems as if slaveholding founding fathers were abolitionists; that Americans were the early beacon of the global abolitionist movement; that the demise of slavery in the United States was inevitable;— Ibram X. Kendi (@DrIbram) January 19, 2021
“I'm embarrassed for the people who put their name on this train wreck,” Princeton University professor Dr. Kevin Kruse tweeted.
Those are just two famous examples from MLK's public writing. There are countless others in the record.— Kevin M. Kruse (@KevinMKruse) January 19, 2021
The claim that MLK was the antithesis of affirmative action is just deeply, deeply stupid.
Honestly, I'm embarrassed for the people who put their name on this trainwreck.
The report itself claims to portray history in a non-partisan fashion, but its the authors compare progressivism to fascism and say universities are a “hotbed for anti-Americanism.”
“I do think it's more political theater than it is serious scholarly work,” Grandville History Teacher Blake Mazurek said. "I completely disagree with [President Trump’s] assertion that public schools are teaching our students to hate the United States. That is furthest from the truth."
Mazurek says the report is not only missing sources but missing the mark on how America’s founding should be covered.
“There's nothing wrong with having conservative voices being heard, but if this document was trying to create some type of balance out there in the world, it certainly seems to, at least in my initial readings, not hit that mark either,” Mazurek said.
“I always support the idea that we should be looking at our history, our curriculum, with a critical lens, so that is important,” he added. "I feel that this particular report fell way short of that. That is what's troubling about what the content of it is and the motivation behind it."
“What will become of this report? I think it will quickly fade.”
Note: Mazurek is a registered Democrat, who was a presidential elector in the state of Michigan.
The Trump administration is hoping that's not the case and calls the report "a dispositive rebuttal of reckless 're-education' attempts that seek to reframe American history around the idea that the United States is not an exceptional country but an evil one."