The 1776 Report

Summary of Study

Bottom Line: Authored by President Trump’s 1776 Commission, the 1776 Report gives an overview of American founding principles and catalogues the threats to American republicanism throughout the nation’s history. The report then lists means by which the American people can safeguard the country for future generations.

Rejecting ideological efforts aimed at fundamentally transforming how Americans view their country’s history, the members of former President Trump’s now-disbanded 1776 Commission see the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the architecture of the Constitution as America’s interpretive key.

Though not denying that America was founded by a particular people with a particular history, religion, and virtues, the report stresses that the nation was nevertheless founded on the universal principles enunciated in the Declaration. The Constitution secures the Declaration’s principles by establishing a federal government of limited but energetic power overseen by the people’s representatives. Through “auxiliary precautions” such as the separation of powers, federalism, and the natural circumstances of a large republic, it preserves the people’s rights and keeps the threat of tyranny at bay.

The report catalogues five major threats to republican government throughout our country’s history: slavery, progressivism, fascism, communism, and identity politics.

Though slavery was by no means a unique evil to the United States, Founders such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison clearly recognized that human bondage was incompatible with the principle that “all men are created equal.”

The Progressive movement rejected the idea of permanent truths in favor of constantly evolving group rights meted out by the administrative state, a fourth branch of government composed of independent agencies staffed with experts insulated from political accountability. The ideologies of fascism and communism (and its cousin, socialism), as President Ronald Reagan once argued, deny that “God-given liberties . . . are the inalienable right of each person on this planet; indeed they deny the existence of God.”

Identity politics strikes at the heart of republican government by demanding “equal results and explicitly sorting citizens into ‘protected classes’ based on race and other demographic categories.” Even worse, identity politics tends to view people of certain races as evil not necessarily because of what they’ve done but simply because of their skin color.

In order to preserve the blessings of liberty for future generations, the report contends that families should raise “morally responsible citizens who love America and embrace the gifts and responsibilities of freedom and self-government”; state and local governments should produce curricula that convey an “enlightened patriotism” through reading primary sources; and songwriters, filmmakers, and social influencers should create content that speaks “to eternal truths” that “embody the American spirit.”

Read the full report here.