Findings, music, and occasional reflections by Paul Woodward

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Trump’s ‘1776 report’ excuses slavery while likening progressivism to fascism

The New York Times reports:

The Trump White House on Monday released the report of the presidential “1776 Commission,” a sweeping attack on liberal thought and activism that calls for a “patriotic education,” defends America’s founding on the basis of slavery and likens progressivism to fascism.

President Trump formed the commission in September, saying that American heritage was under assault by revolutionary fanatics and that the nation’s schools required a new “pro-American” curriculum.

Its report, released on Martin Luther King’s Birthday, denounces the charge that the American founders were hypocrites who preached equality even as they codified slavery in the Constitution and held slaves themselves. “This charge is untrue, and has done enormous damage, especially in recent years, with a devastating effect on our civic unity and social fabric,” it says. [Continue reading…]

Politico reports:

President Donald Trump’s 1776 Commission was supposed to be the definitive “patriotic” rejoinder to the academic left for what conservatives view as a slanderous rendering of U.S. history. But the report released by the commission on Monday has been mocked by historians as slapdash and slanted. And a good chunk appears lifted or recycled from other publications.

An entire page of the report suggesting classroom discussion topics for teachers appears to be copied nearly verbatim from an opinion piece published in 2008 by one of the commission’s members, Thomas Lindsay.

The similarities are pronounced enough to raise questions about how much original work actually went into the construction of the 1776 report. And it will undoubtedly fuel criticism that the final product was not meant to be an academic endeavor but, rather, a partisan effort to tilt the educational playing field. [Continue reading…]

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