The 1776 Commission was an advisory committee established in September 2020 by then–U.S. President Donald Trump to support what he called “patriotic education”. The commission, which included no historians specializing in United States history, released The 1776 Report on January 18, 2021, two days before the end of Trump’s term. Historians overwhelmingly criticized the report, saying it was “filled with errors and partisan politics”. The commission was terminated by President Joe Biden on January 20, 2021.
Trump first spoke of giving students a “patriotic education” on September 2, 2020. He reiterated his intention to establish the commission in a proclamation on October 6, 2020. The commission was conceived partly as a response to The New York Times‘1619 Project, which explores American history through an African-American framing. Various federal laws prohibit the federal government from directly regulating school curricula, which are determined by school districts under rules established by state governments. However, the federal government influences state and local decisions through funding.
Trump announced the new commission in a speech on September 17, 2020, in which he contended that a “twisted web of lies” regarding systemic racism was currently being taught in U.S. schools, calling it “a form of child abuse.” On November 2, the day before the 2020 elections, Trump officially established the commission by executive order. Trump appointed the commission’s members on December 18, 2020. The commission held its first meeting on January 5, 2021.
Under the executive order, Trump established an 18-member group serving a two-year term appointed by the president, which is to write a report on “core principles of the American founding and how these principles may be understood to further enjoyment of ‘the blessings of liberty'”.