Historians Respond to the 1776 Project

Updated: Jan 25, 2021

On January 18, the Trump-appointed 1776 Commission, which has already been disbanded by President Biden, released its 1776 Report.

Historians have quickly taken aim the report's central premises and methodology. The American Historical Association has condemned the report, calling it "hastily written in one month after two desultory and tendentious ‘hearings' without any consultation with professional historians of the United States, the report fails to engage a rich and vibrant body of scholarship that has evolved over the last seven decades.”

Historian Kevin Kruse describes the report as a "sloppy, racist mess" and "shoddy scholarship that decries its clumsy partisan intent."

John Fea, an early American historian at Messiah University in Pennsylvania, offers a four-part critique of the report.

From the perspective of K-12 history education, perhaps the best analysis and critique of the 1776 Report is this article on the Blue Book Diaries blog by historian Jonathan Wilson. Wilson notes that not only are the report's the claims about history classrooms unsupported by evidence, but it's recommendations reflect little of understanding of teaching practices in the K-12 environment.

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