- The Washington Times - Monday, November 2, 2020

President Trump issued an executive order Monday creating a 1776 Commission to promote “patriotic education” at federal parks, prepare for the 250th anniversary of American independence and recognize student achievement.

The move is part of Mr. Trump’s attempt to push back on media projects and protests that have portrayed America’s early years as systematically racist.

Mr. Trump’s order says the attacks on the founding threaten to shroud the inspiring ideals that drove the Declaration of Independence and the country’s “valiant and successful effort to shake off the curse of slavery and to use the lessons of that struggle to guide our work toward equal rights for all citizens in the present.”

“A series of polemics grounded in poor scholarship has vilified our Founders and our founding. Despite the virtues and accomplishments of this nation, many students are now taught in school to hate their own country, and to believe that the men and women who built it were not heroes, but rather villains,” the order says. “This radicalized view of American history lacks perspective, obscures virtues, twists motives, ignores or distorts facts, and magnifies flaws, resulting in the truth being concealed and history disfigured.”

Mr. Trump started pushing for patriotic education after a debate over the New York Times 1619 Project, which framed U.S. history around the consequences of slavery, and a push to reexamine statues of white American founders during racial-justice protests over the summer.

The 1776 Commission will consist of up to 20 members, including top Cabinet secretaries and senior advisers at the White House.

It will produce a report within one year on the “core principles of the American founding and how these principles may be understood to further enjoyment of ‘the blessings of liberty’ and to promote our striving ‘to form a more perfect Union.’”

The commission will recommend ways to celebrate the semiquincentennial of the U.S. in 2026 and establish a “Presidential 1776 Award” to recognize student knowledge of the American founding.

It will also ensure that educational institutions that receive federal funds offer a program for Constitution Day on Sept. 17.

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