President Biden’s decision to disband the 1776 Commission, which was assembled by President Trump at least partly to rebut politically biased “re-education” attempts that try to reframe American history and make it evil, appears to have failed.
It’s no longer a presidential advisory commission or associated with the federal government as it was set up, but it’s still meeting, and still delivering the facts about America’s founding.
“You can abolish a commission, you can take a report off the website, but you can’t erase history,” Matthew Spalding, the organization’s executive director, explained in a report at Just the News.
He said the group is continuing its work, despite losing its federal charter, and now is focusing on state and local education. A new website is coming, he said.
He was interviewed on a John Solomon Reports podcast.
He explained the question is how history should be viewed, and it’s more than a simple dispute over “a regulation.”
“This is a debate that goes to the heart of our country, it’s been going on since the beginning, and it’s the essential debate and discussion that citizens, by right, should have, and are going to have, regardless of what the government does,” he said.
The problem is the current advocacy for what’s known as Critical Race Theory, which argues, among other things, that people are racist because of the color of their skin, or are victims simply because they have another color.
That concept cannot coexist with the long-held evidence that America was founded on the principles of the Declaration of Independence, he said.
“They had to abolish the commission. And it’s important for everyone to understand that. We don’t have two different conversations going on here, as in one is about 1776 history and the other one is about, you know, identity politics, critical race theory, and these other ideas. The fact of the matter is that this dominant progressive view about systemic racism and critical race theory, identity, politics, equity, whatever term they’re using, they keep changing their terms … that’s not merely an opinion, that must reject the other way of doing things. These things can’t coexist.”
He said it’s as simple as whether “all men are created equal” or not, a concept he pointed out was defended by Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King.
“Simple as that. And if it’s not, then it’s merely a matter of will, and who’s the strongest, and who has the most activists, and who can control legislatures and force things into the classroom,” he said.
He said the commission is focusing on states because they are the ones with the authority over education.
“And then beyond that, it really is a matter of school boards, schools, and parents. Our statement talks about the fundamental right of parents to control the education of their children. So we encourage governors and state legislatures to be on top of this. Don’t go down this other path, which is to reject 1776 in favor of the current fad, which is actually to teach racism in classrooms. what they should revisit and do — make sure their curriculums are in good shape, reform them,” he said in the report.
He also cited former Attorney General William Barr’s suggestion that such leftist ideology in school lessons could be challenged legally as the unconstitutional state sanction of secularism as a religion.
“The broader kind of political, philosophical point he’s making, I think, is absolutely correct about, which is that secularism has really become, really, a religion of itself. That raises problems, you know, just on its face. I think there will be cases because if you look at secularism in a[n] ideological way, you will inevitably end up violating religious liberty of religious believers, which, of course, is a fundamental protection, and the first freedom under our Bill of Rights.”
Spalding earlier wrote a letter to the Department of Education warning that to promote Critical Race Theory under the guise of “anti-racism” actually pushes the teaching of racial discrimination.
Trump had created the 18-member President’s Advisory 1776 Commission last year and it issued a report in January that includes not only the ideals of the Constitution but the bleaker parts of American history including slavery.
Following its most recent meeting, which was held in defiance of Biden’s order, the group said, “Recalling the long history of citizen participation in our civic life, we call on states, counties, and local communities to form their own 1776 commissions to advance this great work of American renewal as we prepare for the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence in July 2026.”
The Daily Signal reported that the Biden Education Department is aiming to promote CRT, as well as the “historically dubious” 1619 Project that was created by a New York Times commentary.
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